An advocacy group in Sweden has called for national guidelines on issuing breast implants to transgender women, claiming they can save countless lives.
The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) has petitioned the country’s National Board of Health and Welfare, citing a strong correlation between an “alarmingly high suicide rate” and transgender people who are denied surgery.
“Breast implants for transgender women are, in many cases, a very important measure for them to function with their new identity and allow them to fit in as women in everyday life,” RFSL wrote. “Plastic surgery for transsexual patients, to a large extent, saves lives,” it added.
The organisation pointed out that the suicide rate among patients denied the procedure is 30 to 40 percent, compare with 1.6 percent in the general population. It also claims that there are inconsistencies in how the issue is handled in different parts of the country, citing Södra Älvsborgs hospital in Alingsås, western Sweden, which recently denied a transgender woman’s application for the surgery.
“It’s not acceptable that a small and vulnerable group of transgender people such as this transsexual group is given different rights to care depending on where in the country they live,” RFSL wrote. The organisation is calling for national guidelines, emphasising “an individual’s value and right to decide over their identity”.
“RFSL demands that care for transgender people be given under the same conditions regardless of where one lives in Sweden,” the group wrote, according to a report by The Local.