More transgender people seeking medical help - study

  • 19/01/2018
More transgender people seeking medical help - study
Photo credit: Getty

More transgender Kiwis are seeking help from Wellington medical services, a study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal has found.

The paper is one of the first to look at how many Kiwis identify as transgender, and found 438 people had visited a Wellington clinic specialising in gender reassignment therapy between 1990 and 2016.

There had been a particular increase in recent years with 92 people making at least one visit in 2016, compared to 11 people in 2009.

This included 51 people requesting therapy to transition from male-to-female and 41 requesting female-to-male therapy in 2016 and a rise in young people visiting the clinic.

The study's authors said the findings were important because, while overseas clinics had noted a marked increase in the number of people requesting gender reassignment therapy, little data had been compiled in New Zealand.

It showed the need for different medical fields and social groups to provide "holistic" and connected support services for transgender people, particularly those who are young, the authors said.

They said numerous other studies had found "transgender youth have a higher prevalence of behavioural and emotional problems, including anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide, than is expected in the general population".

The study comes as Statistics NZ recently decided to leave out questions about gender and sexuality from the 2018 census.

Statistics Minister James Shaw on Monday said the department had tested adding the questions in 2016 and 2017 but found the results were not statistically reliable because people "spoil the result by putting in silly answers".

"You see in the questions on religion, for example, something like 51,000 people put down that they followed the Jedi religion," he told The AM Show.