Athens, January 15, 2020

PRESS RELEASE

Subject: «Question by 18 Members of Parliament on equal access for trans and intersex persons to non-discriminatory health services».

The Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA) a voluntary non-governmental organization promoting the rights
and freedoms of trans, gender diverse and intersex people, with this press release, informs on a question tabled by 18 members of the greek parliament on equal access for trans and intersex persons to non-discriminatory health services. Specifically on 20.12.2019, the following question was tabled by 18 Members of SYRIZA:[1]:

QUESTION

To the Minister of Health

Subject: “Equal access for transgender persons to non-discriminatory health services”

The right to health, as a fundamental human right, is universal, enshrined in the Constitution and included in all international human rights agreements. The need to address health inequalities has been repeatedly highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO), already the Charter of 1948 indicates the right to health for all people. The principle of equality includes, inter alia, equal access for all to health services solely on the basis of the need for care and regardless of characteristics such as gender, age, religion, income and sexual orientation.

In practice, special characteristics of individuals often impede their easy access to necessary health services. In particular, it has been found that the mismatch between the gender attributed at birth and the gender identity of a person (trans status) is a factor that makes access to health services difficult. This is attributed to a number of reasons such as that the person is dealing with medical conditions associated with a particular biological sex condition, which may not be identical to the gender identity and/or that the individual is reluctant to expose medical personnel to health issues that faces, concern about possible discrimination, verbal or other abuse as well as transphobic behavior.

Following the legislation on gender identity recognition (Law 4491/2017, Government Gazette A ‘152), which largely resolved the issue of mismatch between identification documents and gender identity, a Working Group on study and registration was set up at the Ministry of Health with the view to the study and recording of the necessary institutional interventions needed to enable transgender people to have equal access to health care without discrimination (Α1β/Γ.Π.οικ.46980/19.6.2018, ΑΔΑ: ΨΒ4Ο465ΦΥΟ-ΤΞ4, τροποποίηση Α1β/Γ.Π.οικ.51375/04.07.2018, ΑΔΑ: Ω8ΟΦ465ΦΥΟ-23Ι). The report, submitted to the Minister of Health, highlights the following important issues:

  1. 1. To ensure equal access for transgender people to health services, requires:
  • legislation to make reference to non-discrimination and equal treatment because of gender identity,
  • institutional arrangements, on the one hand, in the form of necessary changes to the gender-based online prescription system, and on the other, in the form of relevant circulars that would point to the need for trans and intersex persons to have full access, on an equal basis, with non-discrimination treatment to all health services and will inform staff about gender diagnoses,
  • training medical, nursing and administrative staff on gender expression, gender identity and gender characteristics issues with the participation of the relevant departments of the Council of Europe.
  1. 2. Although the global scientific community has proceeded to depathologize gender identity (deletion by ICD11 of gender identity disorder), in existing legislation (for example PD 11/2014, Article 15), stigmatic terms are included which constitute discrimination on the basis of gender identity and must be deleted from any legislative provision.
  2. 3. It is necessary to have insurance cover for the gender reassignment process and in particular for surgical procedures.
  3. 4. Legislation prohibiting «corrective» surgical interventions on intersex infants in order to «restore» sex, classified as torture by the United Nations Organization against Torture.

Because the right to health is a fundamental human right,

Because equal access for all citizens to health services is independent of characteristics such as gender, age, religion, income and sexual orientation,

Because it has been found that the mismatch between the gender attributed at birth and the gender identity of a person is a factor which makes it difficult to access health services,

Because, although Law 4491/2017 resolved mismatch issues between IDs and gender identity, there are still legislations in force that discriminate on the basis of gender identity as well as issues for transgender and intersex people not yet regulated,

Because it has been found that further institutional interventions are needed in order for transgender people to have equal and easy access to the public health system,

Τhe following questions are asked to the Minister:

  1. 1. Does he intend to take into account the findings of the Working Group on equal access for transgender persons to non-discriminatory health services and to take the steps proposed?
  2. 2. Does he take specific legislative initiatives to remove stigmatizing terms from existing legislation and make reference to gender-based equal treatment?
  3. 3. Does he make institutional interventions such as changes to the online prescription system and the issuance of circulars aimed at full access and equal treatment for trans and intersex persons in health services?
  4. 4. Does he ensure that medical, nursing and administrative staff are trained on gender expression, gender identity and sex characteristics issues?
  5. 5. Does he include gender reassignment procedures, including required surgeries, in EOPYY medical covered practices?
  6. 6. Does he take further initiatives to safeguard the rights of intersex persons such as protecting them from infantile surgeries classified by the United Nations as torture?

Members who asked the questions:

Agathopoulou Eirini, Anagnostopoulou Athanasia (SIA), Veta Kalliopi, Dritsas Theodoros, Zachariadis Kostas, Karassarlidou Efrosini (Froso), Lappas Spyridon, Malama Kyriaki, Markou Konstantinos, Xanthopoulos Theofilos, Xanthos Andreas, Poulou Panayiou (Giota), Skourletis Panagiotis (Panos), Sirmalenios Nikos, Filis Nikos, Hatzigiannakis Miltiadis, Christidou Rallia, Psychogios Georgios.

As noted in the question of 18 Members, from 9.1.2018, it was set up by decision of the former Minister of Health, Mr Xanthos, Working Group of the Ministry of Health, with a view to adopting measures for full access and equal treatment in the field of health care for trans, and intersex persons, while representatives of the Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA) participated in the Working Group[2]. This was done after a meeting of GTSA representatives with the Minister of Health[3], explaining the need for legislative and other measures to safeguard all of the above. In fact, the Working Group completed its work after 10 meetings on 16.5.2019 by submitting a detailed report to the Ministry of Health[4].

The Greek Transgender Support Association also stresses the need for legislative and other measures to ensure equal access for trans, gender-diverse and intersex persons to health without discrimination, and calls on the Minister of Health to take into account the report of the Working Party, and also to take the necessary legislative and institutional initiatives to ensure that all our fellow human beings, including trans and intersex persons, enjoy full and equal access to non-discriminatory health services.

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

GREEK TRANSGENDER SUPPORT ASSOCIATION

79 Sygrou Street, 3rd floor, Athens, 11745

Tel. 210.9210697

Office hours: Monday to Friday

09.00-14.00 & 17.00-20.00

http://www.tgender.grhttp://www.transgender-association.gr/

contact@tgender.grtransgender.support.association@gmail.com

References

[1] Κοινοβουλευτική ερώτηση Υπ.Αριθμ. 2770/20-12-2019. Θέμα: «Ισότιμη πρόσβαση των διεμφυλικών προσώπων στις υπηρεσίες υγείας χωρίς διακρίσεις», https://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikos-Elenchos/Mesa-Koinovouleutikou-Elegxou?pcm_id=f0bbe668-ab10-464d-aacb-ab2c00ed34a9.

[2] Δελτίο Τύπου ΣΥΔ | 9.7.2018: «Συμμετοχή εκπροσώπων του ΣΥΔ στην Ομάδα Έργου του Υπουργείου Υγείας για την Υγειονομική κάλυψη των τρανς προσώπων»: https://transgendersupportassociation.wordpress.com/2018/07/09/%ce%b4%ce%b5%ce%bb%cf%84%ce%b9%ce%bf-%cf%84%cf%85%cf%80%ce%bf%cf%85-%cf%83%cf%85%ce%bc%ce%bc%ce%b5%cf%84%ce%bf%cf%87%ce%ae-%ce%b5%ce%ba%cf%80%cf%81%ce%bf%cf%83%cf%8e%cf%80%cf%89%ce%bd-%cf%84/.

[3] Δελτίο Τύπου ΣΥΔ | 11.1.2018: «Συνάντηση εκπροσώπων του ΣΥΔ με τον Υπουργό Υγείας»: https://transgendersupportassociation.wordpress.com/2018/01/11/%ce%b4%ce%b5%ce%bb%cf%84%ce%b9%ce%bf-%cf%84%cf%85%cf%80%ce%bf%cf%85-%cf%83%cf%85%ce%bd%ce%ac%ce%bd%cf%84%ce%b7%cf%83%ce%b7-%ce%b5%ce%ba%cf%80%cf%81%ce%bf%cf%83%cf%8e%cf%80%cf%89%ce%bd-%cf%84-6/.

[4] Βλέπε σχετικό Δελτίο Τύπου Υπουργείου Υγείας | Πέμπτη 16.5.2019: http://www.moh.gov.gr/articles/ministry/grafeio-typoy/press-releases/6211-ston-ypoyrgo-ygeias-andrea-ksantho-to-porisma-ths-omadas-ergasias-gia-thn-ygeionomikh-kalypsh-twn-diemfylikwn-atomwn, καθώς και Δελτίο Τύπου του ΣΥΔ: https://transgendersupportassociation.wordpress.com/2019/05/20/%ce%b4%ce%b5%ce%bb%cf%84%ce%b9%ce%bf-%cf%84%cf%85%cf%80%ce%bf%cf%85-%ce%bf%ce%bb%ce%bf%ce%ba%ce%bb%ce%b7%cf%81%cf%8e%ce%b8%ce%b7%ce%ba%ce%b1%ce%bd-%ce%bf%ce%b9-%ce%b5%cf%81%ce%b3%ce%b1%cf%83/.