Why Is It Important to Be Aware of the Needs of Trans Clients?
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Why Is It Important to Be Aware of the Needs of Trans Clients?

Whether you are a general practitioner, psychologist, nurse or a member of the administrative staff, it is likely that within your practice or service you will someday encounter a trans person.

With the phrase "trans person" we refer to the wide range of different forms of gender identity and expression that differ from the gender assigned at birth. An extensive overview of the different forms of transgender and gender non-conforming identities and the most used terminology can be found here.

In Malta, the Gender Wellbeing Clinic​ offers transgender-specific care in various areas (such as endocrinology, psychosocial support, surgery, voice, etc.). However there are aspects that can be important to pay extra attention to, when encountering transgender patients in relation to general health concerns. There are also aspects that may be useful for counselling professionals who encounter trans persons in their practice during the counseling​ of trans persons themselves and with their families and environment​​; both before, during and after a possible transition.

In the first two years since the setting up of the Gender Wellbeing Clinic as part of the National Health Service which opened its doors in November 2018, over 180 individuals were referred to the service. Under previous legal gender recognition provisions introduced in 2004, which necessitated irreversible gender affirmation surgeries, 21 persons changed their legal gender. Within the first five years from the enactment of the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (CAP 540)​ of 2015, over 125 persons changed their legal gender with a relatively even split between those assigned male at birth and those assigned female. Since 2017 it also became possible to opt for an X marker on identity documents in recognition of those who do not subscribe to the gender binary.