Lithuania approves procedure for treatment gender identity disorder


Eastern Europe


Pride march in Vilnius, Lithuania. Photo EPA, Valda Kalnina

The Lithuanian Health Minister Arunas Dulkys has given the green light for a proposed procedure for diagnosing and treating gender identity disorders. That was announced by the ministry. The new procedure aims at unifying regulations concerning gender treatments. Up till now, gender treatments could vary from clinic to clinic.

According to the ministry, the new procedure will improve the health services to adults with suspected or diagnosed gender identity disorders (GID), Baltic Times and LRT report.

The procedure prescribes that someone who wants hormone treatment must turn to his or her family doctor or a psychiatrist. One of these specialists has to refer him or her to a special medical centre.

If the patient is approved for treatment, he or she will receive a tailored health plan to meet their personal needs. The insurance will cover the costs of the treatment.

Human rights standards

The procedure also includes guidelines for the roles and responsibilities of family doctors, psychiatrists, endocrinologists, obstetricians, gynaecologists, urologists and other specialists, Baltic Times writes. It also sets out the powers of the different practitioners. The goal of the GID treatment procedure is to achieve a clear and unified provision for health organisations.

Lithuania will meet the international human rights standards with the new procedure, "eliminating violations that have been recorded for more than a decade", the ministry writes.

Until now, there has been no standard procedure for diagnosing and treating GIDs. That led to differences in practices and meant that no legal guidelines for medicines and tests could be prescribed. It was therefore also not possible for a health insurance to cover the costs of the treatments.

In 2007, Lithuania was admonished by the Council of Europe's Court of Human Rights because it did not have a law that regulated surgical sex reassignments. The case was started by a woman who wanted to change her gender, also legally. This was not possible in Lithuania.

In the following years, the country could not pass a law that allowed legal gender change. Thus, the government had to report annually on the progress they made in ensuring the rights of transgender people.

However, earlier this year, the Lithuanian government passed a law that enabled transgender people to change their legal gender without providing proof of surgical gender change. They still do have to show an official diagnosis of a GID.



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