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Waiting times for GICs (Gender Identity Clinics) are spiralling across Europe. As months creep into years on waitlists from England to Belgium to the Netherlands, it becomes apparent that there is a crisis in transgender healthcare – and Northern Ireland is no exception. A recent article revealed that at least 493 people are on the waiting list for specialist gender services at the Brackenburn clinic in Belfast, some of whom have been waiting over four years for a first appointment.
Although socialist political party People Before Profit have called on the government to take action on the waiting lists, funding cuts and a lack of support have made progress impossible. Maeve O’Neill, a councillor for PBP, has said that no new patients have been accepted since 2018, with new referrals now being turned away automatically and trans and non-binary people in Northern Ireland being forced to look abroad for a chance at gender-affirming care.
Worse still, trans people who can’t afford the expense of travelling abroad for private care are being driven to desperation, trying to fundraise online for their treatment or turning to unregulated websites on the grey market for self-medication. Without better access to gender-affirming care the pressure on the mental health of trans people, and the risks to their physical health, are getting dangerously out of control.
We know that long waiting lists can lead to self-medding and worse. That’s why we provide a global service, so that we can reach those waiting for underfunded services.
Wherever you are in the world, if you are struggling to access care you can find out more about the services we offer via our website.
If you are under 16 or you are supporting someone who is, we have set up The GenderGP Fund. The Fund allows us to support young people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to use our services, through the kind donations of trans people and their allies – you can learn more about our Fund here.
We have a vision of a brighter future for trans healthcare, one where anyone – no matter where they are in the world – can access care that recognises them for who they truly are and provides the gender-affirming support they need.