Sex and gender diverse people (that is, transgender, transsexual and other gender diverse people) are among some of the most disadvantaged members of the Victorian community. This segment of the population experiences disproportionately high rates of social isolation, unemployment and suicide compared to many other members of the wider community.
Discrimination and Disadvantage is Widespread
Sex and gender diverse people in Australia have reported experiencing widespread disadvantage and discrimination in their daily lives. The 2007 Tranznation report prepared by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society revealed that of the 253 transgender participants:
- 87.4% had experienced at least one incident of stigma or discrimination on the basis of their gender identity
- 33.33% had been threatened with or were victims of violence.
It has also been estimated that the suicide rate for sex and gender diverse individuals (particularly transgender people) is around 125 times that of the general Australian population (Hyndal, 2009).
‘One Stop Shop’ Required
A recent RMIT study showed that the uninformed and discriminatory attitudes of medical and health professionals are an ongoing and pravalent problem for people in the trans community. All participants in this study agreed that the transgender community would benefit greatly from a transgender specific service in Melbourne.
Gender Centre Needs to Provide a Range of Services
In 2007, Zoe Belle Gender Centre Working Group undertook a community consultation. This consultation included a survey of 82 people from the transgender community in Melbourne. Among the results:
- 80.9 % of people saw it as important that a Gender Centre provide information, advice and referral about gender identity and options for gender transitioning
- Also rated highly as being ‘important’ or ‘very important’ were the provision of on-site counselling (86.3%), legal advice (76.8%), support/drop-in groups (72.6), social events (65.8%), educational materials related to transitioning (58.9%) and employment advice (57.5%).
More needs to be done to improve the physical and psychological welfare and rates of social inclusion of sex and gender diverse people in Victoria. Establishing and funding a community driven and controlled Gender Centre would be a sensitive and proactive response to these issues.
This information is extracted from our fact sheet. For more details (including bibliographical references), click the image below to download the full fact sheet (as a PDF file).
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