Sweden are worst on transgender friendly healthcare

Sweden is the country where transgender are feeling the worst, compared with four other European countries, according to a new report from Transgender Europe, to which RFSL has been part of creating.

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In a survey, people responded to questions about their mental and general health, about experiences of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, as well as their experiences in the meeting with the healthcare. 885 transgender people from Sweden, Spain, Serbia, Poland and Georgia responded to the survey. 472 Swedish people participated.

Transgenders in Sweden have poorer health than in other countries. 39% say they themselves have bad health, compared to 26% from Poland, 3% from Serbia and 2% from Spain. As a comparison, the Swedish public health survey among the general population can be lifted. In this, 5% describe their health as poor, which shows that Swedish transgender people are worse off than the rest of the population, and worse than transgender from the other participating countries.

In the study, those who participated in transgender healthcare are not prioritised and do not meet transgender peoples needs. A participant tells:

Above all, new, younger specialist physicians and psychologists are required that they are suitable for both binary and non-binary persons. I would also appreciate if the healthcare was just about one’s gender identity and left out questions about how to have sex or masturbation. It is insane and has nothing to do with gender identity. That’s what I call abusive treatment.

The report also shows that the knowledge and response in general healthcare is lacking. A participant wrote in a comment:

A midwife wondered how transgenders could voluntarily mutilate our bodies and a doctor wanted to know how my genitals looked when I sought help for iron malnutrition.

The report shows that only 27% of those from Sweden know transgender friendly healthcare, while the numbers for the other countries are significantly higher. It is worrying that about a quarter of all transgender people, regardless of country, have experienced discrimination in healthcare because of their gender identity in the last year. Some have been denied care because of their transgender identity, others have been ill-treated, ridiculed and consciously misguided.

Efforts to improve transgender health are necessary, Swedish public healthcare system needs more knowledge about transgender’s situation and special health problems. Nobody will have to experience offensive treatment when seeking help from healthcare, “said Carolina Orre, RFSL health expert and co-author of the report.