Supporting growth and sustainability of trans and gender diverse peer support across Victoria. Supported by the Victorian Government.
It seems that there is rarely a time that we don’t begin a news update with ‘it’s been a big couple of weeks at TGV’.
In this ‘episode’ we introduce three new staff members, and reflect back upon a few tumultuous weeks leading up to Trans Day of Visibility last Friday.
Let’s first acknowledge the collective trauma that trans and queer communities and their allies have been experiencing since the anti-trans protests of Saturday the 18th March. When TERFS and neo-Nazis conspire, hate prevails and TGV has been heavily involved in a variety of behind the scenes responses and national advocacy. We have worked with a number of organisations to support and amplify the initial observations made by MALS, co-signed a multicultural, multifaith and women’s org condemnation of the protest here, and will continue to advocate fiercely for improvements to police services for TGD communities.
Our intervention in this toxic discourse, a community event focussed on TGD community connection and care, was a great success. Thank you to the trans elders who shared their stories of survival, both harrowing and hilarious, at ‘The Legacy of Trans Resilience’.
Fortunately, prior to this disruption to our status quo and collective wellbeing, our TGV staff team were already well underway with planning our annual TDOV event.
This year we hosted a community-connection event at Fitzroy Town Hall, supported by Yarra Libraries and The Ewing Trust. We gathered a wide collection of TGD led service providers:
Alongside TDG service provides were many of our fabulous Trans Makers including:
Community members engaged enthusiastically in our first clothing swap and our pilot Change of ID workshops, delivered by TGV team member Claire Proctor.
Young people and their families and allies learned about our upcoming peer-support groups (as part of Wrap Around) while colouring in and playing Connect 4.
In the evening, we held a special trans community care session to debrief for those who chose to attend the Trans Day of Visibility march and for anyone who had been affected by the recent rise in anti-trans events. Elektra (@elektra_darling) facilitated a somatic mindfulness activity that beautifully brought the eventful day to a close and was well received by many of the attendees.
Our Training & Development Manager Kathi said:
‘I found it really wonderful to be able to be a part of our TDoV event, where I could be involved in community rather than my usual outwards interactions in the training work.’
Our Youth Lead Elle said:
‘Over the last few weeks we have seen many confronting and distressing things, and for many Trans and Gender Diverse people there is a heightened sense of anxiety and psychological distress. Having a space that allows for young TGD people and their family to sit down and either distract themselves with a range of activities, or talk about their needs with a trained facilitator, or even connect with each other was absolutely vital during Trans Day of Visibility. Although the protest on the steps of Parliament happened during the event, there were some families who attended the TGV TDoV Youth Space and ended up creating signs that they intended to carry, and there were some families and young TGD people who disclosed their anxiety of attending such an event, and their comfort in having an alternate space that they felt safer in.’
Our Peer Support Program Manger, Stevye said:
‘For many it’s clear now more than ever why peer support is important and needed, and we’ve had lots of folks reaching out and looking for connection and community. We’re thrilled that so many of our internal peer support programs are launching soon (our first Somatic Workshop Series session is April 23rd, and our Employment and Resilience Skills program begins April 17th), and that the programs funded through our Trans Peer Support Packages are already in motion providing vital support services. On a personal note, the care and kindness extended to me by community these last few weeks has been deeply healing and appreciated. I hope the programs TGV is able to offer over the next few months will provide that same healing and community connection for you.’
All in all, TDOV provided us with an opportunity to make ourselves visible to one another, at a time when it felt uncomfortable or downright unsafe to be visible in public.
More recently, we were proud to witness a heroine of trans communities, Transcend Australia ambassador and Neighbours star, Georgie Stone, speaking in Canberra at the National Press Club. Georgie is the youngest woman ever (at 22) to speak and only the second trans person to be invited to the prestigious platform. Her speech was emotional and empowering and you can catch up and watch it here.
A small audience of trans advocates and community leaders (including TGV’s executive team) were privileged to join journalists and allies to celebrate some of the social progress that young TGD people and their families have contributed to in Australia in the last 10 years.
While we rest and recover from a big couple of weeks, we are continuing to build connection and belonging with our newest team members at TGV. In the last month we have welcomed a new Communications team, with San leading content creation for web and social media, and Amity focusing on strategic development of digital communications, partnerships and fundraising. We also welcome Allie who brings fresh energy and warmth to all of our peer-support spaces and will soon be leading a visit to the ‘Beyond Binaries’ exhibition at Melbourne Science Museum.
If you’d like to hear more about our events and activities at TGV you might consider signing up as a member or volunteer. We’re always looking for people who would like to play a role in the work we do. A variety of small, fun and large, serious roles are available.
If you’re time poor but would like to financially support delivery of our wide range of programs, you can make a donation here.