More than 300 people gathered in Dublin this weekend to protest Ireland’s “outdated” transgender healthcare policies, reports The Irish Times.
On July 7, protestors marched outside the Irish capital city’s government buildings, chanting “trans rights are human rights” and “trans rights are under attack; stand up, fight back.” The group called upon Minister of Health Simon Harris and Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s first openly gay leader, to address concerns about how transgender patients are treated by healthcare providers.
Currently, Ireland’s healthcare system treats trans patients under a psychiatric care model, something World Professional Association for Transgender Healthcare (WPATH) discourages. Most countries around the world use an informed consent model, in which providers explain the potential risks of a treatment plan to the patient, and the patient either consents to or denies treatment.
— Damien USI Welfare (@USI_Welfare) July 7, 2018
Although Irish officials claim that the state healthcare practices abide by WPATH guidelines, the nation’s trans community says otherwise. Some people at Saturday’s protest recalled a two-year waiting list to access hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Others explained that there are only two endocrinologists in all of Ireland who will prescribe HRT, since no general practitioners will—and virtually no surgeons in the country who can perform certain gender-affirming surgeries.
Noah Halpin, a 27-year-old trans activist who led the march in Dublin alongside co-organizer Luke Daly, said they hadn’t expected the large turnout.
“We thought maybe 10 or 15 of our friends would turn up and shout at the gates of Leinster House, but we got almost 400 people turn up that day,” he told The Irish Times. “It was very passionate.”
Halpin called the nation’s current treatment plans for trans people “outdated” and hopes the Health Department will help streamline the process.
“That two-and-a-half-year wait is just devastating for people,” he said. “It’s traumatic. People who have never struggled with mental health difficulties are now struggling with mental health difficulties while they wait.”
The protest comes less than a month after the World Health Organization (WHO), an agency of the United Nations, formally declassified being transgender as a mental disorder.