Trans Awareness Week (13-19 November) aims to help raise the visibility of *trans and gender diverse people and address the issues people may face.
During this week, trans and gender diverse people and their allies take action to bring the community together, including by:
- educating the public about who trans and gender diverse people are.
- sharing stories and experiences, and
- advancing advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the trans community.
Discrimination, even if unintended, or welcoming inclusive practise, can also happen in disability services.
As part of the recently created “Advocacy at the Intersections” training package for the disability advocacy sector, co-designed by trans and gender diverse and other LGBTIQA+ people with disabilities, trans advocates Erin and Liam had this to say about why it was important that disability services were inclusive of trans and gender diverse people. They offered some examples of what this might look like and described what it felt like when services ‘got it right’. They said:
“It is important for service providers to be informed about LGBTIQA+ identities and issues because we are going to be your clients, and if we are your clients, it’s your job to have enough information to help us in a meaningful way.”
“Some examples of when a service provider gets it right are…having chosen names and pronouns fields on forms, or having gender neutral accessible bathrooms.”
“When a service provider gets things right, it feels so good, it feels like I’m being treated equally, it feels like things are normal, it feels like the way things should be all the time….It’s ….a relaxing of, oh, I’m being cared for, just like anyone else.”
Yooralla customer Jess had this to say “The most important thing staff can do is respect my name and pronouns** and support me like any other person”.
Support for people who are trans and gender diverse
Everyone has the right to explore and understand their own sexuality and gender identity, including to connect with their chosen communities, events and services, and access spaces that are welcoming and affirming.
Sometimes people with disability may also need support to do this, as well as to self-advocate or to take action if they are being discriminated against.
There are many organisations and resources out there to either help people learn about LGBTIQA+ identities, communities and issues.
Just a few include:
- Switchboard Support and referral service for LGBTIQA+ Victorians www.switchboard.org.au,
- Victoria Advocacy and support for trans and gender diverse people www.transgendervictoria.com
- Drummond St Queerspace www.queerspace.org.au
If you are a person with a disability Yooralla supports and would like to be in touch about anything related to LGBTIQA+, please call reception on 9666 4500 and ask for the Customer Rights and Empowerment (CRE) team or email CRE@yooralla.com.au.
*Trans and gender diverse (T&GD) is an umbrella term used to describe anyone whose gender identity or expression is different from that which was assigned at birth or expected of them by society.
Jax Brown, Trans and Gender Diverse awareness training, Yooralla, October 2021.
**Pronouns are the words we use to refer to someone when not using their name. Common pronouns are she/her/hers, and he/him/his. Some people may also use They/them/their, or others. It’s important to ask before assuming and to follow people’s lead.
Transgender Victoria (2018) Terminology Glossary.