31st March is Transgender Visibility Day #morethanvisible
On the 31st March, Transgender Visibility day is celebrated around the world. Although Malta has made outstanding advances in LGBTIQ legislation and we are ranked as number one LGBTIQ friendly country in Europe, unfortunately we still more have more to do.
Besides discrimination (which is illegal) and lack of education on the subject, Transgender people often contact us and express their difficulty when it comes to access health. Currently vital tests such as blood testing for testosterone/oestrogen levels are quite costly as they has to be done by a professor (a regular GP cannot order these full spec tests) at the person's own expense. These tests are basic tests that transitioning people have to undergo regularly to monitor their health.
Gender re-assignment surgery is not available in Malta, so transgender people have to undergo operation overseas, currently no financial aid is given to individuals who undergo gender re-assignment surgery (not even the breast area which can be done locally at a private hospital) as this is still considered as a cosmetic intervention. An "awkward" situation that many male to female transgender individuals face is when they have to visit the Gynaecologist as they are put in a room with cis-gender females causing embarrassment (imagine a male seated at the gynaecologist waiting room), in such situations the creation of a GENDER CLINIC or perhaps organising an optional Gynaecologist male to female group could make life easier.
Many positive initiatives have taken place such as the introduction of gender neutral bathrooms in several public buildings, however education needs to be stepped up, recently a transphobic message was scribbled upon the walls of the gender neutral toilet at the University of Malta. Some shrugged and considered this as a prank, however such things should not be taken lightly as the message attacked an already marginalised sub group in society by re-enforcing an often repeated false statement.
Last week a Transphobic message was written on the University of Malta's gender Neutral Toilet
These are some of the issues that transgender persons put up with on a day to day basis. The LGBTIQ consultative council and several of it's NGOs are constantly working to tackle them (amongst others) if you would like to give us any feedback please feel free to send us an email by clicking here