By Gina Mather
Some interesting observations came out of the First Australian Trans Mental health study 2013/14 which was provided by Curtin University in conjunction with Beyond Blue and Western Australia Centre for Health Promotion Research.
Nearly 500 Trans people participated in the survey from all over Australia so it is a fair representation of the community. Take for example employment status. 62/4% of the sample reported a gross annual income below $40,000. The mean Australian income in 2013 was $58,000.
A high proportion of participants possessing a health care card and the high proportion of Trans women who were single or lived alone. This may have implications for social support and well-being.
Of the 57.2% of participants who had been diagnosed with depression 54.2% were diagnosed in the last 12 months and 44.2% were currently being treated for depression.
Of the 39.9% of participants who had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, 62.1% had been diagnosed in the last 12 months and 47.8% were receiving treatment.
These are only a few examples in the 80 page report. These facts and figures are a sad reflection of governments past and present having their heads in the sand for the welfare through social interaction and a vision of healthcare for Trans people.
There is more disturbing evidence of the tragic circumstances that confront the transgender community in the report. After 23 years of continually lobbying the governments of the day there are still limited access to services. What services are available are mostly non-government and are only accessible in Brisbane. Cairns does some great work through the Sexual Health Clinic but we should be able to do better for those living in regional and far west QLD.
Gina Mather is the President of the Australian Transgender Support Association Queensland.