Who do we see

The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is a highly specialised clinic for young people presenting with difficulties with their gender identity. Our service was established in 1989.

We are commissioned by NHS England who set the service specifications for how we work.

Some people feel uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth whilst others are unhappy with the gender role that society requires. We help our clients to explore their feelings and choose the path that best suits their ideals.

We spend a lot of time engaging with clients to understand their thought processes and to help them manage any uncertainties they may have and be understood.

For adults presenting with difficulties with their gender identity, the Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation Trust are the providers of the Gender Identity Clinic (GIC). Visit the GIC website

How long is the wait for a first appointment?

We are aware that the waiting time for a first appointment at GIDS is currently growing and are doing all we can to address this. This follows an unprecedented increase in the number of referrals to our service.

We are seeing young people for their first appointment who were referred around 22 - 26 months ago (approximately September 2017, correct as of November 2019). Due to the fact that waiting times change over time, we aim to update waiting times on a quarterly basis.

We know it is frustrating not to have a firmer figure for how long people will wait but the figure can change and we risk misleading people if we try to be too precise.

Things that can change waiting times include:

  • The amount of contact and extra support that is needed by families once they have been seen for the first time. Many of the young people being referred currently are complex and our consultation/assessment (with the young person, their parents/carers and their network) can be a lengthy process.
  • In addition, a number of staff have left the service in recent months and existing staff must pick up the cases on their caseload. Under such circumstances taking on new staff is a priority but it takes several months to train up new staff if they are inexperienced in gender work to enable them to work independently.
  • When we refer young people from GIDS to adult gender services, it is not easy to predict when they will be offered appointments and thus when their care can be fully transferred.
  • We have also experienced a high number of people not attending appointments or cancelling at short notice and this has had a big impact on the waiting list and the number of appointments we can offer.
  • Because we cannot predict these factors, the waiting list time we quote when people enquire may increase over time as well as go down.

We have taken a number of steps to try to bring down the waiting time for a first appointment. For instance: screening all referrals with great care to be sure they are appropriate; ensuring that we have as few non-attending families as possible by contacting people on the waiting list prior to their first meeting.

See our advice for parents on how to help your child whilst waiting for input.


Words can be extremely powerful and incredibly meaningful. They can both reflect and also shape our experiences. Preferred terms develop and change over time. Old terms may come to be seen as increasingly unhelpful or inaccurate and new ones take their place.

As a service, we recognise that importance that words and language can have in people's lives. We try to use language in a way that fits well with the young people and families with whom we work. However, we also acknowledge that language can be controversial and contentious: something that might be hugely appreciated by one person, might be seen entirely negatively by someone else.

We also know that the way we talk about issues around gender is changing all the time. If you see anything on this site that you think is either incorrect or out of date, we'd love to hear from you.

See our overview of common terms about gender for some simple definitions.

Who we are

Our staff have a range of professional backgrounds but we work together as a multi-disciplinary team to deliver the same service. Our team includes:

  • Clinical psychologists
  • Counselling psychologists
  • Systemic and family psychotherapists
  • Child and adolescent psychotherapists
  • Social workers
  • Child and adolescent psychiatrists
  • Paediatric endocrinologists (medical doctors for children and young people who are experts in the hormonal and physical changes associated with growing up)
  • Clinical nurse specialists (nurses with further training in endocrinology or a related area)

We also have a number of senior trainees in our team. These are people who are usually at the end of their professional training, or completing additional training.

Last, but by no means least, we have an incredibly dedicated team of administrative staff who ensure the smooth running of the service.

Your travel costs

We recognise that many young people and their families travel long distances to attend appointments with us and that this can be at considerable cost.

If you meet the qualifying criteria in terms of income or receipt of certain benefits, we are able to book train tickets for your travel to us. This applies to appointments at:

  • the Tavistock Centre in London
  • our Leeds base
  • our outreach clinics in other locations (e.g. in Exeter, Cardiff).

If your journey is entirely within London, you will need to claim back your travel costs on the day.

We are not able to book train tickets for endocrinology appointments at:

  • University College Hospital
  • Leeds General Infirmary.

In these cases, you will need to claim back for your fares on the day at the hospital.

Read more about the qualifying criteria and how to arrange travel

Feedback and complaints

We aim to work with young people and families in a collaborative way. Therefore we welcome and encourage feedback – both when things have gone well and also if there have been any problems or concerns.

We realise that talking can sometimes bring up difficult issues. In our experience, it is helpful to be able to address these together to find a solution.

We hope that you feel able to discuss any concerns or raise any questions you may have with your clinician(s). You are welcome to contact us to let us know if you have any concerns or questions so that we can try to resolve any issues speedily.

If you would like to discuss any concerns with someone independent of your clinician(s), please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) office on 020 8938 2523 or using the contact form on the main Tavistock and Portman website.

You can also leave positive feedback about the treatment you have received from us with the PALS office, as well as directly with us.

Alternatively, if you would like to make a formal complaint you can approach the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust with your concerns directly. For more information on how to make a formal complaint please visit the ‘Support and complaints’ page on the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust website.