Life is about to get a whole lot rosier for the Royal children’s Hospital(RCH) Gender Dysphoria Unit and, a great deal less stressful for the families and children presenting there.
The “Andrews” Victorian government has set aside $6m over the next four years. This will enable the GDC to place additional professional staff and purchase medications including Puberty Blockers.
At the present time, the client waiting times has ballooned out to 14 months. With the current trend showing more children being supported by their families to “come out” sooner than ever before and in greater numbers. The staff at the GDC have been quick to re-assert that these increased numbers of children presenting does not necessarily translate into increasing rates of people seeking transition. Rather it is an indicator of the increasing preparedness for families to support their children in “coming out”. The $6m allocated over the next four years will reduce the chronically long Patient Lists now being experienced.
The following table demonstrates the rate of increase in the cases presenting at the RCH Gender Dysphoria Centre.
Simple extrapolation of this trend would indicate (assuming unlimited resources) figures in excess of 150 new patients in the next full year. Of course this number must plateau unless additional resources are bought in. And they will need to plateau until the balance is found between waiting times that are acceptable and the number of expected Gender Dysphoric children presenting can be predicted. This grant provides some breathing space to enable the determination of these issues.
Dr. Michelle Telfer is reported as saying……”The number of people with gender dysphoria is unchanged. But people are feeling safe to come forward, now that society is increasingly accepting,” she said.
“A lot of the young people who would have been suffering in silence have now got an opportunity to improve their lives and be who they are”.
Dr Telfer said it was crucial young people received the support they needed early.
She said the risk of adolescents harming themselves when they were unable to access services was 50 per cent.
Dr Telfer said before the latest funding commitment, the service could only accommodate one new patient a week alongside those in the system.
The Vic Government Grant is further supported by both the “Equality Ministry” and the “Health Ministry”, departments representative of Victorian Government policy, asserting that Gender Identity issues were a matter for the community as a whole and the individual right to assert identity.