Why is there an increasing number of transgender in Belgium?
The gender team at Ghent University Hospital (UZ Gent) last year treated 148 new Belgian transgender patients, an all-time record and 30% more than the previous year, reports De Standaard. According to one expert, the increase may be partly due to the rising number of positive role models in the media.
The number of new transgender patients at UZ Gent continues to rise every year and has nearly doubled in the last four years. Between 2010 and 2012, the hospital treated on average 77 new patients per year seeking to change their genders.
In 2013, the number of patients rose to 113 and last year to 148. In the 1990s, by comparison, UZ Gent performed 17 sex changes a year.
An altered mind-set is at the root of the increase, according to professor Guy T’Sjoen. “The taboo around transgenderism is disappearing, thanks in part to more positive stories in the media.”
T’Sjoen refers to Austrian singer Conchita Wurst, even though she is not transgendered. “But a man who openly dresses as a woman and is successful with it provides hope for many of our patients. A lot of our first-time patients have mentioned the singer.”