Dr Heather Wood
What interested you about working at GIDS?
While I was still a student, I gained experience of campaigning for transgender equality with groups like Scottish Transgender Alliance and Gendered Intelligence. This gave me an understanding of some of the difficulties that could be faced by young trans people in their everyday life. So when I completed my training as a clinical psychologist, I wanted to work with young people who experience their gender in a different way and to help them resolve some of those issues. Working with GIDS seemed like a good way of doing that!
What do you see as the most important aspects of the work you do?
There are lots of things we do that are really important at GIDS. First and foremost, providing a safe and understanding space for a young person to talk about how they feel about gender is really important. As is helping parents to understand more about what their child is experiencing. We discuss the social aspects of transitioning (or not!) and what that might be like for a young person and their family. And potentially, we discuss what medical interventions may be available for a young person. And those are just a few of the many things we do! However, I do think it’s important that we discuss the social impact of transition as well as the medical treatments available such as blockers and cross-sex hormones.
What advice would you give to someone coming to their first appointment with you?
Just be yourself! Everyone has their own experience of gender whether they are cisgender, trans or non-binary. We genuinely want to hear about your experience of gender and how it impacts on your life. In that respect, there are no right or wrong answers to the questions we ask. We simply want to understand how you feel about your gender and you don’t need to “prove” anything to us.
Do you have a favourite book?
I love reading and I guess I’m a bit of a secret geek! I’ve read all the Game of Thrones books and eagerly await the next one…get a move on George R.R. Martin!
What is your favourite season?
Probably summer, as I’m actually quite sporty and play a bit of tennis and golf. But only when the weather is nice… you won’t catch me being all sporty in the wind and rain!