Urgent action needed to end transgender discrimination

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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

page: www.glhv.org.au/node/398

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