TENI are disappointed by the decision of RTÉ to produce a program in which the recognized best practice for gender affirming care was criticized.
TENI were asked for comment prior to the show airing, and we are disappointed to see our statement was not included in full. In the interest of transparency, this was the statement we sent to RTÉ.
7th December 2023 – RTE Prime Time Statement
The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that “trans-related and gender diverse identities are not conditions of mental ill-health, and that classifying them as such can cause enormous stigma”. Since 2019, under the WHO International Classification of Diseases – 11 (ICD-11) gender-affirming healthcare has been classified to sit under sexual healthcare. The priority of Irish gender-affirming healthcare reform should be to ensure that our trans community receives safe, high-quality, accessible services that are informed by each person’s individual needs and that are in line with international standards of care. Such healthcare is a basic right that all Irish citizens are entitled to receive. We hope to see equality for all receiving gender-affirming healthcare here in Ireland.
However, the reality for the Irish trans community is far from this international standard. In a report requested under the Freedom of Information Act, the waiting list for gender-affirming healthcare was revealed to be 7 to 10 years at the current rate of patient addition and discharge. We have been rated as having the worst gender-affirming healthcare in the whole of Europe.
When people are finally able to access any gender-affirming healthcare service, it is delivered under an outdated psychiatric model that causes distress and raises concern across the trans community. It appears to be in conflict with the international standards set by the WHO, with no movement away from a mental-health focused service.
TENI was proud to be the NGO host for the April 2023 European Professional Association for Transgender Health (EPATH) conference. Over 300 clinical experts from across Europe came to Killarney to attend best practice seminars and hear from leaders in gender-affirming healthcare. While organising the event, we were asked if we could support the inclusion of a speaker from the Irish National Gender Service (NGS) in a session with other speakers, among them our then-CEO, Tina Kolos Orban. This conference aimed to highlight and celebrate best practices for EPATH colleagues from across Europe. Having recently seen Ireland’s gender-affirming healthcare rated as the worst in Europe, we did not feel that there was anything to celebrate about the Irish service. That time could be better spent highlighting the expertise and best practices of the most highly regarded services from across Europe. Therefore, we did not support that proposal and the session was adapted to ensure impactful discussions.
Note that the lack of support for inviting a speaker from the Irish NGS had absolutely no impact on the NGS or any other Irish EPATH member’s ability to attend the conference. They could still come and engage with their European peers over the week. We were deeply disappointed that those involved in delivering gender affirming healthcare services here in Ireland did not take the opportunity to attend the conference.
We support the delivery of gender-affirming healthcare that is in line with international standards of care. We strongly encourage those involved in this field in Ireland to learn from our European partners, who deliver more accessible care based on informed consent.
Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI)
We understand that for many of our community, today will be a difficult day. We urge you to please seek out support if you need it. Information on supports available can be found on the Supports page of our website.