Monday, 23 May 2011

Gender Diversity in the ACT

From the recent report in PDF format, Gender Diversity in the ACT(Australian Capital Territory)
Despite the limitations of the study acknowledged below, this research paints a clear picture of a community struggling with a number of key issues:
  • access to informed, respectfully delivered medical and psychological services
  • inadequate access to appropriate identity documentation and protection from discrimination
  • lack of social connection with family and the broader community
  • over-representation in low income categories despite above average levels of education.
A first step towards addressing these important issues is to prioritise discussion of the hurdles facing SDG (sex and gender diverse) individuals. This conversation, aimed at ‘speaking into existence’ the lived experiences of this largely marginalised community, must occur at every level – from informal social gatherings to local, national and international political and human rights forums.
It should not be a question of whether the needs of this section of the population are ‘significant’ enough to warrant human rights reform, legislative change and adequate medical and psychological support. It should be a question of how we, as a forward-moving nation, can prioritise and implement such reform.
The sample in this survey indicates unemployment levels within the trans community that are more than six times higher than those experienced by the general ACT population.

It is interesting to note the substantially higher educational qualifications of respondents compared to the general population. This is a trend that has been identified in other studies.

It is interesting to note the distribution of income amongst the trans population as compared to the general ACT population, with the SGD population being skewed to either end of the range. It is possible that the absence of trans respondents in the middle income brackets is a direct result of employment-related discrimination, making it very difficult for trans people to access or remain in employment. This would explain the large proportion of respondents in the lower income bracket.
The same kinds of figures have been reported in the USA and UK.

This survey though also looks at another issue:
Relationship status and living arrangements
The survey indicates that compared to the general ACT population, trans people are only half as likely to be in an intimate relationship, and more than twice as likely to live alone.
It seems possible that this is the result of high levels of stigma and discrimination within the community.
For the general population, the majority of social interaction is with a partner, housemates and work colleagues. The survey shows that SGD people are significantly less likely to have social interactions with any of these people. This would indicate that it is likely that SGD people are socially excluded from the bulk of the social interactions that the general population engage in.
Just a bit, yes. Though not in my experience - I'm so introverted I have many of the symptoms of social anxiety disorder, and avoidant personality disorder, only without the actual anxiety. The exclusion is entirely of my own making, and is far less now than it was before transition.

OK, yes, I addressed a political gathering recently, have appeared on national TV on Intersex issues... what you don't realise is that I learnt long ago to compensate. I find it no more uncomfortable to do that than to go to a movie - something I also do once or twice a decade, just to be sociable. Less if I can avoid it.

That might give you an idea of the scope of the problems. They will drive even someone like me to become an Activist.


Major said...

You don't have to feel anxious to have an anxiety disorder (just as you don't have to feel sad to be depressed).

Zoe Brain said...

Looking at it Schizoid personality disorder is even closer. Except for the Disorder. And that my Empathy is strong.

I'm definitely so different from the norm that it's not just within normal variation. I don't fit any of the criteria for someone who's disordered, but I think it needs watching, anyway.

The post isn't about me though, except as part of a group. I see so many with far more social activity than I have, yet who are terribly lonely and so in need of help. I just want to make it all better, you know?

Nikola Kovacs said...


I've written a response on the ABC Drum Website today with regards to Welfare.

I focused on my experience as a Transsexual.

The points you have raised in this article should be made available to Centrelink and other Government agencies that try to patch problem areas instead of looking at what the actual problem is, why it's there and how to stop the problem from happening in the first place, a strategy never adopted by conservative, and I'm sad to say this ALP Government either.

Kind regards ... sorry I couldn't make that rally in Canberra, it would've been nice to meet you!

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