PODCAST: The Broken Rainbow: Transwomen with no safe healthcare -EP2

In the second episode of The Broken Rainbow, we listen to activists are calling for health authorities to explore other safer medication to help in the transition of transwomen.

Graphic: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A drug administered for hormone replacement therapy is being scrutinised with some transwomen expressing concern over its toxic side effects.

Premarin is primarily used to treat menopausal women.

In the second episode of The Broken Rainbow, we listen to activists are calling for health authorities to explore other safer medication to help in the transition of transwomen.

EPISODE 2: TRANSWOMEN WITH NO SAFE HEALTHCARE

Kattia McWhite is a trans activist who started a petition in 2018 against the prescription of Premarin as a hormone replacement therapy for transwomen at many public healthcare facilities.

She said it was important that the Health Department stops dispensing the drug: “The reason being brain fog, strokes and things like that. So, we’ve been fighting for Premarin to be taken off the market because it is mainly the government hospitals that are distributing it and it shouldn’t be distributed to a transgender female as it is a dangerous drug. This drug is not meant to be used over a long-term period.”

Premarin is distilled from the urine of pregnant horses and as medical doctor and trans activist Dr Anastacia Tomson explains, the drug like others, used in South Africa’s public health system for transgender care are meant for off-label usage.

“This means that these medications are registered for indications other than gender-affirming care. So, example. We use preparation that normally clinical practices would give to cisgender women who are post-menopausal as hormone replacement. These are the same medications we would use for transwomen, but they aren’t necessarily registered by the manufacturers for this indication and the difficulty with this is that it means that these medications are often not available on formularies and guidelines, and if they are, they are not as widely as accepted and this often stems from the fact that these manufacturers haven’t performed studies or issued funding into performing studies in order to see how these medications work in people who are transgender.”

Activists say other adverse effects Premarin presents include unusual bleeding, memory loss and swelling.

EPISODE 1: HATED FOR BEING LESBIAN

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