This weekend, Sunday, September 22, This Is Me – Transgender Healthcare Campaign is hosting ‘The Truth about Trans Healthcare’ rally which begins at 2 pm outside of Dáil Éireann to highlight the inaction of the Department of Health and the HSE concerning improvements to the trans healthcare system in Ireland.
The call for this rally has been spurred on by the unfulfilled promises of change from both the Department of Health and the HSE with things only getting worse as time progresses. Since the organisations first rally in January 2018, waiting lists for Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) have increased as well as refusals and the psychiatric assessment barrier for those eligible are being more strictly enforced. Furthermore, there is currently no top surgery providers, or any gender affirmation surgery providers in Ireland and pharmaceutical HRT shortages have become apparent.
Noah Halpin spoke to GCN’s Lisa Connell about the current situation of trans healthcare in Ireland and what the community is doing in response. When asked why the protest is taking place, Noah told GCN that the community have been “forced back onto the streets again”. He described the success of past protests stating; “after the first time we protested they started listening to us after the second time negotiation started. And then the third time, action was put in place, they started to recognise where the problems lay. And that’s where Simon Harris appointed a committee to look after transgender health care.”
However, Noah explains that despite the promises made to the community there has been inaction by the government to implement the promised changes explaining; “all they’ve done is change the name of a clinic and not put any operational changes in place”.
He went on to explain that although Ireland has some of the best gender recognition legislation in the world, it is almost as though trans folk are being “humoured”, as despite having the ability to self determine your gender identity, a psychologist still has the power to deny treatment referrals.
Halpin discussed the potentially detrimental effects the flawed system is causing for people, mainly that there is no mental health support to those denied treatment after the fact. “So if you’ve just been told, we’re not giving you hormone treatment, that’s a massive, massive blow to a trans person,” he said.
Noah emphasised that this lack of support at such a tumultuous time in a trans person’s life is causing people to seek treatment instead abroad or even turn to the black market for hormones. He explains how dangerous this is as it means people aren’t having their blood checked every three to five months as is recommended for those on HRT.
The campaign is hoping to spur on this much-needed change at Sunday demonstration at the Dáil by taking back their voice and discount the untrue narratives the Government is spreading. The group is demanding safe, accessible, best practice, person-centred healthcare for all trans and non-binary people across Ireland. Anyone interested in joining the protest can check out the This Is Me – Transgender Healthcare Campaign Facebook page.
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