Workshop: Waitling List Blues

Workshop: Waitling List Blues

Introduction and moderation: Simon Huges


This workshop, given the limited time, is mainly based on the contribution of the participants. What are their experiences with waiting lists at the gender teams?

24 people participated in this workshop, and they very much liked sharing what the waiting list had meant for them.

Careful consideration for registration

it became especially clear that most people had thought about what this step would mean for them for a significant amount of time, before they even made an appointment with a gender team. Reactions from family and friends, but also colleagues, were mentioned.

Some people said to have actually experienced the opposite when they said they wanted to make an appointment with a gender team. One teenager said he was forced to wait three years due to resistance from his parents before he could make an appointment.

No understanding from gender teams

All participants (except one) said that they had not experienced any understanding neither by the front desk, nor by the psychologists, for the fact that they already had a waiting period before they were added to the waiting list of the gender team.

More problems at gender teams

Other problems they have experienced during this phase:

  • Lack of transparency:
  • People heard that they would be helped in two months’ time, but got this message again and again after the two months passed.
  • Randomness in queue:
  • Many people have experienced that people who had registered later, got helped before them. (They knew this because they spoke to this person or through messages in Facebook groups.)
  • Very long waiting list:
  • People said that they had, especially in recent times, a waiting period of nine months, a year or even eighteen months before starting the diagnostic phase.
  • Unclear communication:
  • The front desk of the VU Hospital gender team sometimes tells people that they should call for an appointment, but are not reachable. Or the front desk does not call back, when this has been agreed.
  • Inaccessibility front desk:
  • The front desk of the VU Hospital gender team often tells people that they have to e-mail for an appointment. When people do this, it very often happens that their e-mail is not answered.

No confidence in gender teams

These kind of experiences don’t strengthen confidence in the process of the gender teams. A number of participants said they had not gone to the gender team in the VU Hospital, because they heard or read about these kinds of experiences.

People were happy to be able to tell their story during this workshop, because they experienced the entire period of waiting and intake as an ordeal. As a result, they also felt left alone.

Arbitrary treatment

Several examples were given that indicate that people who do not ask questions, tell a life story appropriate to their identity as male/female and accept demands from the protocol, are helped without many problems and faster too. This clearly shows that the gender teams measure with double standards.