The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) has issued a letter to its Australian health professional members reminding them of its Standard of Care guidelines, after advocacy from PACFA’s Diversity in Gender, Body, Kinship and Sexuality Leadership Group.
The public letter, posted on the association’s website, reminds health professionals that they should accept surgical readiness referrals from PACFA clinical members and other mental health professionals who have the minimum competencies outlined in WPATH’s Standards of Care (7th Edition) guidelines.
From August 2020, PACFA’s Diversity in Gender, Body, Kinship, and Sexuality Leadership Group members received increasing reports of healthcare access barriers faced by people with trans and gender diversity lived experience. The group understands that some clinicians were instructing surgeons to refuse referral letters for gender-related surgery, unless the referrals were from psychiatrists or clinical psychologists.
The Leadership Group’s Convenor, Dr Gávi Ansara, filed formal ethics complaints with WPATH and the Australian Professional Association for Transgender Health (AusPATH).
In September 2021, in a national victory for more equitable access to gender-affirming surgery, WPATH and AusPATH directed their members to accept letters from PACFA clinical members and other practitioners who meet WPATH’s minimum competency standards.
In the letter, psychiatrist and WPATH President Dr Walter Bouman also reminded Australian-based WPATH members of the Standards of Care’s goal ‘to increase access to care, not decrease it’ and that the guidelines are ‘deeply rooted in the mission and vision of WPATH and its professional members’ work.’
In 2022, the Leadership Group plans to offer professional development for PACFA practitioners wishing to provide anti-oppressive support for people seeking gender-affirming medical procedures.
If you are a clinical member of PACFA who meets WPATH’s minimum competencies and your referral regarding gender-affirming surgery is not accepted, you/your client may wish to make a complaint to: