New Australian transgender health action group hopes to reverse dismal conditions

(Photo: TheConversation.edu.au)

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — On the heels of a recent Australian study indicating poor health conditions for many trans people, a newly formed group last week held their first meeting hoping to reverse these dismal conditions.

Based in Queensland, the Australian Trans Health Action Group hopes to convince the Australian government to cover the cost of SRS (sex reassignment surgery) and other treatments. They hope to educate people on SRS — erasing the misconception about it being “cosmetic surgery”.

Indeed, for many trans people, the surgery is paramount — their well-being, and lives are often dependent on it.

Spokesperson Melody Moore: “Urgent action is needed because there are trans people in Australia living with extremely high levels of anxiety and depression who are driven by the despair and desperation of not being able to get funding to access surgical and medical treatments, and often end up harming themselves or turning to suicide.”

Contact the Australian Trans Health Action Group at info@transcairns.org

More:  Trans action group takes shape | Star Online.

My recent post on this topic: http://lexiecannes.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/new-australian-lgbt-research-report-shows-transgender-people-worst-off/

(Photo: TheConversation.edu.au)

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Categories: Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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13 replies

  1. Thanks Lexie, be sure to add me as a friend on Facebook if you would like to stay informed on future developments. Thank you for reporting on this important issue.

  2. Lexie, It is unfortunate that you have chosen to post this without looking into the individuals behind this push. Whilst many of us in Australia are pushing an informed consent approach based on a complete depathologisation of identity there are those that seek to promote pathologisation/surgical/DSM/ICD/SOC approach to dealing with trans*people. The reality is when you look closely at their press release titled “Transsexual. transgender …” they are in essence promoting a separatist model and denying the needs of the bulk of the Trans*, Intersex and Gender Diverse Communities. This is not an appropriate approach today and needs to be discouraged at all opportunities.

    • Hi Jade, thanks for posting.

      If you feel I’ve misrepresented something, feel free to make your case right here in the comments sections for readers to evaluate and for the organization to respond to.

      If you can provide specific examples, that would help readers understand your claim.

      At this point I don’t really see how urging the Australian government to cover SRS would marginalize those that don’t want it.

  3. Lexie, the key problem is that gaining universal health coverage of only SRS is only a small part of what is required. Not to mention that there is only one surgeon currently providing SRS in Australia and he is connected to the Monash Clinic in Victoria. He will not operate without their say so. So there is no surgical capacity at this point in time.

    Monash imposes a very tough gatekeeper based assessment that takes the SOC to a new low. People have been lead on for years and then finally denied their surgeries for very spurious reasons including you will never pass as a woman or your too old, resulting in a number of suicides. So the reality is most will still go overseas, mainly to Thailand. Overseas surgeries will never be funded under our Universal Health care system as it would cost the system hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars because if it grants it for one type of surgery it will have to allow it for all surgeries covered by the system that are performed overseas.

    There are other medical treatments that are equally as important to TIGV people ranging from hair transplants, hair removal, feminisation and masculinisation surgeries etc.

    Far better to be advocating for equal human rights for all including TIGV people and using this to inform our demands not only for assistance with SRS preferably by adopting the Danish model but also an end to discrimination, better access to employment, education to reduce transphobia.

    Unfortunately, there is a fixation with many behind this group for SRS and that to be a ‘true’ transsexual you must either have had or desire to have SRS and that you do not identify under the Trans*/Transgender umbrella… it is also very MtF centric.

    Therefore it marginalises most FtMs as well Trans*people who are not able to have SRS or do feel the need and it reinforces the pathologisation of TIGV.

  4. Sorry last sentence should be: Therefore it marginalises most FtMs as well as Trans*people who are not able to have SRS or do not feel the need to and it reinforces the pathologisation of TIGV.

  5. My group has no interest in dealing with political issues with the classification of transsexualism in the DSM even though we do object to it. That issue has plenty of momentum already and it is not on my group’s agenda.

    Jade won’t give up and is only flogging a dead horse because we are not interested in these types of issues.

    DRAFT ONLY – currently under development

    TransCare – Australia (QLD) has the sole objective of improving the heath and well being of transsexual, transgender & gender diverse people in Queensland and Australia. Our aims are:

    1. to build a national media campaign that will promote more education and awareness to the general public about health & well being of trans people.
    2. to identify key issues that affect the health & well being of the trans community, such as anxiety & depression, self harm, genital mutilation & suicide, and to explore the best options to address these health issues.
    3. to collect & share information about trans health & well being to support our sister groups in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia & the Northern Territory. Our aim to establish groups in all states of Australia.
    4. to build better relationships & understanding between the trans community & service providers such as doctors, psychologists, psychiatrist & other NGOs.
    5. to keep lobbying federal and state governments for reforms to healthcare systems that can satisfactorily address important health issues as per the WPATH Standards of Care & the Human Rights Commission recommendations
    6. to appoint the most effective spokespeople to act for the trans community to act on our behalf with both state and federal government officials & the media.
    .

  6. Trans Care is about to be torn apart Melody … I hope you cope better than you did when you we kicked out of the c=Cairns Trans Group!

  7. What I should make clear is that you Melody tried to bring me into this horrible group when I had resisted any involvement or comment. You awakened a sleeping giant …someone who did not really want to get involved.. You simply do not understand the way you destroy the things that you hold dear to your…I feel for you but I know that i cannot change your views … go forth and f*** your world!

  8. Geez, these slanderous and defamatory comments by Jade Wren are not even worthy of this response,

    Jade, I don;t know where you stop to think of this, but did you ever realise that your personal threats and attacks towards me and other people who support TransCare – Australia undermine any legitimacy in your agenda?

    Yes I sided with the TS separatist immediately after leaving Trans Menace Australia.a couple of months ago because members of your group tried to bully me into adopting your ideologies. But I also soon left because there was no middle ground to be found in those groups either.

    Since then I have more allies because your group won’t respect those who disagree with your group’s ideologies. Trans Menance Australia appears to primary focused on vandalising web pages and launching smeer campaigns against service providers such as this one when it is all the hope that some people have right now.

    We know things have to be fixed to address the trans communities needs but we are focused on this as health & human rights issue and not a political issue about the classification of Gender Identity Disorder in the DSM. Many other groups are focused on those types of reforms already

    And Jade you are very misinformed- I STILL RUN A SUPPORT GROUP in Cairns but without all the distractions, melodramatics and interpersonal politics between local members of the who may or may not belong to Trans Menace Australia, And without any of the scrutiny and discrimination from the “true transsexual separatists” in the community.

    So here are the facts…

    First of all your sources of information were already at loggerheads with other transsexuals here long before I stepped into the local trans community.

    I stood up for all of these people in an effort to bring peace to this conflict, but the transsexual community did not want to be involved with others who were not in transition because of internalised transphobia.

    Others have attempted to unite the trans community of cairns for the past 15 years but have always failed because of an unwillingness to work together and those who do try usually end up caught up in the crossfire because they are right in the middle trying to find that middle ground.

    What you and some of your friends may not realise is that I have always been involved at grass roots level offering personal mentoring and support a number of transsexual, transgender & gender diverse people, but not just with those in Cairns & but all over Australia with health & well being issues.

    The way the group works now has changed there is no involvement with others in the community unless they really want that type of social support because there are many who don’t wish to be involved because of the interpersonal politics that usually comes with larger groups and insist on anonymity from others in the community who might try and tear them down.

    My best success story so far is with one Trans woman who was known to the local group for 3 years before I was ever involved here and others had failed to help her overcome her issues and come out. The former group coordinator told me that she was going to kick her out of the group because she hadn’t come out yet.

    So I worked closely with with this person intensely over 2 weeks and within 2 months of working on new approaches with her psychologist she was able to overcome those hurdles. She has now been full-time for about 5 months and is now very grateful for my suggestive advice.

    I am currently mentoring 6 people who identify as MtFs and a person who might be FtM and 2 other gender diverse people from Cairns. One MtF is now staying at my place for short while because she wants my help to restart her transition in a safe place.

    I learnt a very valuable lesson there thanks to some people from Trans Menace Australia who seek to tear down and destroy those willing to stand up and really lay everything on the line for others. So that is some nice work Jade. :)

  9. Melody It is time you stop making unfounded personal allegations. Secondly, TMA has always had a clear position that it is for all Trans*, Intersex and Gender Diverse people who wish to be active in fighting for our equal human rights and an end to all phobias. What you and others we unwilling to accept was the position that Trans* includes transsexuals who wanted or had had surgery, transsexuals who did not want or could not have surgery, cross dressers and many more. It is quite clear that the separatists are only interested in solving the medical issues for Transsexuals who want surgery. So please be honest about your objectives.

    There was no bullying as you imply rather you and others were insistent that TMA should change its clearly stated position which as you are aware we [Indi, myself and others] were never going to consider. We were subjected to constant attacks both online and offline by some from the separatist view accusing us of all sorts of things and even to the point of trying deny our rights to identify as Transsexual if we stayed under the Trans* umbrella. Identity politics has derailed the community so many times this is why TMA adopted a broad over arching collective to work towards its key objective.

    In ignoring or not addressing the issue of the continued pathologisation within your group you are doing significant damage and disservice to those in the community who are trying to remove the stigma for Trans* people from being classified as mental ill and trying to achieve better care outcomes across Australia. Many more Trans*people are in serious difficulty with accessing appropriate hormones and health services to help them commence and progress their transition than are waiting for SRS. Yes access to surgery is important but this Government and the next are simply not going to change the current approach under Medicare. And even if in the very unlikely case they did it will take years to get the surgeons in Australia able to satisfactorily perform such procedures. Also if you look at the current Medicare Schedules the Medicare rebates for Vaginoplasty etc for the treatment of Intersex conditions are woefully inadequate and would still leave a huge gap to be paid by the individual.

    Finally, I also work with others in difficulty and have personally worked with two girls over the last 3 months at the point of suicide or being scheduled/released including taking them into my home for extended periods.

  10. Melody you have really bitten off more then you can chew this time. The worst part is its all ego based. Transcare reeks of transsexual separatism and I and many others will not support it what so ever. This is really all about your ego.

  11. Indi, you are way off with our agenda about TransCare reeking of “transsexual separatism”. The way we are approaching this will allow everyone to have a voice about their healthcare issues in Australia – including you!!!!!!!

    Rome wasn’t built in a day and working with a very fragmented and splintered community who only focuses on their own agendas is extremely difficult to achieve.

    Many people who are closer to the core do understand our agenda, and some of these people also include service providers are applauding me for my initiatives while they are going to all face scrutiny in our research into health care services in Australia through a National Trans Health & Well-being survey which will be released in the near future by my group.

    One thing is apparently obvious, Queensland seems to have a better model for healthcare which also seems to be moving more towards the “informed consent” model many people in your groups are also looking for.

    We are also inclusive of all groups in the trans community, but we are also aware of the issues with SRS in Australia and those issues also need to be addressed with a lot of urgency because it directly relates to other medical problems and mental health issues that can lead to self harm, genital mutilation or suicide.

    Since the Jessica Johnson case on the 3rd of April 2012, the same very day the La Trobe University report came out, has got the community talking about their health & well being issues and many people are reporting struggling, especially when it comes to finding funding & availability for SRS.

    TransCare – Australia refuses to engage in the radical style of politics I have seen by members of Trans Menace Australia about current services because it could destroy the hopes & lives of others who’s only chance is to rely on what little or poor services there is in Australia.

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