A new health strategy released by NSW’s leading LGBTQ health organisation ACON aims to address key health issues and barriers experienced by trans and gender diverse (TGD) people.
Launched at NSW Parliament House as part of Trans Day of Visibility, A Blueprint for Improving the Health & Wellbeing of the Trans & Gender Diverse Community in NSW is a landmark TGD health action plan. It provides a detailed overview of the health issues facing TGD people, and outlines key priority action areas that need to be addressed and implemented to ensure the health and wellbeing of TGD people.
ACON Board Director Atari Metcalf said the Blueprint is an important step to addressing the unique health needs of TGD people in NSW.
“We know that compared to the general population there are significant disparities in the health outcomes of trans and gender diverse people in many areas such as mental health issues, suicidality, self-harm, substance abuse, domestic violence and exclusion. And we know trans and gender diverse people face barriers when accessing effective and appropriate healthcare,” said Metcalf.
“This Blueprint aims to provide a comprehensive and coordinated action plan for governments, healthcare providers, organisations and services on improving the health and well-being of trans and gender diverse people.”
“All members of our communities should be benefiting from the gains we are making in other areas of LGBTQ health. With this Blueprint, we now have a clear mandate from the trans and gender diverse community to progress these priority areas.”
“These action points articulate clearly a forward-looking agenda of work that needs to be done – not just for ACON, but for the health, legal and social sectors in NSW as well,” added Metcalf.
Among the key priority areas outlined in the Blueprint are better access to patient-centred, depathologised gender-affirming health care, and inclusion for TGD services in the health system. It calls for reform in documentation processes to enable TGD people to get official I.D.s without surgical intervention.
It advocates for a more knowledgeable health sector, more training for employers and better inclusion for TGD people in educational and custodial settings. And it champions a strong TGD community advocating for its own needs and priorities.
Mish Pony and Teddy Cook are Co-Chairs of ACON’s TGD Community Health Strategic Plan Advisory Group, which was convened in June 2018 to guide the development of the Blueprint. The Advisory Group comprised of a range of TGD community members and representatives from key TGD community organisations.
“From the outset, the development of the Blueprint has been informed by peer-led and peer-driven responses, engagement and consultation. It was fundamental to the development of this strategy that members of the TGD community outlined the issues pertinent to them,” said Pony.
“The community has now set out clear health priorities and it is now incumbent on government, healthcare providers, NGOs, researchers, healthcare professional associations, educational institutions and other stakeholders to heed the call and further improve TGD inclusion within their policies and services.”
Teddy Cook praised the Advisory Group for their passion and dedication in seeing the Blueprint come to fruition. “We are grateful to the members of the ACON TGD Advisory Group for their leadership and determination in producing a landmark document that will shape how ACON, advocates and the broader health, legal and social systems of NSW respond to the health and wellbeing needs of our TGD people.”
“And we also thank the many community members who participated in the various consultation activities including the online survey, the community meetings in Sydney and regional NSW and the stakeholder interviews – your input and insights have been invaluable throughout this process,” said Cook.
Metcalf added: “In the spirit of Transgender Day of Visibility – a day that’s all about celebrating trans and gender diverse people and strengthening connect, ACON is proud to work with our communities in strengthening the health and wellbeing of TGD people. By working together, we can continue to improve the health outcomes of the TGD community.”
For more information and to view A Blueprint For Improving The Health & Wellbeing of the Trans & Gender Diverse Community in NSW, visit: www.acon.org.au for details.