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Trasinscnuacht: October News from Trans Healthcare Action

Updated: Jan 8

Trans Healthcare Action have made the news twice this month in our work to transform gender-affirming healthcare in Ireland. In other news, be sure to add your voice to BelongTo’s survey on the barriers to access for gender-affirming care, keep up-to-date with Transgress the NGS’ future actions, and join in on trans-led events this month. And more! Happy Halloween!



A picture of the HSE headquarters at Dr Steevens' Hospital

THA UPDATES

THA Pens Open Letter to the HSE

Yesterday, Trans Healthcare Action—alongside 19 signatory organisations across Ireland and the globe including TENI, EPATH, GATE, TGEU, and TPATH—published an open letter to the HSE in response to their posting of a Clinical Lead for Transgender Services. The letter calls upon the HSE to implement a human rights-based approach to transgender healthcare adhering to international best practice through a co-production with the trans and gender diverse community.



THA UPDATES

THA Activist Niamh Ní Féineadh Appears on TG4

Niamh Ní Féineadh, a member of Trans Healthcare Action, appeared on TG4’s flagship talkshow Seal le Daithí on Thursday 28 September. As the first ever trans woman on the show, Niamh described her experiences growing up in Ireland in the 1980s, and how she came to the decision to transition over lockdown. Over the course of the interview, she shared some of her joy in transition, but also called out how being trans is a simple fact of every day life for her—people are much more likely to notice her speaking Irish to her kids than the fact that she’s trans. Niamh ends the interview by describing the abysmal state of trans healthcare in Ireland and explaining that it must improve.



Protestors gather with flags and signs at the Posie Parker counter-demo

NEWS

Hundreds Attend Posie Parker Counter-Protest

On 16 September, hundreds of counter-protestors gathered in response to anti-trans activist Posie Parker’s rally. Trans & Intersex Pride addressed the crowd in front of the Dáil before leading the way to Merrion Square Park, the site of the rally. The crowd easily outnumbered Posie Parker’s audience, drowning out their speeches and live-streams.



Protestors carry signs and shout at the NGS offices

NEWS

Transgress the NGS Hold Open Meetings

Transgress the NGS held two open meetings on 17 September and 1 October to plan future actions in their work to end the NGS’s policy of advising GPs not to provide blood tests or prescribe hormone therapy to trans patients. Details about the next action and how the public can participate will be on social media later in the month.




NEWS

NGS Confirms Involvement in Cass Review

Without intervention, it is likely that the HSE will base future services for trans youth care on the Cass Review, an NHS-commissioned review into UK services for trans young people led by Hilary Cass that has garnered significant criticism. In a Newstalk interview, Donal O’Shea—previously the head of the National Gender Service—confirms that Hilary Cass has met their clinical team. Cass apparently described the NGS’ model as the “gold standard” for trans healthcare, and the NGS is now contributing to her expert review panel on matters such as design and the delivery of care. Mallory Moore of Trans Safety Network goes into more detail on Cass’ involvement with the NGS and its implications.




RESOURCES

TGEU Publish Trans Media Guide

On 27 September, Transgender Europe (TGEU) published a new Trans Media Guide outlining how to ethically report on trans and nonbinary people. This resource was created in collaboration with TGEU members and is aimed at journalists, editors, and content creators.



RESOURCES

BelongTo Launch Gender-Affirming Care Survey

BelongTo is calling upon all trans and non-binary young people in Ireland to take part in a survey investigating their experiences accessing gender-affirming care. The survey is anonymous and looks into “the pathways and barriers” in accessing trans healthcare in Ireland. The survey closes at midnight, 15 October.



EVENTS

IFI Screens Trans Horror

On 23 October at 18:30, the Irish Film Institute is putting on Body is Reality: Trans Horror on Screen. As this is a Small Trans Film Club outing, there are (limited) comps for tickets. You can sign up for Small Trans Library’s excellent newsletter to find out more about the film club and other trans events in Dublin.





THE MORE YOU KNOW

WPATH Criticises NHS Approach to Trans Youth

The HSE has been following the work of the Cass Review for guidance on creating new services for trans youth in Ireland. In the UK, a team headed by Dr Hilary Cass has been reviewing the country’s gender identity services and planning how to change them going forward. In February 2022, the team released the Interim Cass Report, summarising their findings and what they believed should be focused on. The report was met with criticism for rejecting the idea of a gender-affirming approach to care.


NHS England published an interim service specification based on this report, outlining how youth care should be provided while the Cass Review is ongoing. In response, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and their affiliates ASIAPATH, EPATH, PATHA and USPATH released a joint statement expressing major reservations to this service specification on 25 November 2022.


The statement laid out a multitude of issues. The interim service specification would require young people to ‘prove’ the ‘severity’ of their gender dysphoria in order to access care. Access to puberty blockers would require participation in a study. Following the guidelines threatens to delay or disqualify young people with developmental differences or mental health issues from care. Alarmingly, GPs would be encouraged to report families to child protection services if they were known to access care from outside the service.


WPATH and its affiliates stated that the plan for the service would cause “enormous harm” to trans youth and urged NHS England and Wales to revise their specification.



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