The World Medical Association (WMA) has issued new guidelines for physicians to increase their knowledge, respect to, and sensitivity towards transgender people and the unique health issues they face.
The WMA which represents well over ten million physicians worldwide has adopted guidelines these guidelines at a meeting in Moscow on Sunday.
The delegates from nearly 60 national medical associations adopted guidelines saying that being transgender is “not a disorder”, that “everyone has the right to determine their own gender, and that the WMA rejects “coercive treatment or forced behavior modification.”
The WNA also agreed that “every effort should be made to make individualised, multi-professional, interdisciplinary and affordable transgender healthcare”.
The guidelines were proposed by the German Medical Association, which said they acknowledged the inequities faced by the transgender community and the crucial role played by physicians in advising transgender people and their families about treatment.
Delegates said they were aware of the cultural sensitivities in some parts of the world about this issue, but also said it was important for the WMA to stress that cultural, political or religious considerations must not take precedence over the rights, health and well-being of transgender people.
WMA President, Sir Michael Marmot, said: “We condemn all forms of discrimination, stigmatisation and violence against transgender people and want to see appropriate legal measures to protect their equal civil rights.
“And as role models, physicians should use their medical knowledge to combat prejudice in this respect. We would like national medical associations to take action to identify and combat barriers to care.
“It is important that there is appropriate expert training for physicians at all stages of their career to enable them to recognise and avoid discriminatory practices, and to provide appropriate and sensitive transgender healthcare.”
WMA Secretary General Otmar Kloiber told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that in the past, some treatment of transgender people has occurred with disregard for their unique needs “and often this has happened with the participation of the physician,” he said.
The WMA represents 112 member associations worldwide from all over the world.
Speaking with KaleidoScot, James Morton, of the Scottish Transgender Alliance, welcomed the guidelines and said: “We greatly welcome the WMA transgender guidelines. The guidelines are an extremely positive step forward in recognition by medical professionals that all physicians should strive to ensure transgender people receive person-centred gender identity affirming healthcare, inclusing access to hormones and surgeries.
“The guidelines also back up our existing work pushing for physicians at all stages of their career to receive training on transgender healthcare. In the UK we continue to see some GPs obstructing trans people’s access to the hormone treatment and health monitoring recommended by their Gender Identity Clinic and failing to update the gender on trans people’s medical records. Such behaviour by GPs is unacceptable.
“We urge the British Medical Association, which is a member of the WMA, to ensure these guidelines are strongly and swiftly communicated to all UK doctors.”
Earlier this year, the Council of Europe, called for the protection of transgender rights and for abolishing unnecessary cumbersome procedures to change legal gender, and called for accessible and affordable transgender-specific healthcare.
Last week the European Parliament adopted a report urging the Commission and Member States to outlaw discrimination against transgender people in employment and work towards full integration of trans people at the work floor.