We welcome the publication of Tranznation, an important new study launched by the
Australian Research Centre of Sex, Health and Society at LaTrobe University. The
report confirms that the oppression of transgendered people runs deep. The findings of
Tranznation are based upon an online study of 253 transgendered Australians and New
Doing it tough. Ninety percent of respondents reported that they had experienced
discrimination, while 20% had been physically attacked. More than half the Tranznation
participants had experienced depression, compared to the national average of 6.8%. The
transgender unemployment rate is 9.1%, more than double the national average of 4.4%.
Urgent changes are needed now to improve the lives of transgendered people living in
Australia and New Zealand.
Battling bureaucracy. A key issue that must be addressed is the right to obtain personal
documents that reflect gender identity. More than half the respondents had tried to
do this and found the road blocked unless they’d had gender reassignment surgery.
Undergoing surgery for gender affirmation purposes must be a question of choice and not
a requirement imposed on transgendered people to get around government rules.
Last year, two Sydney transgendered women fought landmark cases. Stephanie
Imbruglia, who was travelling to Thailand for surgery, unfortunately failed to get an
interim passport matching her gender identity, because government legislation had
scrapped her right to do so. However, on 27 September the Administrative Appeals
Tribunal (AAT) ruled in favour of Grace Abrams, another transgendered traveller,
who was refused a passport matching her gender identity. The AAT found that “she
is a female person and has the identity that she contends. Her inability to provide a
birth certificate from the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages that records her
female gender, in circumstances where the obtaining of the same is prevented by state
legislation, is not a valid ground for rejecting her passport application.”
Three cheers for Stephanie, Grace and every other transgendered freedom fighter. You
have many allies. Tranznation can be found on the Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria web