Broad effort needed to improve transgender care as waiting lists grow


Demand for transgender-related healthcare services is increasing but there is no clear reason for the rise, according to research by Radboud University teaching hospital on behalf of the health ministry. 

Between October 2019 and July 2022 the waiting list for help rose from 2,820 to 8,630 while the number of available places tripled, the researchers said. Currently, some 6,900 people are waiting for some form of treatment, with an average waiting list of almost two years. 

The researchers say the long waiting lists are partly down to the lack of alternatives to specialised clinics and it is unclear if there has been an actual increase in the number of transgender people because there are no comparable statistics from the past. 

The lack of acceptance is largely the cause of the increased demand for care, as the healthcare system is now the only place transgender people can go for a wide variety of help, the researchers say.

The researchers also note the sharply polarized debate in society about the acceptance of transgender people, particularly children. But this ‘moral panic’ is fueling increased polarisation and possible violence against transgender people, the researchers warn.

The health ministry says a ‘broad, concerted effort’ is needed to improve transgender care and boost acceptance of transgender people within society at large.

‘Transgender people need a society that welcomes them,’ health minister Ernst Kuipers said. ‘Schools, parents, employers and the community should do more to boost the acceptance of gender diversity.’

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