As you may have noticed, this website has undergone a redesign. Importantly, the redesign is not simply aesthetic, but is driven by the new content focus: research. Primarily the website now focuses on documenting my own research on gender identity in Australia (specifically in relation to the lives of transgender people). Additionally, the site also highlights:
- new Australian research exploring the lives of transgender people
- links to current Australian surveys on gender identity, transgender people, and gender diversity
- past Australian research on transgender people
- past international research on transgender people, focusing primarily on health/care and parenting
Given there are already so many fantastic Australian websites providing community and support information in regards to gender identity and transgender people specifically, it seemed important to shift the focus of this site so that it can better address a gap, namely to serve as a research portal in Australia.
Feedback always welcome, and I very much appreciate any suggestions for publications to add to the lists of past research, or news of the latest publications or surveys to promote
The purpose of this project is to investigate how the Standards of Care (SOC) guidelines provided by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) impact on the mental health of transgender people. There is concern in the transgender community about certain aspects of the SOC, the pressures it places on transgender people, and the effect it has on their mental health. You are invited to participate in this research project because you have interacted with health professionals for the purposes of exploring or receiving treatment to assist with your gender identity. We wish to survey you on your experiences of and attitudes towards the SOC guidelines in relation to the health care you have received.
Researchers at the University of Western Sydney have recently published their findings on Gender-Related Victimization, Perceived Social Support, and Predictors of Depression Among Transgender Australians. The article can be accessed here.
It is very exciting to finally make available the Gender Identity Australia Report, which documents findings from the two surveys undertaken by myself and Dr Clemence Due in 2012 and 2013. The executive summary is included below, but please read the full report via the link above for detailed findings, and circulate a link to this page widely.
The two surveys reported here, undertaken in 2012 and 2013, highlight both diversity and homogeneity. With regard to diversity, the report celebrates the many differing ways Australian people whose gender identity differs from that expected of their natally assigned sex experience their gender. In so doing, it encourages acknowledgment of this diversity, and recommends that service provision moves towards a model that recognises diversity as its starting place.
With regard to homogeneity, what tended to group our respondents together were the effects of cisgenderism. Specifically, we use the two categories ‘male assigned at birth’ (MAAB) and ‘female assigned at birth’ (FAAB) in many sections of this report to highlight that what often differentiated people’s experiences were health care professionals’ apparent responses to participants’ natally assigned sex. In other words, the diversity between respondents highlighted above tended to disappear when it came to accounting for experiences with healthcare professionals who, it would appear, at times were responding to a presumed distinction between people FAAB but who now identify with a different gender identity, and people MAAB but who now identify with a different gender identity. What seemed to determine experiences with healthcare professionals was in many instances assigned sex, and this, we suggest, is a product of cisgenderism (a claim we expand on at length in the overview).
Of the significant differences we found when comparing the two surveys, people MAAB were older, were more likely to have had surgery, and were more likely to have had more positive experiences with mental health professionals. In comparison, people FAAB reported slightly higher levels of positive mental health than did people MAAB. In general, we found that for those people who desired sex-affirming surgery, having had surgery was related to higher levels of positive mental health. Those who were in relationships, were parents, and/or felt more connected to the general community all reported higher levels of positive mental health.
The report also outlines both negative and positive experiences amongst respondents in relation to mental and physical health professionals, and as such highlights both what works well, and what requires improvement.
Importantly, the findings reported here echo previous similar surveys from the UK, Canada, the US, and of course the first Australian study documented in the TranZnation Report. Together these findings highlight not only the multiple forms of marginalisation experienced (and the subsequent need for better service provision), but also the strengths and resiliencies shown. We can only imagine how improved outcomes would be if cisgenderism both within healthcare and in the broader community did not occur.