Transhealth Needs Matter

Transhealth needs matter

 

Today I met with Sara from Swindon’s Healthwatch. Unsurprisingly there is little mention of transhealth needs in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) and what mention there is in there is diabolical.

 So what is a JSNA?

A Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) looks at the current and future health and care needs of local populations to inform and guide the planning and commissioning (buying) of health, well-being and social care services within a local authority area.

Transhealth needs in Swindon come under Men’s Sexual Health – yes, the flaw in that alone is obvious. Not only is being transgender tucked into Men’s Sexual Health but that of gay and homosexual men.

Predominantly this is a report about the needs for cis-gender gay and bi men and tagged into it is one paragraph covering transgender people, all transgender people. Transgender people are given this paragraph.

“This group can self identify as either male or female, and further can identify as being heterosexual or homosexual. They can fall into Transgender, Transsexual, or cross dressing. As a rule they are very private individuals, and numbers are not known or fully understood, however, it is believed that transgender (pre and post operative) account for 1 in every 11,500 in the UK, but within this group that does not allow for any knowledge of sexual behavioural identity. Consequently it is currently impossible to quantify the number of Trans people in any area, who fit into the MSM category”

 

The full report can be found here

http://www.swindonjsna.co.uk/dna/lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-people-health-needs-assessment

Transgender covers so much more than sexual health. The process of transition is not covered; the health screening needs of transgender people are not covered. A transperson has to monitor and instigate their screening tests because normal health screening services are made for the identified gender whereas some services may be required given the birth gender.

I also question the stats used. If 1 in 11500 people are transgender that would make 17 in Swindon. STGG and TransSwindon both have more than that on a regular basis and there is a significant variation in members to mean it is likely to be far higher than 17, nearer 50 at a rough guess. That is 50 people whose health needs are not being met by this JSNA. Given that some transgender people are invisible it makes me wonder just how high that number could be.

The JSNA needs to be amended to reflect the unique needs of the transperson. Sara has kindly provided a survey for us to complete but it needs to be by the end of June 2015. It is anonymous and can be done discreetly via TransSwindon.  If you want to make your voice heard contact us at transswindon@gmail.com.

Crisis-Point

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Coming out as Transgender is emotionally, mentally and physically draining. In the preparation to come out we have faced our deepest fears. The announcement that we are Trans and are going to transition is often met with shock, and sadly rejection.

If coming out is met with rejection and aggression – there is a problem. Where does the Trans person go? Who can they turn to?

This is a crisis-point. Transgender people face many such points before, during and after transition. There is little or no support out there so to meet that gap the TransSwindon crisis support is being launched on 1 June.

At this time support consists of email via the contact facility and in the case of emergency a phone number. We have contacts that we can refer people to as their individual needs require. In the future we would like to see a safe space available as a temporary stop gap.

Gender specific hostels are not a safe environment and placing a transperson in such places is not beneficial to either the transperson or the residents already living there. Transition is a difficult time without this kind of thing happening, but it does and an alternative must be our ultimate goal.