Victoria to see increase in trans and gender diverse programs for youth
Victoria is set to see an increase in youth-led initiatives for trans and gender diverse young people (TGD).
Transgender Victoria in partnership with YGender successfully acquired a Healthy Equal Youth Grant from the Department of Health to develop a new project about allyship and building positive relationships.
‘What makes an Ally?’ will be a fresh and innovative project drawing upon the expertise of young people to inform and educate non trans people on how to be better allies. The project will also seek to improve the health and well being of TGD young people.
TGD young people are more likely to experience poor mental health outcomes and are at an alarmingly higher risk of suicide compared to their non trans counterparts. Private Lives 2, a 2012 national study on the health of 3,835 GLBT people, found that almost half of the young participants reported having self-harmed and 28 percent having attempted suicide. This highlights a need to implement programs that aim to strengthen the support systems around TGD young people, including friendship, relationship and allyship.
President of Transgender Victoria, Grace Lee, said:
“This exciting project will equip young people with tools and confidence to develop community partnerships which are applicable to all areas of life.”
Young people are experts on matters that impact them and they understand what type of messages reach out to them best and influence their behaviours. The project seeks to credit young people for their work and acknowledge the value of their role in keeping a community healthy and connected, which is often underrated.
Grace Lee reiterates that, “the really great thing about this project is that it is driven by trans and gender diverse young people, they will own the outcomes and I believe that will be one of the keys to success.”
The project will also work to foster positive relationship building between TGD young people and their allies and potential allies. Everyone is a potential ally, most people are capable of empathy and we are at an interesting time where mainstream youth organisations are keen to be active allies to population groups who experience disproportionate levels of harassment, abuse and discrimination.
Canon O’Saurus, a member of YGender, is excited about the project and explains it in more detail.
“For us this is not just another project, it is a historic moment in Victoria's history. It not only sets out to support the welfare of young people in allyship, it symbolises the recognition of the trans and gender diverse population as a population in it's own right. One that faces unique social and health challenges and one that is only just beginning to get the recognition it deserves.”
YGender in collaboration with the Zoe Belle Gender Centre are also planning a regional tour to coincide with the project to develop the networks of TGD young people across Victoria.
Earlier this month, Transgender Victoria and YGender launched the beginning of ‘What makes an Ally?’ at Wyndham City Council, with the support of over 100 community members, representatives of local government, state government, health service providers and students of several local schools.
It was launched alongside the new flexible uniform policy campaign by Safe Schools Coalition Victoria, ‘Gender is Not Uniform’ followed by a raising of the Transgender flag by Minister for Health David Davis and Mayor Bob Fairclough.