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Singapore’s trans community finally has a place to go for support

Singapore’s trans community finally has a place to go for support

The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) in Singapore has started providing mental health services for trans people and those with gender dysphoria.

It is likely the IMH is the only public hospital in Singapore to offer mental health services for trans people. In 2008 the gender identity clinic at the National University Hospital (NUH) closed.

Trans people would normally go to private clinics for medical treatment and counselling, which could be very expensive. The new services at the public IMH makes treatment more accessible.

The IMH began seeing trans patients more than six months ago according to a report in The Straits Times.

Psychiatrist Zheng Zhimin leads the IMH’s Department of Community Psychiatry. Zheng consulted with LGBTI advocates when she set up the gender dysphoria service.

The IMH declined to comment on the new services ‘as the service is still in its pilot stage’. But the IMH’s new services make accessing treatment

Things can only get better

There is a growing movement of grassroots support for trans issues in Singapore.

Last week a new informative website was launched for the country’s trans community.

TransgenderSg has a range of information including; how to update gender legal documents here, national service policies for transgender women, and hormone replacement therapy.

Joe Wong helped build TransgenderSg and said it was started ‘address the severe lack of information on navigating life and transition as a transgender person in Singapore’.

‘Trans people here have thus had to rely on word of mouth for a long time, which often means that accessing safe, quality transition-related healthcare might depend on who you know,’ he said.

The Kopitiam Brothers is an unofficial support group for trans people who meet twice a month in a secret location.

‘We try to keep it as secretive as possible to safeguard the identities of people who are attending, so they feel safer about coming,’ said organiser Deveshwar Sham.