To advance knowledge through the facilitation, promotion, and dissemination of research is one of WPATH’s four Strategic Directions. While the Standards of Care have made significant headway disseminating the best available evidence-based and clinical consensus information, science and research in this field are still far behind that of other areas of medicine and law. Limited government funding for scientific research, lack of pharmaceutical funding and a much smaller pool of interested and available researchers all contribute to lower levels of evidence.
This is another area in which WPATH can make a difference with your help. WPATH hopes to expand efforts in 2018 and 2019 through the ability to support collaborative research projects that advance understanding of the transgender and gender diverse experience. Some of the initiatives we will be focusing on are:
a. Through the Standards of Care 8 revision we will identify gaps that would benefit from further research.
b. Disseminate information about potential research directions and provide support for research collaborations by awarding seed grants for pilot research projects.
c. Developing ethical guidelines regarding transgender research.
d. Encouraging student research through the development of a student mentoring program and increased student research forums and awards.
e. Increased Symposia Travel Awards for researchers from developing countries to present their work.
Our 2018-2019 implementation plan includes increased efforts to utilize WPATH’s strength as a scientific, evidence-based organization to leverage WPATH’s expertise to support local advocacy efforts. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) recognizes that, for optimal physical and mental health, persons must be able to express their gender identity freely, whether or not that identity conforms to the expectations of others. WPATH urges governments to eliminate barriers to gender recognition and to institute transparent, affordable and otherwise accessible administrative procedures affirming self-determination when gender markers on identity documents are considered necessary. These procedures should be based on law and protect privacy.
As we promote the Standards of Care through translations and have expanded our educational reach to healthcare providers around the world, we have received increased requests for advocacy and policy assistance from both health professional and community leaders worldwide. Our Immediate Past President, Jamison Green, traveled to Kazakhstan in 2016 at the invitation of the Ministry of Health. Dr. Green then continued his travel through central Asia meeting with dignitaries contributing to positive changes in policy. WPATH has received many additional invitations, but without funding for travel, we are unable to make these critical visits in person. WPATH continues to respond through official letters and policy statements to health ministries and government officials around the world.
Our 2018-2019 implementation plan calls for creating a universe of partners continuing our relationships with organizations who work on both a national and global scope to magnify our efforts in a proactive way.
Our focus is on collaborations in three areas:
WPATH will also be forming an International Advocacy Council to assist individuals with global policy expertise and connections to NGO’s in the developing world to help us in these efforts.
Funding would be used in two ways
1. Provide travel stipends to volunteers who officially represent WPATH in this advocacy work.
2. Provide scholarships to global advocates to attend WPATH conferences.