Activist groups advocating for improved transgender rights and visibility have begun a week-long campaign against the significant barriers to trans healthcare in Ireland.
Trans Harm Reduction (THR) and Trans Pride Dublin, are urging people to take part in “a phone and email picket” of the National Gender Services (NGS) to protest boundaries put in place by the service which they say prevent access to trans healthcare in Ireland.
Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Gender Equality Officer Jenny Maguire has voiced support for the campaign, entitled Transgress the NGS. In Maguire’s view, “the NGS seeks to segregate trans healthcare in order to keep control over trans patients”, adding that this is a practice she has experienced first hand.
She further stated that while “many trans people choose to self medicate on their own terms… the patient must be trusted to make decisions, and the [NGS] stands in opposition to this”.
THR wrote in an Instagram post that this campaign is to “demand [the NGS’] public commitment to stop advising GPs against providing blood tests and prescribing HRT (hormone replacement therapy) to trans patients”. Maguire pointed out that there is “no real reason not to” provide these services.
THR went on to say that “the NGS intimidates GPs into denying blood testing and prescriptions of gender-affirming hormone therapy”. They further stated that there exists “a decade-long waiting list” that leads to “care rife with invasive, damaging evaluations and inadequate treatment.”
The NGS is a state service run by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and St John of God Services.
THR concluded by insisting that “The NGS will not stand in [their] way” towards a state of “self-determined, informed consent trans healthcare”.
Speaking to Trinity News, Maguire said: “Trans people deserve compassion, care and dignity. Currently, the National Gender Service denies us this”.
The campaign will run until Friday of this week, with more information and an email script available on Trans Harm Reduction’s instagram account.
In March, TCDSU highlighted the inadequacies of trans healthcare in Ireland with a large-scale poster inside the Nassau Street entrance to campus.
A 2022 study by Transgender Europe (TGEU) ranked Ireland as the worst in the EU for standards of trans healthcare.
On a 12 point scale based on six criteria, Ireland scored just one point, for the fact that trans healthcare is available in the country at all.
Additionally, Ireland scored worst on waiting times, with delays of over 7 years after requesting an appointment with a specialist, compared to a wait of less than
a year in most EU countries.