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Trans Day of Remembrance 2020

For our recent annual report, A Year Like No Other, we spoke to a number of community members about the past year and the challenges faced by our LGBTIQ communities. As we recognise Transgender Day of Remembrance 2020, we spoke to one of the community members from our trans and gender diverse communities - Luka.

How do you think the past year has impacted our trans and gender diverse communities?

I think COVID has had a major impact on our trans and gender diverse (TGD) communities. We’ve seen how our most vulnerable are often the worst off during times of crisis. I think this crisis has exposed how the systems we have in place to support and protect people aren’t always there to support them and leave a lot of people falling through the cracks. Prior to COVID, TGD people were already extremely vulnerable to homelessness, unstable employment, family violence, and mental health. Additionally, TGD people already experience discrimination and harassment in healthcare settings, and so the prospect of contracting COVID and having to enter a hospital or another facility would be something that would cause a lot of anxiety and perhaps prevent people from seeking testing or treatment. Various stages of lockdown have also meant that ‘elective’ surgeries such as gender-affirming surgeries were put on hold for a while, and so that would’ve also caused some distress for members of the community.

Connection to community is such an important factor in creating resilience in trans and gender diverse people, and so the isolation caused by restrictions on movement and gatherings has possibly had detrimental effects on our community, especially those who might not be out or may be in less than ideal family or living circumstances.

Connection to community is such an important factor in creating resilience in trans and gender diverse people.


Why do you think days like Transgender Day of Remembrance are important?

I think a sense of community and connection is really important for those of us who are marginalised within society. Days like the Transgender Day of Remembrance allow us to not only remember those who are unfortunately no longer with us, but also allow us to come together in an act of collective mourning.

Things are really scary at the moment, in the US there have been at least 34 trans people who have been murdered this year (https://www.hrc.org/resources/violence-against-the-trans-and-gender-non-conforming-community-in-2020), and I think with the COVID situation at the moment, some cisgender people may now understand what it’s like to fear for your safety and potentially your life every time you leave the house.

Thorne Harbour Health offers a number of services for our trans and gender communities including Equinox Gender Diverse Health Centre and our Pace and Novus peer-led workshops. Plus, our Trans and Gender Diverse in Community Health (TGDiCH) Training Project is helping to create safe access to healthcare for transgender and gender diverse people in Victoria: A TGD-led, evidence-based, state-wide training project by and for health professionals.


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