Trans and gender diverse Victorians face significant challenges in the difficult process of questioning, defining and affirming their gender identity. Too often, this is met with stigma and misunderstanding. Access to timely and comprehensive services to support this process is crucial.
The Victorian Government is committed to ensuring trans and gender diverse Victorians receive the health care and supports they need. In recognition of this, the Victorian government has expanded capacity at the two existing major specialist services, the Royal Children's Hospital Gender Clinic (2015-16 State Budget), and the Monash Health Gender Clinic (2016-17 State Budget).
In 2017, the Victorian Government commissioned the Australian Healthcare Associates to review the trans and gender diverse health system and determine the need for better access to appropriate and timely health, wellbeing and support services.
The Development of trans and gender diverse services in Victoria: Final report is based on extensive consultations with the trans and gender diverse community and feedback and comments from a public discussion paper released in February 2018, support and advocacy organisations and health and support service providers, as well as a literature review. This report identified the need for additional capacity, alternative models of care and better pathways to treatment and support.
This report influenced the design of the Trans and Gender Diverse Health Initiative.
Trans and Gender Diverse Health Initiative
In 2018, the Victorian Government announced the investment of $3.4 million to expand the health system's capacity to support and better meet the needs of trans and gender diverse Victorians. Government has commissioned two multidisciplinary clinics (outer metropolitan and regional), and a targeted state-wide health professional training program focused on inclusive and responsive healthcare. This work builds on the significant contribution that the existing trans and gender diverse services and support sector plays in improving the health and wellbeing of trans and gender diverse people.
The clinics at Your Community Health in Melbourne's North and Ballarat Community Health provide primary care and gender affirmation services, including GP services, sexual health, speech therapy, and counselling. Trans and gender diverse peer navigators are a core component of the initiative. The new clinics provide coordinated referrals to Austin Health and other providers should they be required.
Thorne Harbour Health will deliver a training program for healthcare staff across the state to provide inclusive services to the trans and gender diverse community. The training program will be co-designed and delivered with trans and gender diverse people.
As part of this initiative, the Victorian Government is also partnering with Transgender Victoria to develop a peer support program, which will be designed by and delivered with trans and gender diverse community members.
The overall aim of this initiative is to ensure that trans and gender diverse people - and their families - have access to the appropriate healthcare and support they need, when they need it.