Jacob WhelanAge 20
17 Mar 2018
Cardiff, Wales (United Kingdom)
Jacob was found hanged in his room at Cardiff University. He was on the waiting list for an NHS gender identity clinic and struggled with the delays involved.
Gender identity clinic ("GIC") provision in the UK is extremely inadequate given the size of the trans population, resulting in long waiting lists (typically 18-24 months, and rising) for even a first appointment. During this period, no in-person support is offered and patients are basically left to cope on their own.
Giving evidence at an inquest into his death held at Pontypridd Coroner's Court on Thursday, Mr Whelan's close friend Joshua Barnett said he had been suffering with numerous medical issues including type one diabetes, coeliac disease, dyspraxia, and dyslexia for much of his life.
Mr Barnett said this, on top of his decision to begin to transition his gender in 2017, had been the source of a tremendous amount of "frustration" for Mr Whelan.
"There were two different aspects to it," Mr Barnett said. "It was the medical side where he was finding it very difficult to wait for the appointments he wanted.
"Because he made the decision to go private he was also paying for it. I think that was what he was using his money for."