The Human Rights Commission gathers a few stats about LGBTI people in Australia but it’s hard to determine many specifics about transgender people. However, a doctor at a Perth transgender clinic apparently told the press in June this year that there are around 26 new clients a year. In April 2015, when delivering the Isabelle Lake Memorial Lecture in Perth, Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson said “…the lingering and most extensive discrimination is faced by transgender Australians.” You can read the full lecture here.
Looking around for academic writing on transgender people through history, 100 Years of Transgender History by Professor Susan Stryker published in 2008 appears to be regarded as a well-researched history of transgender people in the USA. Similarly, the effort has been made to document some key events in the LGBT scene in Canada. In Perth, author Amanda Curtin has been acclaimed for her sensitive writing of the character Little Jock in her novel The Sinkings. Little Jock lived as a man but was found after death to be a woman.
One of the most important things – friends and an accepting community – is harder for transgender people to find. Out in Perth is a great way to link into the community here but another useful link for social activities is turns out to be the AngloInfo site for Perth. The prevalence of mental health issues for transgender people is addressed on the Beyond Blue website. If this has been a trigger for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14
Tina talked about the local LGBTIQ tennis club being a great part of her social life AND about how she noticed the hormones affected her upper body strength. It raises that contentious question about the participation of transgender and intersex people in sport. Perth’s LGBTIQ community newspaper reported in August that the Human Rights Commission is conducting an inquiry into this exact issue. Sadly, it was only June this year, when the community got upset about a transgender child in year 3 at school in Perth who made it through to the inter-school carnival running as a girl. Which reminds us of a great documentary made in 2011 by Maxx Ginnane about transgender athlete Caster Semenya “Too Fast to be a Woman”.
There’s been a whole lot of love for transgender stories and characters in the media over the last couple of years. Former Olympic athlete and Kardashian step dad Bruce Jenner transitioned to Caitlin Jenner under the heaviest imaginable public scrutiny. She made "I am Cait" about the experience. In Australia, senior Army officer Cate McGregor was supported in her transition and is now speech writer for the Chief of Army, Lt Gen David Morrison. The ABC’s Australian Story made an episode about Cate last year. Actor Jeffrey Tambor is the star of the multi award winning Transparent TV series that won the Golden Globe this year. BBC2 has a new show, Boy Meets Girl which is being promoted as the UK’s first transgender sitcom. But I’ll leave the last word to Terri Lee Ryan, writing for the Huffington Post and asking "Are there too many transgender TV shows?"