Call It A First-World Problem

All those of you not feeling quite right in your skin, torn by that compulsion to “cross the road” – well, at least if you’re in the Netherlands you’re going to have to find some other medical institution to be your conduit and crossing-guard, according to a recent report.
Yes, those looking for a sex-change operation will not be able to avail themself for a quite a while of the Free University Medical Center (VUmc; if they have not already made such arrangements, of course), located in South Amsterdam. That’s simply because the place is swamped: 400 adults and 200 children approach it yearly for that sort of procedure, but it can’t handle that traffic and has put a stop to any new admissions. Unfortunately, it has been conducting 85% of such operations nationally.

Actually, the problem is money: the VUmc would need €10 million annually even to handle that usual 600, but gets only €3 million from insurance companies. (Heaven forfend that any of these people pay for such an operation themselves! Actually, it’s rather eyebrow-raising that such procedures are in fact covered by the private health insurance that makes up the Dutch health care system.)

This has created another oppressed minority: the “transgenders” who now can’t get the change made (or have to look elsewhere to get it done; and/or – *gasp* – who have to pay for it out of their own stylishly metrosexual pockets). Naturally, there’s an advocacy group for these people, called Transgender Netwerk Nederland. (Go ahead, click and check it out: I’ve linked to their English site.) As TNN director Elleke Alink points out, “If they had announced a cessation of treatment for some other patient group, everyone in the Netherlands would surely have protested. What’s at issue here is a relatively small group, but consisting of patients who are in some cases having a hard time of it.”

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