FTM support groups bring together people facing similar issues to share experiences, advice and hope. It can be helpful just getting to talk with other people at all stages of the transition. Finding a trans support group that you would like to attend can help you realise that you are not alone, providing you with a safe space to express thoughts and feelings that you come to realise are not unique. They are also a chance to socialise with people like you which helps with increased self-understanding. Here are some FTM support groups in the UK that are worth investigating.
Physical meet-ups may not be possible, so online support can also provide much guidance through articles and blogs, forums and chat rooms.
TransUnite aims to bring these together with a regularly updated network of local and online groups throughout the UK. Each group on their website has been approved and lists the type of group and what they offer, including for example help with coming out, coping with discrimination, confidence and dating, as well as social activities on offer. You can not only find a local group but also browse trans support websites.
Transfigurations is a transgender support group based in the South West of the UK. There are similar groups across the UK which have been set up to help all trans people come to terms with their gender identity and provide a safe meeting place whilst they explore their feelings. There is also a special group catering for transgender children and youth.
As well as discussion meetings led by members of the group there are also demonstrations by make-up artists as well as talks by trans men who have transitioned who share their experience and their hope.
GIRES is a registered charity that listens to and gives a voice to trans and gender non-conforming individuals, including those who are non-binary and non-gender, as well as their families. It offers resources on a range of areas relating to being trans to improve the lives of people directly affected by these issues and offers training for educational and medical professionals, based on research into gender identity and intersex issues.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary since launch, Stonewall is a charity committed to campaigning for sexual orientation equality. In 2015 it began consultations with the trans community to become trans-inclusive and put an end to transphobia. Its website provides a Q&A to answer some of the common questions that get asked about trans people, and to tackle some of the myths and misconceptions still seen in the media. In 2018 Stonewall continued its fight for reform of the Gender Recognition Act through the UK government consultation that closed on 22 October. The consultation may be finished, but the campaign for trans equality continues.
Founded in 1995, Mermaids supports the families of children and young people up to and including the age of 19 who are experiencing gender identity issues and is probably the most recognised UK support organisation for this sector. It offers information, support, friendship and the opportunity to share experiences. Support is available for individual young people as well as help to their families so they can understand and accept their child’s gender identity issue and professionals working with trans young people. Mermaid’s helpline, covered by volunteers, offers emotional support, there are teens forums and information about current legislation and protections under the law, plus signposting to training and resources.
The Beaumont Society is a national self-help and social organisation run by and for the transgender community. It was founded in 1966 and more than fifty years later, in a very different social climate, has a broader membership but the same aims, being at the forefront of supporting the transgender community, together with their partners and families, as well as advising and training on transgender issues. In 2010 the Beaumont Society became a charity to assist in meeting those aims more effectively.
The Beaumont Society welcomes all transgender people and their partners, from the nervous newcomers to those who are experienced and confident in their preferred gender.