The transgender community; a fight between life and death

For a lot of transgender people, the news of marriage equality possibly being legislated in Australia doesn’t really mean a whole lot. Trans women are still not able to access any women’s refuges in WA, and a recent study done into the mental health of trans people across Australia found that over 50% of trans people had been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives, and 20.9% of participants had experienced suicidal tendencies on at least half the days within the past 2 weeks.

Trans people obviously don’t need to be told these things, but the cis queer community constantly forgets not only that we exist, but that our needs are very different to theirs.

Trans people need:

  • Doctors who actually know what they are talking about in regards to trans issues. GPs, psychologists, psychiatrists & endocrinologists need to be aware of who trans people are, and how to professionally and appropriately treat us. Doctors who regard us as objects of curiousity often don’t have our best interests at heart.
  • Actual proper sexual health education, that is aimed at trans people, especially concerning HIV and AIDS. Trans women are 49 times more likely to live with HIV and AIDS than the general public, with approximately 19.1% trans women living with HIV worldwide. [here’s a great example of sexual health information for trans men, and trans women]
  • Name changes should not cost $170. Neither should endocrinologist appointments cost $350. While there is a rebate to the endocrinologist appointment, you still have to pay the $350 upfront. Reducing the costs of these services would make it easier for trans people to use their correct legal name and access hormones easier [if they choose to use them].
  • Allowing GPs the ability to prescribe hormones. Some GPs do practice prescribing hormones to trans people, but usually you have to go see an endocrinologist and pay their fee. With better knowledge about trans people, GPs could feel more confident in prescribing trans people hormones and reduce the extra financial burden placed on trans people.
  • Removing the Gender Reassignment Board and replacing the process to change gender with something less intrusive. Currently in WA, you must prove before a board [that has at least one trans person on it, one psychiatrist, and one endocrinologist] that you have made “sufficient changes” to legally change your gender. This process is ridiculous – no trans person should have to prove that they are, effectively, “passable enough” as their gender. It should be replaced with a much easier, and faster system that does not cause undue stress to trans people.

We, as trans people, need these services so that we can live safely, and authentically. By not providing adequate care, and adequate services for us to use, we are pushed out onto the streets and suffer violence. So, to us, the fight for marriage equality is of much less importance than the fight we go through every day – to survive.