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Identity

Inside a Trans Clinic Run by Trans People in the Red Light District

When other resources fail them, Trans United Clinic helps trans people in Amsterdam get the health care they need.

by Broadly Staff
Dec 21 2018, 6:56pm

In this report, Broadly heads to Amsterdam's red light district to visit the Trans United Clinic, a transgender health care clinic run by trans people. The clinic is home to a team of interdisciplinary professionals who help establish whether patients have gender dysphoria and what the best treatment plans for them are. "They're all transgender and they know what to look for," Dinah De Riquet-Bons, the care coordinator at the clinic, tells Broadly. According to Dinah, the clinic's services differ from those offered at hospitals and other clinics because they are community-based and involve a heightened sensitivity to patients' cultural backgrounds.

Eighty percent of trans people in the Netherlands are unemployed, meaning they're often pushed into sex work. As such, the clinic operates out of Proud headquarters, a sex workers' union in the Netherlands, where it's offered health care for three years.

The clinic also sees many immigrant clients, like Coco, a Syrian refugee who moved to Holland four years ago. She sits down with Broadly outside of the clinic to discuss her experience trying to receive healthcare that supports her transition. "I was halfway through my transition, but I couldn't get any hormones when I came here, so that wasted a lot of time," she says. "This destroyed my morale, so I had to go see a psychiatrist." Health insurance covers hormones provided by the clinic, and Trans United covers the cost of hormones for patients who don't have health insurance.

Outside of the clinic, trans-specific healthcare can be difficult to receive, with wait times for appointments that can last years. Additionally, many cisgender doctors aren't used to seeing trans patients. "They don't have much knowledge of the needs of transgender people," Adrie Van Diemen, a doctor at Trans United, tells Broadly.

So is a trans patient who came to the clinic after they experienced difficulty receiving hormones elsewhere. Broadly is there for the moment when Dr. Diemen gives S.O. their first prescription. "I've waited for this all my life," they say. "It was pleasant that I didn't have to explain who I was; I didn't have to demand my right to exist."