For immediate release
Exposing one of South Africa’s “trusted” transgender health care expects, Dr. Franco Colin.
On the 30th of October TIA received an e-mail from one of our constituents based in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The constituent who had been diagnosed by Dr. Colin was refused a letter confirming that he had undergone gender reassignment therapy. The letter is one of the requirements for anyone who wishes to change their sex description on their Identity document. An e-mail had been sent to the constituent stating:
“Unfortunately Doctor Colin cannot give you this letter as your process of gender reassignment is not completed yet. He can only do this after all the hormone therapy and surgery”
TIA wrote an e-mail to Dr. Colin’s office arguing that it is unconstitutional and insulting to refuse a patient the letter with an excuse that the gender reassignment process is not completed yet. It is clear that Dr. Colin does not have a complete understanding of sex alteration laws within the country or he ignores them. Act 49 of 2003 states:
“Any person whose sexual characteristics have been altered by surgical or medical treatment or by evolvement through natural development resulting in gender reassignment, or any person who is intersex may apply to the Director-General of the National Department of Home Affairs for the alteration of the sex description on his or her birth register”.
TIA also argued that it is an individual’s decision to define what a “complete” gender reassignment process means to them. It is unethical for a doctor to enforce what their view of “complete’ means on an individual.
After the e-mail sent to Dr. Colin’s office, the constituent received his letter. The letter was well written but insulting as it continuously addressed the female to male transsexual as “she”, even though it was clear from the letter that it was for an FTM patient. TIA asked how the Department of Home Affairs would acknowledge the gender of the constituent if his own doctor does not acknowledge it.
Dr. Colin is known as a psychiatrist who discriminated against transgender patients who are not working, claiming that this “lifestyle” is expensive and that it is for people with a high income. Most black transgender individuals have been discouraged to transition through Steve Biko Academic Hospital as Dr. Colin was previously used as gate keeper for patients who wished to transition through that hospital.
“It is disappointing to learn that a highly worshipped transgender expect would do these kinds of mistakes where he does not acknowledge correct gender pronouns and is clueless of Act 49. Dr. Colin should be ashamed of his title of being a well-known transgender expect” says Tebogo Nkoana, Director at TIA
“Medical doctors should not only be concerned with the health needs of a person, but also their human rights. What is the point of assisting a person to medically transition yet refuse to acknowledge their gender identity? The state of transgender health care within the country seriously needs to be re-evaluated” says Nthabiseng Mokoena, advocacy coordinator at TIA.
TIA urges Dr. Colin to improve his approach to transgender medical and social needs. He also needs to use updated standards of care for his patients.
For more information:
Nthabiseng Mokoena (Advocacy Coordinator)
Tebogo Nkoana (director)