Waterford trans teen calls out HSE lack of medical support 

A 19-year-old trans teen spoke about how his transition was 'the biggest act of self-love' and the challenges he has faced with the HSE in Ireland.

Selfie of Trans teen HSE

A 19-year-old Waterford trans teen heavily criticised the HSE over long waiting lists and a lack of medical support. 

Speaking with the Irish Sun, 19-year-old Deanie Cullen opened up about his experiences of travelling abroad for top surgery and the challenges around trans healthcare in Ireland. The teen slammed the HSE for long waiting lists as well as expensive medical procedures which have forced many trans people to travel abroad. 

Cullen spoke on his experience with the current healthcare system in Ireland, “I felt like I have been discriminated against for being trans.”

After waiting for hormone treatment, Cullen eventually decided to go private. He said, “I went through Loughlinstown Hospital and that was just an awful, awful experience. I was waiting for about seven years to be seen. I went there twice for appointments and both times I came out crying.”

“On the second appointment, which was in January 2019, they started to take my blood as I was due to start testosterone. But another doctor came in and said it was a mistaken appointment and that I wasn’t starting hormones treatment. That was just the final straw. My fight to obtain hormone treatment was so difficult, exhausting, and infuriating that in the end, I had to give up on the HSE and go privately,” Cullen further shared. 

As a cost-effective alternative to Irish trans healthcare, Cullen began looking abroad for top surgery. He contacted Lux Med Hospital in Warsaw, Poland, in 2019 and booked his procedure for August 2020. 

Cullen said, “It was quite affordable compared to in Ireland. Here it would have cost me about €10,000 for the same surgery I had for €3,000 in Poland. And the healthcare I received over there was brilliant.”

Taking these steps towards his transition helped improve Cullen’s emotional state significantly. The Waterford teen shared, “It has helped my mood and freed me from the depression. I never decided to be trans, however, I did decide to transition. It was and continues to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in life, but also the best thing I have ever done for myself. The biggest act of self-love.”

While Cullen was overjoyed by the results of the surgery, he remains disappointed that such options are not available in Ireland. He expressed, “I find it’s almost like the trans community aren’t recognised. I feel that if you’re trans in Ireland, you’re not seen as a proper patient. The waiting lists are ridiculous.”

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