We understand that you may have a lot of questions about Indigo Gender Service. We want to make sure you have the answers and information you need.
We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions about Indigo. If your question isn't answered below, please get in touch with us at email@example.com, and one of our team will get back to you soon.
If you are a clinician, please see our frequently asked questions for primary care clinicians here.
Indigo is a new model of trans healthcare - whilst the current gender identity clinics (GICs) are a specialised centre which all trans and non-binary people must attend if they wish to pursue medical transition, Indigo is based in primary care. This means our clinical team is based in GP practices across Greater Manchester, and we also have additional services such as voice coaching and therapeutic services delivered in settings around Greater Manchester.
We are a team of trans, non-binary and LGBQ practitioners and allies working collaboratively to bring together a broad range of expertise and experience.
We take a holistic and flexible view of transition, helping people to be informed and supported to make decisions that are right for them.
Services we offer include:
- support and advice around gender identity;
- assessment and diagnosis of gender incongruence with dysphoria;
- voice and communication therapy;
- referral for hair reduction;
- recommendation of hormone therapy;
- assessment and referral for chest surgery;
- first assessment for lower surgery;
- one-to-one and group psychological support;
- care navigation, peer support and social prescribing.
Indigo is an NHS service, to be referred to Indigo, you must meet the following criteria:
At the time of referral
Aged 17 or over
Registered with a GP in Greater Manchester and eligible for NHS treatment
As a regional service, if a patient registers with a GP practice outside of Greater Manchester whilst on the waiting list or during their treatment with Indigo, their care will be transferred to an appropriate alternative gender service.
We employ and work with a range of people from an array of professional backgrounds. Many of the people working in both patient facing, administrative and senior roles are trans and/or non-binary themselves, and trans and non-binary people have been part of leading and designing the service from the very beginning.
No, Indigo is an NHS service, and we are free to access for those who are eligible for NHS treatment.
If you have been referred, please check our waiting list page to see where we are currently up to.
If you think you are eligible, but you haven’t yet heard from us, you will be able to contact us and check your eligibility for the service. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0161 710 1196.
If any of your details have changed then please fill out the change of details form found on our homepage.
Whilst everyone’s experience is unique, most will begin with a care navigator - someone with lived experience who will listen to your experiences and priorities and ensure that the service meets your specific needs. Our experienced clinical team are able to provide you access to treatments in the ‘gender dysphoria non-surgical specification’, including hormone replacement therapy.
We also offer a range of other support you may wish to access, including talking therapies, support with deed polls, document updates, and hair reduction. There is no one standard transition pathway, so you can choose the services that you wish to access without pressure to follow a specific route.
Your first contact with the service will be with a care navigator with lived experience, who will welcome you to the service. This is an opportunity for you to explore the services we offer in more detail and to ask questions about various aspects of social or medical transition. The care navigator will explain how the service works and explore if you would like any additional holistic support, like a peer support group for non-binary people, or if you would like any support with reducing your drinking or drug use. You might want to bring a list of questions that the care navigator can support you with.
Your first appointment will be with a clinician with specialist skills in trans health. We will most likely discuss:
- your gender and how you feel about it;
- your hopes and goals for the future;
- various aspects of your life, such as hobbies, work, or education;
- your wellbeing and mental health;
- your relationships and support networks;
- what will happen next.
If you want to medically transition, we will ask about any health conditions you have and any medication you take. One of our clinicians will measure your height, weight and blood pressure, and take some blood tests. You will have a minimum of two, one-hour appointments with a clinician to make sure you are supported to make decisions that are right for you.
Indigo works closely with Nottingham Centre for Transgender Health, occasionally an appointment may be required with one of their clinicians. This additional support pathway is to make sure you get the best and safest care.
You are encouraged to bring anything that you need to make your appointment most comfortable. This might be a list of questions for us, something to take notes with, a comfort object, or a friend, partner, family member or advocate. We also encourage you to wear whatever you feel comfortable in. It won’t affect your treatment if you present in a certain way, and we want you to have the best possible experience with us.
Present however makes you feel comfortable!
We do not expect anyone to conform to gender stereotypes or present in any way that is inauthentic to you. We are an affirmative service and want you to present as you. Our remote consultations are via video chat or in person - in line with NHS England guidelines. We plan to continue offering a mix of face to face and video chat consultations in the future. If you do not have a smartphone or laptop with webcam you can see us in person.
We can recommend and support your own GP to start hormone therapy at your second appointment if:
- you’re diagnosed with gender incongruence at your second visit;
- you feel confident that you’ve understood the information we’ve shown you, including the possible risk and side effects of any treatment options;
- you’re feeling ready to start hormones;
- it’s medically safe for you to do so.
We understand that some people may wish to wait and/or access additional support before starting hormone therapy (if they choose to take hormones at all). Indigo offers a range of services designed to support you to make the best possible choices about your care.
It’s important that you think about your future fertility before you start taking hormones as you may want to consider egg or sperm storage. We recommend that you look at the information from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority about trans and non-binary people and fertility preservation.
Your Care Navigator will book a surgical recommendation appointment with your named Indigo GP when you are ready to discuss this step.
Indigo can undertake your first recommendation for lower surgery and Nottingham Centre for Transgender Health will undertake your second assessment.
If you want to start hormones, or if you are taking hormones already, you will need to have some blood tests. Someone from our clinical team can do these for you, or we can refer you to our blood clinic.
An important part of hormone care is having regular blood tests to check your hormone levels, your liver and full blood count. If you start taking new medications as part of your Indigo care, we will support your GP practice to check your blood at regular intervals. After you are stable on your medication, you will need blood tests every six months to one year.
We will work with your GP practice to start you on your medication and help them to feel competent and confident to carry out your blood monitoring and prescribing in the long term.
The time between your first and second appointments can vary as this depends on a number of factors including waiting for test reults. Some people may choose longer periods between appointments for different reasons e.g. to access additional support or services or to spend more time considering the various options available to them.
We’re a flexible service and we’ll be led by you. Please be assured, you will be supported and receive regular contact from your care navigator throughout your journey with Indigo.
Not necessarily. We want to make sure that Indigo is as accessible as possible, and we understand that some people will have been diagnosed previously. However, if you were diagnosed in the private sector or abroad, full assessment will be required.
Yes. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements for Indigo, it doesn’t matter if you’ve had some treatments before you come to see us. We know that everyone’s experience and life is different, and our role is to support you to get the care that is right for you.
We have a flexible approach to all of our appointments and offer in person and video consultations, this ensures that you and our teams remain safe.
All options will be shared with you by your care navigator when you enter the service.
One of our partner organisations, LGBT Foundation, can provide services to support your mental health and sexual health, and to help you with your substance use or if you are experiencing domestic abuse. Our care navigators will be able to talk you through the different types of support available to you, including services provided by different organisations and groups throughout Greater Manchester.
Yes. The current process for obtaining legal gender recognition in the UK requires an application for a Gender Recognition Certificate in accordance with the Gender Recognition Act 2004. See the Gov.UK website for further details.
Our teams can support you with this process, and provide some of the evidence needed for your application. If this is something you are interested in, you can discuss this with our team in one of your appointments.
Absolutely! We are recruiting for our Patient Advisory Group – where you can feed back
and help shape the Indigo service. We will also be starting a volunteer group in the future.
Email email@example.com if you’re interested.