Gender Affirming Healthcare is Essential Healthcare

6 Dec 2019 5:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

PATHA asserts that the provision of gender affirming healthcare for transgender and gender diverse people is a medical necessity and that the lack of equitable access to this healthcare in Aotearoa is causing harm.[1]

PATHA notes that in He Ara Oranga (The Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction) rainbow populations are recognised as being negatively impacted by “the cumulative effects of discrimination, bullying, prejudice and exclusion,” and that in addition limited access to gender affirming healthcare “has a negative effect on the mental health and wellbeing of people seeking to access them (p72).[2] 

It is the opinion of PATHA that limited and inconsistent access to essential healthcare (such as puberty blockers, fertility preservation, gender affirming hormones, mental health support and gender affirming surgeries including chest reconstruction, hysterectomy and orchiectomy) is itself an aspect of discrimination. 

PATHA recognises the right of transgender and gender diverse people to be able to make informed choices for themselves regarding gender affirming healthcare and that as a minimum, District Health Boards (DHBs) should provide timely access to the following services: puberty blockers, fertility preservation, gender affirming hormones, mental health support and gender affirming surgeries including chest reconstruction, hysterectomy and orchiectomy.

Currently, there are large variations in the provision of gender affirming healthcare services across the 20 DHBs in Aotearoa, New Zealand.[3] PATHA strongly recommends that all DHBs provide clear information about pathways to access gender affirming healthcare services delivered by DHBs and primary health care. PATHA recognises that these healthcare services should involve transgender people, including Māori transgender people, in the development and provision of services.[4] 

PATHA affirms that all health services in New Zealand must provide equitable and accessible gender affirming healthcare services that are evidence based and align with international standards and community feedback. To that end, PATHA recommends that DHBs enable flexible and responsive pathways that are based on informed consent and self-determination.[4]

References

[1] For a list of medication organisations who affirm the medical necessity of gender affirming care see: https://transcendlegal.org/medical-organization-statements. For more information about the health of transgender people in New Zealand and the negative impact of inconsistent access to gender affirming healthcare see Veale J, Byrne J, Tan K, Guy S, Yee A, Nopera T & Bentham R (2019) Counting Ourselves: The health and wellbeing of trans and non-binary people in Aotearoa New Zealand. Transgender Health Research Lab, University of Waikato: Hamilton NZ. https://countingourselves.nz/index.php/community-report/.

[2] See the full report here: https://www.mentalhealth.inquiry.govt.nz/inquiry-report/he-ara-oranga/

[3] For more details on the lack of consistent gender affirming services across New Zealand see: https://patha.nz/news/is-the-provision-of-gender-affirming-health-care-equitable-across-the-district-health-boards-in-aotearoa-new-zealand

[4] Oliphant J, Veale J, Macdonald J, Carroll R, Johnson R, Harte M, Stephenson C, Bullock J. Guidelines for gender affirming healthcare for gender diverse and transgender children, young people and adults in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Transgender Health Research Lab, University of Waikato, 2018, p8-9. https://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/handle/10289/12160


About PATHA

The Professional Association for Transgender Health Aotearoa (PATHA) is an interdisciplinary professional organisation working to promote the health, wellbeing, and rights of transgender people. We are a group of professionals who have experience working for transgender health in clinical, academic, community, legal and other settings.

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