New ACON Trans and Gender Diverse Health Advisory Committee Announced

ACON Transgender Day of VisibilityACON, NSW’s leading LGBTI health organisation, has convened a Trans and Gender Diverse (TGD) Community Advisory Group to support the development of ACON’s first TGD Community Health Strategy. The Advisory Group is comprised of individuals from TGD communities and organisations, and ACON staff.

Co-chaired by community representative and long-time advocate Mish Pony, and ACON’s Regional Outreach Development Manager Teddy Cook, the Advisory Group and Strategy will identify and articulate TGD community needs in order to make recommendations for health system reform, set the advocacy agenda for NSW, and outline the actions required to strengthen the inclusion of TGD people within ACON programs and services.

ACON has undertaken an assessment of existing programs and services and is now working with the Advisory Group to develop a set of potential priority issues facing TGD communities and people across NSW. These priority issues will be taken to the community for consultation including through an online survey and a series of consultation meetings in Sydney and select regional locations.

“The Advisory Group has already made clear that some of the most urgent and pressing issues for TGD people include access to patient-centred, depathologised gender affirming healthcare; training for GPs to initiate and manage access to hormones throughout NSW; legal recognition of gender based on self-determination, rather than surgical intervention; and improved access to mental health and peer support for those in need across the state,” said ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill.

“Everyone and everybody has the right to health, and mapping out recommendations to ensure inclusive and appropriate care and support both at ACON and in the broader health system is high on the agenda for the Advisory Group and for ACON’s first TGD Community Health Strategy,” continued Co-Chair Mish Pony. “The Advisory Group is made up of a diversity of TGD people and allies committed to our community’s health and wellbeing. It’s been a really exciting and thorough process.”

ACON have partnered with Communities of Change Consultancy, an external consultant to assist in the development of the Strategy. The membership of the Advisory Group consists of community and organisational representatives, and ACON staff representatives, including:

  • Community Representatives: Brianna Curtis, Darby Carr, Liz Duck-Chong, Emily Symes, Kimberly Olsen, Nina McManus-James, Mish Pony (Co-Chair) and Tait Sanders
  • Organisation Representative: Eloise Brook (The Gender Centre), Katie Wynne (Hunter New England/Hunter Gender Alliance), Peta Friend (Trans Sydney Pride)
  • ACON Representatives: Atari Metcalf, Justin Koonin, Nicolas Parkhill, Teddy Cook (Co-Chair)

“ACON has been a leader in the community response to HIV in NSW since 1985, and our models of peer education and community development are considered not only pioneering but world-class,” said Teddy Cook, Co-Chair and ACON staff representative.

“We are well placed to deliver a Strategy that the community feels centred in and that not only articulates key areas of improvement within ACON’s existing HIV and health programs but also uses everything we have learned over the last 33 years to set an advocacy and reform agenda to make lasting and tangible differences to the lived experience of TGD people.”

“As a trans person and senior manager at ACON, this is a true honour for me to be participating in and I urge my TGD family to actively contribute to the upcoming consultation processes.”

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Image: courtesy of ACON