Supporting growth and sustainability of trans and gender diverse peer support across Victoria. Supported by the Victorian Government.
STATEMENT FROM SON VIVIENNE, CEO OF TRANSGENDER VICTORIA, IN RESPONSE TO TRAGIC CORONIAL INQUEST.
We express our heartfelt condolences to the families of origin, families of choice and friends of the five young transgender women who took their own lives between 2020 and 2021.
We extend our compassion and care to the many trans and gender-diverse people who will be reminded of their own lived experience with suicide and suicidal ideation as they read about the inquest. Leading into a time of year that is not always festive, and often alienated from biological families, it is important that we lean on one another and ask for help when we need it.
The poor mental health, suicidality and the frequency of suicide attempts within trans and gender diverse (TGD) communities has been a focus of the Coronial Inquest into these tragic deaths, and we have submitted that this group of suicides is, at least partially, consequence of the poor mental health so often experienced by TGD people as a result of ongoing stigma and discrimination. We also note that the gender identity of suicide victims is likely under estimated as a result of inconsistent data collection practices. We believe, regardless of whether a person has medically or socially transitioned, that the needs of TGD people with complex mental health issues, need to be addressed with holistic, timely care throughout their gender journey.
The devastating loss of these lives highlights the urgent need for action to address the lack of appropriate mental, physical and social support for trans and gender diverse individuals.
At the inquest, the role of the Police investigation of these suicides, and the relationship between Police and trans and gender diverse communities will be a focus. This relationship has been historically fraught but in recent years it has become worse. We are aware that many transgender and gender diverse people are reluctant to dial 000 to access Police support in cases of serious violence including domestic violence.
TGV calls for urgent, transparent and accountable improvements to practices and processes in policing to create a sense of safety and support for these communities.
While we are pleased that the Coronial inquiry has thus far been respectful and accommodating of trans perspectives, there is still dire need for access to culturally appropriate and sensitive services for trans and gender diverse communities in Victoria including
The numbers of transgender and gender diverse people who are affirming their gender is growing exponentially, and we are facing a crisis resulting from overstretched and/or culturally unsafe services . There is no plan at a state and federal level to address this crisis and there is an urgent need for one.
TGV stresses the necessity of sustainable funding for trans-led organisations that specialise in providing support services, education, and advocacy for the community.
TGD and LGBTQIA+ community organisations play a vital role in addressing the specific needs and challenges faced by transgender and gender diverse people.
TGV urges anyone who needs immediate support to call Switchboard on 1800 729 367 or text 0480 017 246. For ongoing support, visit tgv.org.au to find out about our programs and services.
Son Vivienne (they/them)
CEO, Transgender Victoria