In 2022, the TGEU released its 2022 Trans Health Map: European Union. It outlined the current state of transgender healthcare in Europe. Now, they take a look at trans rights in 2023 and explain what has changed.

The Transgender Europe (TGEU) is a pan-European organisation. They are concerned with the rights and well-being of trans people in Europe and Central Asia. The Trans Health Map is a simple guide that can help trans people in Europe find some information on the current state of gender affirming healthcare in their country. It includes information on the 27 member states of the European Union.

Historically, transgender people have had to face barriers and discrimination within healthcare. It continues to be difficult to even access gender-affirming healthcare in the first place. The EU Fundamental Rights Agency found that at least 34% of trans people in Europe have experienced discrimination by healthcare professionals due to their gender identity. The 2022 Trans Health Map highlights this discrimination, showcasing the general state of transgender healthcare in the European Union.

What has changed regarding Trans Rights in 2023?

TGEU has published their 2023 Trans Rights Map, tracking 54 countries in both Europe and Central Asia. These are the key findings they outlined:

  1. Malta is no longer on the number one spot. Iceland advanced to first position in TGEU’s ranking, hitting the highest score regarding trans people’s legal rights.
  2. Over three quarters (41) of all 54 countries now allow legal gender recognition.
  3. Anti-trans discrimination is being taken more seriously. 35 countries prohibit at least one aspect of discrimination based on gender identity.
  4. 5 countries have now officially banned the horrific practices of conversion therapy for gender identity. UK, listen and take note.
  5. Only eight countries continue to have an age restriction for legal gender recognition.
  6. Unfortunately, eleven countries still ask for sterilisation in order to legally change your gender. This requirement is simply inhumane.
  7. Non-binary rights also need urgent further improvement. Only 5 out of 54 countries recognise trans binary parents and only one recognises non-binary parents.

Despite the rising number of anti-trans bills and harmful requirements, 2023 saw more wins for the trans and gender diverse community. If you would like more detailed information on each country, visit the TGEU Trans Rights Map.

What did the Trans Health Map 2022 take into account?

The 2022 Trans Health Map took into account these six factors:

  1. ‘Type of trans healthcare and coverage available in the country’.
  2. ‘Requirement for a psychiatric diagnosis before hormonal treatment or surgery’.
  3. ‘Waiting time for first appointment with a trans healthcare professional’.
  4. ‘Groups excluded or made to wait longer to access trans-specific healthcare’.
  5. ‘Youngest age for puberty blockers’.
  6. ‘Youngest age for hormones’.

The results of the map can help compare the state of two different countries. For example, countries like Malta and Spain are at the top and others like Ireland are at the bottom of the list. However, it is important to note that while the ranking of the European countries is a vital aspect of the map, it is not to say that countries on the top of the list come with no issues or barriers within transgender healthcare. There is still so much more that needs to be done in terms of providing the best and most timely access to gender affirming healthcare possible.

We interviewed Noah, the creator of the Trans Health Map and Deekshitha Ganesan, the health policy officer at TGEU. They are both very dedicated to exploring the impacts of healthcare on the trans community.

What inspired you to work on the Trans Health Map?

Deekshitha (health policy officer at TGEU): Improving access to healthcare for trans people has been a priority of TGEUs for a long time. Historically, trans people have had such poor access to healthcare. Many countries continue to require a psychiatric diagnosis before they provide trans-specific healthcare. Most of the procedures are also not available in a lot of countries. More recently, the issue of trans healthcare for children … is causing a lot of stress for young people who are not able to get the healthcare they need.

It just seemed like a really good moment to take a step back and review the state of healthcare in the region. We also recognise the importance of expanding this exercise to a broader region as well, to Europe as a whole. This is the first edition of the map and we intend on building it in the future.

The Trans Health Map made it clear that trans people come way down the list of people who need healthcare. Waiting times have gotten worse and trans people are fighting for essential care on a daily basis.

Noah: My work is about ensuring that marginalised communities have a chance to speak and advocate for themselves. My PhD work is on grassroots community development among folks who are, like myself, both transgender and autistic. I have previously worked on transgender suicidality and other trans health related projects. The Trans Health Map was kind of a perfect marriage of my interests and previous work.

What aspects of gender affirming healthcare were taken into account in the Trans Health Map? Why did you choose those six factors?

Deekshitha (health policy offer at TGEU): We collected information on a lot of different aspects. What the map shows is only these six factors. For instance, we collected information on hormone shortages, on waiting times for accessing hormones, and whether you need to travel to access healthcare. We chose these six factors because we thought they capture some of the most important issues at the moment. We did not want to make a map that was so complex that the message became unclear.

If you could give any advice to trans and gender diverse people trying to access gender-affirming healthcare in Europe, what would it be?

Noah: My advice would be that it is often possible to access transgender healthcare even if it is not available in your country. For example, through the National Contact Points at the EU, which help folks access trans healthcare when it is not available in their country.

Deekshitha (health policy officer at TGEU): We hope that the Trans Health Map can help mobilise action, that trans people in their countries can use this in their advocacy, and that authorities sit up and take notice of the situation in their respective countries.