New policy adopted at the World Medical Association’s (WMA) recent General Assembly meeting in Moscow addresses guidelines on transgender health care. The guidelines are directed to physicians to enable them to increase their knowledge and sensitivity towards transgender people and the unique health issues they face. The WMA emphasized that everyone has the right to determine their own gender and that gender incongruence is not in itself a mental disorder.

This summer, the AMA Advisory Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues (LGBT) reviewed the guidelines for transgender health care written by the German Medical Association and introduced at the World Medical Association (WMA). The Committee advised the AMA delegation that the proposed guidelines were sound and affirming.

“Our advisory committee is proud to have supported the WMA’s adoption of this policy that combats transphobia across the globe,” said Brian Hurley, chair of the AMA LGBT Advisory Committee. “Transgender people everywhere in the world deserve optimal medical care from their physicians.”

Delegates from nearly 60 national medical associations agreed that every effort should be made to make individualized, multi-professional, interdisciplinary and affordable transgender healthcare available to all people who experience gender incongruence, and explicitly rejected any form of coercive treatment or forced behavior modification. Optimal transgender health care aims to enable transgender people to have the best possible quality of life. 

“We condemn all forms of discrimination, stigmatization and violence against transgender people and want to see appropriate legal measures to protect their equal civil rights,” WMA President Sir Michael Marmot said in a news release. “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 recognize and avoid discriminatory practices, and to provide appropriate and sensitive transgender health care,” Dr. Marmot said.

Read the new guidelines on the WMA’s website.

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