Councillor Owen Hanley responds to 'expert' criticism of gender identity panel

Endocrinologist Prof. O'Shea told the Irish Examiner that the HSE gender identity panel 'as close to a farce as you can get'.

Councillor Owen Hanley responds to 'expert' criticism of gender identity panel
Image: Hazel Coonagh

Social Democrats Councillor Owen Hanley has called on Professor Donal O’Shea to seriously reconsider comments he made regarding the trans community.

Prof. O’Shea called the HSE Gender Identity Panel a “farce” which Councillor Hanley says more accurately describes O’Shea’s commentary and treatment of trans people.

Prof. O’Shea is one of only three endocrinologists in Ireland, and Councillor Hanley said his comments are completely unacceptable.

“He is the barrier for trans people seeking the healthcare they need to improve their lives. He is coming out with absolute unscientific nonsense suggesting up that, for 50% of trans people seeking hormones, it will not work out due to their vulnerability.”

Councillor Hanley continued “[Prof. O’Shea is] ignoring international best practice, clearly acting as a gatekeeper against people’s best wishes, mistrusting and misunderstanding trans people. Prof. O’Shea should not be in charge of whether or not people can access trans healthcare.”

Hanley added “it is good to see that the Ministerial Nominee is pushing for the informed consent model that evidence shows is the best-case scenario for trans people. However, O’Shea’s comments clearly show he doesn’t want the panel to [explore models] he disagrees with.”

“The comments by Prof. O’Shea make me worry [that] he is not prepared to accept the findings of the HSE Gender Identity Panel if they go against his stance. It looks as if he is not acting in good faith and should not be involved in the well-being and healthcare of trans people.”

Following a sit-in by trans activists in May, Minister for Health Simon Harris met with gender surgeon Dr Sidhbh Gallagher and members of the grassroots campaign ‘This Is Me’ to discuss the issues faced by the trans and non-binary community seeking healthcare in Ireland.

This Is Me are dedicated to the provision of “adequate, safe and best practise access to healthcare for all transgender and non-binary people in Ireland”, and reported that the Minister took the struggles experienced by TINB (Transgender, Intersex and Non-Binary) people daily due to constraints imposed by the Irish healthcare system “very seriously”.

Harris has now developed a steering committee to explore the issue further, and a full report on problems in the system along with possible solutions is expected before the end of this year. This Is Me member Noah Halpin himself has been given the opportunity to serve on the committee.

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