There is a growing awareness amongst health professionals of the difficulties faced by individuals who are uncomfortable or distressed by the gender assigned to them by society or family. We refer to such people as having gender identity problems. The level of distress varies from individual to individual and the desire or need to change assigned gender also varies. Such people are likely at some point to seek help from a medical professional. It is important that we as doctors are receptive to the issues such people describe and respond appropriately. Patients will need to be assured that doctors will seek to understand their issues and preferences without judgement , maintain confidence and guide them towards appropriate services. A relationship of mutual trust is fundamental. Currently good anecdotal evidence suggests that is not always the case, arising from a mixture of ignorance, misunderstanding or occasionally prejudice and sometimes from a lack of a service to specifically help.
The Academy has produced statement with respect to the doctor’s role in helping individuals with gender identity problems and is a consensus of opinion from member colleges in Wales. It is not a guidance document and draws on statements from other professional organisations which it is recommended members refer to for more detail.