Supporting growth and sustainability of trans and gender diverse peer support across Victoria. Supported by the Victorian Government.
On Saturday 18 March, the City of Melbourne was shown the links between neo-Nazi groups and anti-trans agitators. The Australian community, media and politicians can now see what we in the trans community have experienced for some years and have been trying, in vain, to warn about. The global anti-trans (aka “Gender Critical”) movement is a radicalising movement and is a threat to trans and gender diverse (TGD) people, organisations and healthcare providers, and human rights.
On a personal level, and in our bodies, we know how devastating the hate-speech of transphobes can be, and at times it feels overwhelming. It can impact our wellbeing not just on the day, but for weeks and months afterwards. When we’re down, the bad words echo in our heads more loudly and often than words of affirmation and support. This vilification impacts our mental health. That’s why TGV’s primary purpose is improving trans and gender diverse wellbeing.
Yesterday was consequently also a significant day for trans and gender diverse community connection and care.
‘The Legacy of Trans Resilience’ was an intervention designed to build community connections while countering bigotry and hatred. While across town TERFS and neo-Nazis platformed hate that reinforces sex-assigned binary gender, we heard from Trans Elders who have thrived in the face of decades of discrimination and exclusion.
We gathered as a community to watch a live panel screening of Trans Elders, featuring harrowing and hilarious stories of survival from Mama Latoya Hoeg, Georgie Yovanovic, Christina Do Sacramento (Miss Portugal) & Lily Chang. The event was recorded as part of Trans Week of Awareness in 2022, hosted by Sasja Sydek of Trans Sisters United, in partnership with Transgender Victoria.
It feels like we’re not going to run out of haters anytime soon, so it’s important not only to be allies across our intersections, recognising our experiences of trauma, but to pause and celebrate that we’re still here. Gender diversity existed before colonization and in a variety of forms across cultures, throughout history — and we continue, despite the best efforts of people who tell us we don’t exist or shouldn’t exist.
With clashes on Parliament House steps this weekend we’re reminded of other historical clashes over recognition of embodied identity in so-called Australia. There is a through-line between stigmatised experiences of race, gender, class etc. — and none of us can be wholly liberated and happy in our own skins until all of us are.
TGV will continue to host events that focus on care and connection as resistance to hate. And for those who wish to shield themselves from triggering and newly traumatising street violence — we will offer alternative safe havens.
Even so, this will never be enough. We cannot guarantee safety anywhere.
We are working with other trans led orgs to offer ongoing support for our community members. We have signed on to national and state-based statements calling for interventions that extend anti-vilification laws, and address inappropriate and ineffective policing of violence and hate.
We support this Melbourne Activist Legal Network statement regarding the failure of police to act in ways that are compatible with human rights.
If you are feeling shocked and emotionally battered by the events of this weekend, please take a moment to care for yourself and those you love. A message from a family member or friend can make the world of difference, especially when the world is an angry and violent place.
If you’re a community member and want to connect with other people like you, follow our socials for news on peer-support events and groups. You might even like to get involved as a volunteer or member so you’re surrounded by folks who love who you are.
If you’re an ally you might consider donating to support programs like our upcoming Trans Day of Visibility, when we’ll connect trans and gender diverse community members with services, including a change of ID workshop and clothes swap, and celebrate all of the wonderful ways of being gender-diverse.
If you need support, LGBTQIA+ support services are here for you.
Rainbow Door is a free specialist helpline providing information, support and referral. The service is proudly run by Switchboard Victoria and you can get support via phone, text or email 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. every day. Phone 1800 729 367, text 0480 017 246 or webchat at rainbowdoor.org.au
Surely, we can agree that whatever our personal or political beliefs, we share a human desire for mutual respect?
Anti-vilification laws are one way to protect humanity against violence, hate and bigoted ideologies that hurt all people, but especially those at the intersections of stigmatised gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, faith, class and disability.
Transgender Victoria and Transcend believe in standing for common decency and compassion and we call upon state and federal governments to strengthen legal protections against hate.