‘Lack of sup­port drove my trans­gen­der son to sui­cide’

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS -

A MOTHER whose son died by sui­cide af­ter a sex-change op­er­a­tion be­lieves he’d be alive to­day if greater State sup­port was avail­able.

The par­ent, who does not wish to be iden­ti­fied, ad­dressed stu­dents at the Royal Col­lege of Sur­geons ear­lier this year to high­light what she de­scribed as ‘piece­meal, hap­haz­ard and de­fi­cient’ ser­vices for gen­der re­as­sign­ment surgery pa­tients. ‘The State failed my child,’ she told the Irish Mail on Sun­day, in her first me­dia in­ter­view since the 24-yearold’s death in 2013. ‘I ab­so­lutely be­lieve he would still be alive if bet­ter sup­ports had been in place be­fore and af­ter surgery. The State has dealt with trans­gen­der is­sues re­ac­tively rather than proac­tively.’

The woman ex­plained her youngest child had a dou­ble mas­tec­tomy and a hys­terec­tomy in Dublin but didn’t go on to have gen­i­tal re­con­struc­tion surgery in the UK as ‘he was still ad­just­ing to his new body’. Ac­cess­ing his file af­ter his death, she could only find three meet­ings with a psy­chi­a­trist, but none with a coun­sel­lor or a psy­chol­o­gist.

‘He hung his whole fu­ture on this pro­ce­dure,’ she said. ‘Af­ter the op­er­a­tion, he was good for a while but be­came qui­eter. I don’t be­lieve he suf­fered from post-op re­gret. But he fo­cused on the op­er­a­tions mak­ing him fully okay. But it doesn’t stop at op­er­a­tions. You need a lot of coun­selling be­fore and af­ter.’

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