This is how you do trans healthcare! An alternative vision
Today, 1 May 2023, Principle 17 presents the fully updated, new health care vision “Trans* Healthcare Differently”, an alternative vision on trans healthcare for the Netherlands. The first version was already presented to the trans community in September 2022. This report is now available in a revised and supplemented edition.
“Trans* Healthcare Differently” is the vision that Principle 17 has in mind when it comes to dignified healthcare for trans* people. For many years there has been the problem of very long waiting lists before you can even enter the hall for trans healthcare. Once you enter, in this country you must first be approved by a psychologist. Only then - usually 2 to 3 years later - you are finally able to see the specialist doctor for the healthcare you actually came for.
Due to the wave of right-wing extremist politics and allegations against trans* people, the Dutch healthcare rights of trans people are also under heavy pressure. Especially for young people who need medical help to become themselves. For example, recently the parliamentary debate on gender registration - which actually revolved around the question: who is allowed to change their gender designation, when and how? – was misused by right-wing parties to raise suspicions in a completely different field. As a result, an important part of this debate focused on the psychological condition of trans people, and the need for trans care.
In response to this trend, both politicians and healthcare providers tend to be even more 'careful'. But that is a very strange reaction. Because this suggests that healthcare in the Netherlands would be insufficiently careful. Or that trans healthcare would be less careful than other healthcare. Fortunately, neither is the case at all! Moreover, as soon as 'carefulness' costs human lives, healthcare is of course not careful at all. And that is the reality of trans healthcare in the Netherlands. In the trans community we all know examples of people who have not survived the years of waiting times.
The correct answer is a return to the basic values of our constitution: human rights. Healthcare – and therefore also trans healthcare – must be based on human rights. That is not yet the reality for trans healthcare. For example, it is unheard of for a healthcare recipient to have to get a psychiatric diagnosis first, before they can get physical healthcare. But that is the policy for trans healthcare.
Human rights treaties are not a dead letter. They are also not an à la carte menu. With the ratification of international human rights treaties, a government commits to implement those treaties. There are therefore various UN committees that monitor implementation. These committees have warned the Netherlands several times that we must perform better!
In the Netherlands, trans healthcare is lagging behind: we are being overtaken left and right. In many countries, in Europe and beyond, people are much further ahead in providing respectful trans healthcare. Like in Spain and Malta.
That is why Principle 17 has developed a comprehensive alternative vision, in dialogue with the trans community. This broad vision is about more than technical healthcare, because trans healthcare goes beyond hormones and operations only.
Principle 17 specialises in the right to good trans healthcare. Other players focus on the lobby for social rights or try to gain influence with insurers. Or are fully engaged in providing good trans healthcare, such as the autonomous gender clinic of TransUnited Europe.
In the upcoming period we will present the report and the underlying vision to the world. Are you interested? Let us know at email@example.com. Then we will certainly come your way too!
The report can be downloaded from the Principle 17 website. (In Dutch - we work towards an English version.)
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