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Gay News : Publications : Issue 300 : Transgender People Are Self-Medicating

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Transgender People Are Self-Medicating

by our Editors in General , 20 augustus 2016

Patient Organization Transvisie presented its research into care for transgender people in the Netherlands. The research specifically studied the consequences of the long waiting list in the Netherlands. On average, patients wait 18-24 months for help. 26% of transgender women and 7% of transgender men are self-medicating, with serious consequences.

The research shows that 25% of transgender people that is self-medicating had severe medical problems: heart palpitations, depression, extreme osteoporosis, anxiety syndromes, sleeping problems, and in one case even a cerebral infarction.

Transvisie Chairwoman Eveline van den Boom calls these results “alarming and distressing”. According to her, the waiting for a psychologist to determine whether someone is suffering enough to receive hormones is “a completely outdated idea if the person has already made the decision to start hormones”.

She continues: “Only the patient can determine whether he or she is transgender. We call on gender teams to stop being gatekeepers and focus on providing care. No one takes the decision to start hormones lightly. We demands blood value and bone density checks immediately after someone checks in to prevent further accidents.”

In its report, the patient organisation also states that the quality of transgender operations in the Netherlands is insufficient to a high degree. In the hospital of male-to-female surgeries, the VUmc, an overwhelming 81% of patients had to undergo multiple recovery operations. The report describes some very distressing stories of transgender people undergoing such surgeries.

The study focussed on transgender people that are/were in a transition period with hormones and/or operations in order to become male or female. Estimations of the number of transgender people in the Netherlands vary from 48,000 to 300,000. A part of this group wishes physical adaptation. Approximately 10,000 people have already undergone such treatment.

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In the New Issue of Gay News, 311, July 2017

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July 20, Oude Markt, Enschede

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