ADDED ON: 12/31/2021

In Burkina Faso, trans people self-medicate in ‘dangerous’ transition

12/30/2021 | Thomson Reuters Trust

OUAGADOUGOU, Dec 30 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – It took Aicha Sylla three attempts to get a prescription for hormones in Burkina Faso so she could start to transition gender. In the end, one doctor agreed – if she had sex with him first. “I didn’t have any choice … The other doctors didn’t even listen to me; they refused,” Sylla, 22, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, visibly upset, as she sat in a restaurant in the capital, Ouagadougou. Despite the health risks, she has been self-medicating ever since using the same prescription, a practice that trans rights advocates say is widespread among transgender people in the conservative West African country. A shortage of qualified doctors who are willing to work with trans patients, and fear of seeking medical help due to social stigma, lead many trans people to take hormones without proper supervision, campaigners and community members said. Another trans woman in Ouagadougou said many transgender people feared being “outed” by doctors to family and friends, or on social media.

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