The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) today released a newly-revised seventh edition of its Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People. The revised Standards of Care are a critical resource for providers, healthcare consumers, and advocates, and are a step forward in ensuring that transgender and gender non-conforming people receive high quality care individualized for their needs.
Significant features of the new edition include:
- Recognition that gender nonconformity in and of itself is not a disorder.
- Strong affirmation that attempts to change a person’s gender identity through “reparative” therapy are ineffective and unethical.
- Strong affirmation that transition-related treatments such as hormone therapy and surgery are medically necessary for many individuals and should be covered by insurance.
- Continued emphasis on the individual nature of transition-related care and the flexibility of treatment guidelines.
- Additional guidance on the treatment of adolescents and children, including guidelines for puberty-delaying treatment.
- Near elimination of the “real-life experience” requirement as a prerequisite criteria for medical transition in adults, with the exception of some genital surgeries.
- Discussion of a wider range of treatment options, including voice and communication therapy.
- Discussion of the preventive care needs of transgender people.
- Clarification that the Standards of Care should be applied in their entirety to those who are incarcerated or otherwise living in an institutionalized setting.
- A call for health professionals to advocate not only for their patients – for example by helping them obtain updated identity documents – but also for larger policy and legal reform promoting tolerance and equality.
The revised Standards of Care represent a step forward in ensuring that all transgender and gender nonconforming people have access to high-quality, respectful care responsive to their individual needs.