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La demande de soins des personnes transsexuelles en France : prise en charge médicale et respect de la dignité

Abstract : The care of transsexual patients calls for a multidisciplinary approach, involving medical, social and legal areas of expertise. These three areas both interact with and complement each other.The French national healthcare system drafted its standards of care in 1989, which require at least two years of psychiatric evaluation before the patient can request that their sex reassignment surgery be paid for by the health system. The purpose of this follow up is to evaluate, among other things, the merits of their request. These consultations are often criticized as stigmatizing by transsexuals, given the overt link these evaluations imply between their condition and mental illness. Transsexuals think that the mandatory psychiatric follow up is an attack on their dignity because their word is put into question by tests and evaluations performed by medical personnel who have no empathy for what they are going through. Currently, many transsexuals do not follow these standards of care, even if recommended by the HAS (Haute Autorité de Santé – the official French health standards organization), as they are considered both too rigid and too disconnected from their real needs. Therefore, transsexuals organize heir own healthcare process and sometimes have their surgery performed abroad. Last but not least, the healthcare process would be incomplete without it ending with the change in their legal identity. The medical transformation is linked in this way to a legal process, which is necessary to guarantee the individual’s privacy and personal rights.Psychological, psychiatric, biological and genetic origins of transsexualism are still subject to debate, and there are no reliable or reproducible answers, only question marks. In this uncertain context, the testimony we have gathered underline the reality of life where the person is inevitably both at the center of a series of medical treatments and a challenge to the scientific conception of medicine, both in their choices and their attitudes.These different life stories, demonstrate how important respect for the difference, unquantifiable and unclassifiable, of these people is. Respect for the expertise that the patient has acquired, respect for his or her sincerity, choices and his decisions are requests that have arisen regularly. Moreover, beyond the medical treatments that are requested, the need for psychological, moral and financial support is part of the profile of that can be drawn of a vulnerable population that needs to receive care and be cared for. We must not forget the “violence” of the procedures that are requested, as well as the questions raised by patients and practitioners. The decision to undergo medical and surgical procedures is necessary to the well being of the person. Even if this decision is presented as a personal choice, many other people are inevitably involved. Some choose to freely embrace this transformation, while others sometimes feel forced to accept it.
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Lucile Girard. La demande de soins des personnes transsexuelles en France : prise en charge médicale et respect de la dignité. Médecine humaine et pathologie. Université René Descartes - Paris V, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013PA05D007⟩. ⟨tel-00921071⟩

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