The Italian region of Tuscany will continue to provide funds for gender reassignment surgeries next year as the country remains swamped by the deadly coronavirus crisis.
Public and medical services have been placed under unprecedented stress due to the global pandemic, with Italy suffering the worst of the crisis in Europe at the outbreak.
Now, over 21,000 Italians have died from the COVID-19 coronavirus and another 141,000 have been infected in the Mediterranean country.
Despite immense pressure, on March 23 The Regional Council of Tuscany voted unanimously to earmark almost $90,000 for transgender patients requesting reassignment surgery, according to Voice of Europe.
The coronavirus pandemic has shed light on how transgender people’s care can be treated as “non-essential.” https://t.co/JNnHt9gMWT
— VICE (@VICE) March 19, 2020
VICE Magazine and Pink News have drawn attention to the plight of transgender individuals who have reportedly suffered a hard time awaiting reassignment surgery or healthcare during the global pandemic.
For transgender and gender non-conforming people, gender-affirming surgeries are life-altering procedures, which, for many, can greatly reduce gender dysphoria and improve their quality of life. But in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, trans communities on Reddit and Twitter are being flooded with reports of postponed and canceled surgeries in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Thailand, and elsewhere, leading to enormous stress and disappointment on top of a global health crisis.
This underscores a common experience amongst trans people seeking medical care or surgery: Research has suggested that gender-affirming surgery, in particular, has a notable and long-term impact on mental health, but far too often, trans people already wait far longer than is safe or healthy for this care. Further delays can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
The funds have been held for USL Tuscany Northwest Health Society which runs 13 hospitals, catering to approximately 1.2 million people.
These funds have been reportedly promised in two installments: one windfall of around 80% of the total amount at the start of the project, and the rest at the end of the term to cover any extraneous costs.
In spite of this, USL Tuscany Northwest was asking for voluntarily donations on their Facebook page “for the purchase of crucial equipment to mange the difficult situation in which all the services are currently operating.”
The coronavirus has inspired several publications to write about Italy’s economic woes as the country remains overwhelmed by the crisis.
Suspension of mortgage repayments were announced, and talk of a nationwide bailout following financial dire straits compounded by the pandemic was discussed.