New Guidelines Announced for Trans Health

| September 29, 2011 | Comments (0)

Big news in the world of trans health!  Yesterday, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) announced major changes to the Standards of Care for transgender people.  The Standards of Care are the medical guidelines that transgender people must follow in order to access to hormones, surgery, and counseling for transition-related care.

Until yesterday, the Standards of Care mandated that trans people undergo counseling and that they live in the gender they identify with for 12 months before accessing hormones or surgery.  This put many trans people at much greater risk of discrimination, harassment and violence during this year-long “real life test.”  And since most insurance plans specifically exclude counseling related to gender identity, many trans people also had to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket each month—all just to get basic health care. The hoops that trans people were required to jump through for transition-related care have been stigmatizing, inaccessible, and often prohibitively expensive.

But yesterday, WPATH’s announcement marked a big step in the right direction.  The new standards of care are a significant change that will increase access to care across a range of gender identities, and keep trans people safer while seeking treatment.  As WPATH’s outgoing president Walter Bockting said, “The new standards showcase the important role [transsexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming people] have played in changing the landscape of transgender health in the U.S.”

Just some of the major changes to the standards of care:

  • Psychological treatment is no longer required to access hormones and surgery.
  • So-called “reparative therapy” (designed to “cure” trans people of their identities) is declared unsound and undesirable treatment.
  • Medical transition is now more easily accessible to genderqueer and gender non-conforming people.
  • Some requirements for the year-long “real life test” that trans people were previously required to undergo in order to gain access to surgery have been removed.
  • Guidelines specifically directed at providing competent and supportive care to transgender children and youth have been expanded.

We’ll learn more as trans advocates dig deeper into the standards of care, but overall these changes represent significant positive shifts towards health care access for trans people.

To learn more check out this piece in the Georgia Voice and this piece from the Bilerico Project.


Category: News: Transgender Justice

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