Regional framework for addressing health and human rights needs of trans people in Asia-Pacific releasedPublished on Thursday, 08 October 2015 09:29
Bangkok – A regional Blueprint that specifically addresses the health needs and human rights of transgender people in Asia and the Pacific was jointly released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Health Policy Project (HPP).
The report, titled the Blueprint for the provision of comprehensive care for trans people and trans communities in Asia and the Pacific, provides evidence-based recommendations to strengthen and enhance the policy, clinical and public health responses for transgender people in Asia and the Pacific. It has been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), and was developed in partnership the World Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) and the Pacific Sexual Diversity Network (PSDN).
“The Blueprint is intended to provide information about the current health and human rights situation for trans people in Asia and the Pacific, including clinical advice for meeting the health needs of trans people,” said Joe Wong, Programme Manager, APTN. “We hope this becomes a central reference document for trans community advocates, health professionals, policymakers, and those who design or deliver services to trans people.” According to the Blueprint, there are an estimated 9-9.5 million people in the Asia-Pacific region who identify as transgender.
Due to stigma and discrimination, these people continue to experience prejudicial treatment, abuse and lack of respect for their identities in accessing healthcare, education, employment and justice. Transgender people continue to be pathologized as mentally ill, are widely denied recognition of their gender and are discriminated against by laws and policies. Few laws in Asia and the Pacific actively prohibit discrimination on the grounds of gender identity or gender expression. This absence of legal protection leaves transgender people vulnerable to discrimination and violence.
“Trans people are among the most marginalized in society and critically need improved health care and access in order to provide better health outcomes and overall well-being,” said Edmund Settle, Policy Advisor, HIV, Health and Development, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub. “The Blueprint builds the case for changing laws, policies, and practices that will bring transgender people back from the margins of society and ensure their full social inclusion in the life of the community at large.” The discrimination within wider society also permeates the health sphere and across the region transgender people often lack access to basic health care, including HIV services. Additionally, there is very little access to publicly funded gender-affirming health services required by those who wish to transition.
The main purpose of the Blueprint is to improve access to competent primary and specialized care for transgender people in Asia and the Pacific. The Blueprint will be a resource enabling health providers, programme planners and managers, policymakers, community leaders, and other stakeholders to promote and address the health needs of transgender people. At the same time, enhancing the health and well-being of transgender people requires a human rights approach that seeks to end discrimination, and recognizes the dignity and equality of all.
“USAID worked in partnership to support the regional Blueprint for the provision of comprehensive care for trans persons and trans communities in Asia and the Pacific, which was inspired by the previous regional transgender guidance documents from Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Cameron Wolf, Senior HIV/AIDS Advisor for Key Populations at USAID.
“It took unique shape based on the diverse needs and context of trans people in Asia and the Pacific. It emphasizes gender identity recognition and the provision of gender-affirming health services and positions HIV services within the context of strengthening health and human rights responses.” The release of the Blueprint is an important step towards supporting regional governments and partners eliminate the stigma, discrimination and abuse experienced by transgender people in the region and ensuring that the right of transgender people to the highest attainable standard of health is upheld. UNDP’s support of the Blueprint was provided under two multi-country initiatives – the Multi-Country South Asia Global Fund HIV Programme and the ‘Being LGBTI in Asia’ programme.
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Contact Information Ian Mungall, Programme Analyst, HIV, Health and Development, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub email@example.com
Joe Wong, Programme Manager, Asia Pacific Transgender Network firstname.lastname@example.org