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Tom’s Story

I have long had the belief since I was very young, and growing up in a country that wasn’t my original home land, that to get through life you shouldn’t make waves or rock the boat and stay below the radar.

Since having children this philosophy has been changed. My wife and children have taught me that there is no shame in being who you are. If you want to dye your hair purple, green, pink or all the colours of the rainbow, you should, without the fear of being judged or bullied or victimised or being outcast. Unless what you are doing is compromising the safety of others and yourself, then you should be who you are with no reservations.

People need to get a real perspective on life. We need to be able to celebrate life in all its diversity not be fearful of the different or unknown.

I have watched as both my children have achieved above and beyond what I thought they were capable. I have watched as my daughter left home and through health issues and minimal employment, made a home for herself and her partner. I have watched my son, in front of a large unknown audience, bare his personal struggles with life as he has been dealt out and come through with his head held high and confident in who he is.

I owe my family a debt of gratitude for opening up my eyes and mind into believing that, no matter who you are, if you are a good person and have sympathy, tolerance and compassion for every other good person out there, you should be able to walk through life without fear.

Life is too short to think that your way of seeing things is the only way. That society says …

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Catherine’s Story

Catherine’s Story

When my daughter was growing up it never crossed my mind that she had any issues with her gender. I have no stories to share about her insisting she was a boy, no stories of my struggles to persuade her to wear girls clothing, no stories of how she was a tomboy or played on the boys soccer team. I have nothing like that to share. My stories are of a beautiful and creative little girl who loved her princess dolls, her My Little Ponies, her coloured hair clips, bows and fairy wings and the silver glitter star she made into a magic wand.

It was never on my radar that my daughter could be transgender nor that one day when she was in her early 20’s our lives would be turned completely upside down. I cannot remember clearly how my daughter told me he was a boy, or whether he used the word transgender. The panic that I felt at that moment thinking there must be something terribly wrong with my child has wiped some of my memories of that day. But I will never forget the anguish I saw in my sons face. I knew whatever he was struggling with, it was massive.

I didn’t know what I should do and I turned to a diagnostic manual which at that time was the DSM IV. I looked up gender and I came away worried that my son could be suffering a disorder and be mentally ill. I saw a psychologist specialising in gender issues and I told her about my son and how he behaved and dressed like a girl. But I also told her about the distress my son felt during puberty, his anxiety and discomfort with his female anatomy and of his breast binding. …

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Lisa’s Story

Lisa’s Story

My name is Lisa, I have two children, the youngest being a 19 year old transman.

I had suspected my child was transgender from an early age, the signs were small but enough to concern me. I became more concerned as my child approached puberty, I had the talk, “You know your body is going to change, are you ok with that?”. I even taped an Oprah show on trans kids and showed my child to see if that sparked any conversation, but no, it didn’t. Puberty was early, around 11 years of age and awkward. By the age of 14, my child came out as lesbian. I remember that conversation well because of my stupid response, “Oh thank goodness. I thought you were going to ask for a penis”. I was thinking being lesbian is easier than being transgender.

1 year later, that stupid statement came back to bite me when my child told me that the issue was indeed gender. Even though I had suspected it for years, I still went into panic, he was about to start year 10 and I felt that transition would be easier after school, if I could just hold him off it would be safer. Not much was said and I sort of just sat on it for about 6 months. I ended up with a very unhappy child. He did all the research online as to what to do and where to go, came to us with the information, and so the journey began.

I was so weighed down by fear in the beginning, it was hard to function. My husband seemed to have a better grip on it than me but his mind didn’t think as much about the negative things that occupied mine, “will my child be

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A Principal’s Story

Written by a primary school principal in Tasmania, 2015:

Ensuring our school is inclusive : The experience of one primary school.

As an inclusive school our student’s transition from male to female has not been a big issue.

Our school values of Community, Acceptance and Respect ensured that she is accepted for who she is and she is included in all aspects of school.  She uses the female toilets, (I was prepared for some opposition to this and have had none at all) and is accepted as a female by all students, staff and their families.

Open and honest communication between school and the family leading up to and during the transition period was essential.   Through reading, watching YouTube clips and documentaries and talking with staff at Working It Out (Our local Safe School’s Coalition service provider) I gained a better understanding of some of the issues our student and our community might face.  So together we brainstormed solutions to likely issues. Not one of those or any other issues have arisen.

On the first day of the year we had a 3 hour Professional Learning session run by staff from Working It Out. Our whole staff attended, (Office, Facility Attendants, Teacher Assistants and Teachers) that includes all part time and full time people.  We paid for part timers to attend if it wasn’t their work day. Some of our regular relief teachers attended in their own time.  It gave everyone the opportunity to receive the same information, ask any questions including sensitive questions, and have a common understanding and a common language.  At the end of the session everyone felt that they would be able to respond to comments or questions from children or adults.

Including a student who is transgender has not been an issue for our school …

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Efro’s Story

Well, it was on my 16th wedding anniversary,  that I decided (with Skyler’s blessing) to inform my parents about their eldest grandchild. So I rang them and when I spoke to my dad he as always wished me a happy “university”… I said it feels like I have been in university lately as I am learning something new everyday..

We had a laugh then I asked to speak to my mum, because telling her is going to be so much easier than telling my old fashion father who came to Australia from Cyprus when he was 21 years old.

So with my mum on the phone, and tell her she better sit down, and then I begin to explain about her eldest grandchild, my son Nathan who is 15 and as everyone in our family has known has been battling with anxiety and depression on and off for the past 5 years, which has lead to a sleep disorder and not be able to attend mainstream school for the past 2 years. Seeing his psychology regularly, we have been through the anger, smashing of windows, knives pointed at us, suicidal thoughts or thoughts of killing everyone else, it has been a rough few years but lately it seems it has calmed a bit with lots of help from his psychologist.

A few months ago, (October 2014) Nathan wanted to see his psychologist without me which I thought was great showing he is growing up dealing with his psychologist on his own etc. anyway my parents and family knew all this, what my mum didn’t know was that a month ago, after confiding in his psychologist Nathan informed me that he also felt like a girl, that he is transgender, and wants to be able to dress like one, he then …

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Changing Medicare/Centrelink personal details

Information regards changes to documentation

Medicare (and also Centrelink) – change of personal details (incl. gender) policy:
https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/updating-your-personal-details-medicare-card
Key points:
You need to go into your local medicare/centrelink office in person with the documents required by them (a letter from a qualified doctor or psychologist, or alternative documentation).
The person in the office will forward them to the relevant department for actioning.
The person in the office may be unaware of the policy of medicare/centrelink – it may be worth printing out the policy and taking it in to the office with you. If you encounter difficulties you can call the Dept of Human Services Complaints line on 1800 132 468.
The policy states that:
To notify us of a change of gender you need to provide one of the following documents:

  • a statement from a registered medical practitioner or psychologist
  • a valid Australian Government travel document, such as a passport, that specifies your gender
  • an amended state or territory birth certificate that specifies your gender
  • a state or territory Gender Recognition Certificate or Recognised Details Certificate showin a state or territory Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages has accepted your change in gender’
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RCH News: New clinical pathway for trans and gender diverse children

From the Gender Clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne regards changes to their clinical pathways:

The RCH Gender Service has been able to expand its clinical services following the generous grant provided by the Victorian State Government in 2015. We have recruited and trained our new paediatricians, child psychiatrists and psychologists and the clinics are now running at full capacity.

Earlier this year, we sought feedback from parents and young people about our service and how we could improve it. We are greatly appreciative of the families who contributed to this and the results from these surveys will be published in time. In the meantime, we have modified our intake and assessment procedures to respond to some of the feedback. We are hoping that the new changes will significantly reduce the waiting list for new referrals and provide more support for parents and families whilst waiting to see the medical staff.

For the referrals that come in through the new system the main changes are:

  • Children and adolescents over 8 years of age and their parents/carers will have an appointment within 3 months of referral to see both our Clinical Nurse Consultant and one of our psychologists. This 90 minute appointment is designed to assess the needs of the young person and their parents/carers and to link them in with all the available supports both at RCH and in the community (Safe Schools Coalition, Minus18, Ygender, TGV, GASP, Gateway Health, GHFP, PGDC and Transcend, headspace Frankston etc)
  • Assessments for those living in regional and rural areas can be done via RCH Telehealth.
  • Following this initial appointment, parents will be offered a place in a group parent support session facilitated by the psychologist and other members of our team.
  • Families already on the waiting list will be offered a place
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Navigating the Stage 2 Process – A Legal Toolkit for Parents of Transgender Children

This toolkit is the work of Dr Fiona Kelly, from LaTrobe University.

It’s available to read in full below – and hard copies can be found at various medical and counselling facilities. A PDF copy can be found here on the Transcend Website

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New South Australian Practitioner list

Please click on the link below for a new list of practitioners in South Australia (August 2016)

Welcome to Trans Health SA!

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‘Explainer-what treatment do young children receive for gender dysphoria and is it irreversible?’

This article, from Dr Fiona Kelly who researched and wrote the Legal Toolkit for Navigating the Stage 2 Cross Hormone process, was recently published by The Conversation (Sept 2nd 2016) and SBS online (5th September 2016) in response to recent media articles relating to treatment of young children:

“Preschooler’s sex swap at age four”, read the Daily Telegraph’s headline on Thursday, sparking intense debate in the media over how to handle cases of young children experiencing gender dysphoria.

The story detailed the case of a pre-schooler who is transitioning to another gender.

But the fact is that no four-year-olds in Australia are undergoing any irreversible treatment. At that age, treatment for gender dysphoria consists mainly of counselling. No other medical treatment will occur until the child nears puberty.

What is gender dysphoria?

Diagnosis of gender dysphoria is governed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

To receive a diagnosis, a person must express a strong and persistent cross-gender identification for more than six months, a persistent discomfort with his or her sex or sense of inappropriateness in the gender role of that sex, and the experience must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Medical treatment for gender dysphoria is regulated by international consensus guidelines published by the Endocrine Society of the United States and endorsed in Australia by the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group.

Treatment is also informed by the clinical guidelines contained within the Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People, produced by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and drawing on the best available science and expert professional consensus.

The WPATH Standards were adopted by the Australian and New Zealand Professional Association for Transgender Health and guide clinical practice in …

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