The World Professional Association for Transgender Health is a group of professionals from around the world who are devoted to the health of trans and non-binary people.

Why is WPATH so important in the development of trans health care?

If we hear more and more about sex changes, it is certainly not because it is a sign of the times or a passing trend. The desire to undergo a gender affirmation surgery is always the result of a long reflection which, most often, is not an easy one.

Obviously, this important decision is never made lightly. Beyond the repercussions that such surgery will have in the life of the person concerned and their entourage, we wish for this operation be a complete success. What we want most of all for the people who go under the knife is that they at last go forward the best possible way and live their own life.

The importance of WPATH

Although times have changed since the first sex-change surgeries were performed, people who have had gender affirmation surgery are still often stigmatized. Their reality, still misunderstood by a large part of the population, is often lived within closed circles. Support and relevant information come most often from specialized organizations in the field.

In this regard, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health is a professional association dedicated to the understanding and treatment of gender dysphoria.

Founded by psychologist Paul Allen Walker in 1979, this association (which was called the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association at the time) is essentially mandated to promote the care, education, research, advocacy, public policy, and respect, and that all be evidence-based on transgender health.

“One of the main functions of WPATH is to promote the highest standards of health care for individuals through the articulation of Standards of Care (SOC) for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People. The SOC are based on the best available science and expert professional consensus. Most of the research and experience in this field comes from a North American and Western European perspective; thus, adaptations of the SOC to other parts of the world are necessary. […]The overall goal of the SOC is to provide clinical guidance for health professionals to assist transsexual, transgender, and gender-nonconforming people with safe and effective pathways to achieving lasting personal comfort with their gendered selves in order to maximize their overall health, psychological well-being, and self-fulfillment. This assistance may include primary care, gynecologic and urologic care, reproductive options, voice and communication therapy, mental health services (e.g., assessment, counseling, psychotherapy), and hormonal and surgical treatments.”

Source : WPATH Standards of care, version 7.

Evidently, the contribution of such an organization plays a leading role and allows equipping and supporting not only those who wish to undergo a surgery, but also to demystify many aspects of trans identity.

“At the Centre Métropolitan de Chirurgie (CMC) in Montreal, the only clinic specializing in gender affirmation surgery in Canada, almost 500 people underwent the procedure in this last year alone, and more than 8300 since the creation of the clinic in 1990. In the last five years, as many as 1888 trans women have attended to transform their genitalia into a fully female organ, and 264 trans men obtained a male sexual organ.”

Source: Le Devoir, March 23, 2019.

Does this mean that mentalities are really starting to change? In any case, even if it is the timid beginning of an evolution, the WPATH will have greatly contributed to it.

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