We’re here to help trans and gender diverse (TGD) people take control of their health.
The umbrella term ‘trans and gender diverse’ describes a population of people whose gender is different to what was presumed for them at birth.
We recognise and celebrate the diversity of the TGD experience, so when we use the term ‘trans and gender diverse’, ‘trans’ and ‘transgender’ we mean all people who are not cisgender. Cisgender is a term used to describe people whose gender is the same as that was presumed for them at birth (male or female). ‘Cis’ is a Latin term meaning ‘on the same side as’.
Trans people may position ‘being trans’ as a history or experience, rather than an identity, and consider their gender identity as simply being female, male or a non-binary identity. Some trans people connect strongly with their trans experience, whereas others do not. The processes of transition may or may not be part of a trans or gender diverse person’s life.
We offer and refer to a range of trans-affirming resources, programs and services delivered by caring people who genuinely understand the health issues affecting trans people.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus): What Trans People Need to Know
Adapted with permission from transequality.org/covid19 and by Cianán Russell, Senior Policy Officer at ILGA-Europe. Huge thanks to community members Jack Metcalfe and Amelia Arnold for developing the wonderful ‘Navigating COVID-19 and Chest Binding’ resource. The following information is current as of 18 March 2020.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new strain of Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It has been classified a pandemic by the World Health Organization. As this pandemic evolves, and information emerges, ACON will continue to monitor the situation to ensure our communities are aware and can take action to stay safe.
We know that trans and gender diverse people, and our allies, may have questions about how we can properly face this public health threat. We want all trans people to stay safe, both from COVID-19 and from some of the unique issues we may face as a result of it.
We urge all trans people and allies to put together a plan of action that not only considers basic health needs, but also your specific needs as a trans person. It is important that trans people are prepared if an outbreak occurs in your communities.
Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath. COVID-19 is transmitted by inhaling contaminated droplets spread by open coughing, or by contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or objects.
The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is through social distancing and good hygiene, such as:
Practice Good Hygiene Habits (from Australian Dept of Health)
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
- Dispose of tissues properly
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitisers
- Clean and disinfect surfaces
- If you are sick, avoid contact with others and stay more than 1.5 metres away from people.
Trans people and our allies need to be aware of COVID-19
- Trans people report high levels of discrimination and stigma in healthcare settings. We are regularly misgendered at hospital, particularly those of us who live visibly trans and those whose name and gender are not reflected accurately with Medicare.
- Bathrooms (where we should all be thoroughly washing our hands) are highly policed spaces for trans people, and even going to wash our hands leaves us at risk of harassment and violence.
- Isolation and quarantine in wards or hospitals is complicated by transphobia from staff and other patients.
- It’s important to understand the elevated risk for trans people and to help us stay uninfected so that we can avoid closed settings.
- LGBTQ people, including trans and gender diverse people, have higher rates of HIV and cancer, and may have a compromised immune system.
- LGBTQ people, including trans and gender diverse people, also use tobacco at substantially higher rates than the general population. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that could be especially harmful to smokers.
Gender Affirmation Needs
We don’t currently know how COVID-19 will affect our healthcare system. It’s ok to ensure you have a 14-day supply of daily items, please do not hoard.
Looking after our health is essential and there may be things you will need specifically if you or a loved one is trans:
- Enough supply of gender affirming hormones, syringes, alcohol swabs and sharps containers.
- Up-to-date prescriptions for 1-3 months of hormones/anti-androgens and other medications (this does not mean a 1-3 month stockpile of meds).
- Vaginal dilators or other medical items.
- Find your Medicare and Healthcare cards, and any important medical letters.
- Gather identification that shows your chosen name and/or gender, including birth certificate, change of name certificate, passport etc If you don’t have identification matching your gender, a letter from your doctor if you have one.
- Specific grooming or beauty items: razors, make-up, wigs, binders, packers and other prosthetics, etc.
- Consider printing a statement such as the following, if you need to go to hospital or see a doctor you do not know:
- Gender affirming medical and surgical procedures may be put on indefinite hold. This can seriously impact the health and wellbeing of trans people. Consider asking your counsellor if they can do appointments over Skype, or use a phone or web-chat based counselling service such as QLife.
- Take care of yourself – sleep, connecting online with others, talking about your feelings, offering help to others, eating regularly, staying hydrated etc. Good general health is as important as any affirming care.
Binding and COVID-19
Binding when you’re ill can cause complications, but due to the nature of COVID-19 affecting the lungs, there are some specific complications that may occur.
Community members Jack Metcalfe and Amelia Arnold put together the above resource, which provides a lot of helpful information about chest binding and COVID-19. You can find the original post of this resource by clicking on the image below or here.
Looking after myself and others
The time between when a person is exposed to the virus and when symptoms first appear is typically 5 to 6 days, although this may range from 2 to 14 days. For this reason, people who have been in contact with a confirmed case should self-isolate for 14 days.
Currently, the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is believed to be highest for those people who have travelled overseas and there are an increasing number of countries with a high number of cases.
Australia has implemented a policy of universal self-isolation for people who have returned to Australia from anywhere overseas for 14 days.
In addition to self-isolation for travellers, social distancing measures are recommended. NSW Health indicates that this means “separating yourself from other people as much as possible when you’re in public places, and avoiding crowded places. Practically, you should:
- attempt to keep a distance of 1.5 metres between yourself and others
- avoid crowds and mass gatherings where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance away from others
- avoid small gatherings in enclosed spaces, for example family celebrations
- avoid shaking hands, hugging, or kissing other people
- avoid visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, infants, or people with compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatment.”
Those most at risk of COVID-19 include people who have travelled overseas in the past 14 days. People who have underlying illnesses and a vulnerability to respiratory illness, older people, and people with suppressed immune systems are also at higher risk. It is important to note that the great majority of people living with HIV who have an undetectable viral load and who have a CD4 count of 350+ are not considered to have a compromised immune system.
Each of us need to consider our own personal circumstances, social and other contact with people, and assess our risk. ACON’s advice for our communities is that each of us look at the best medical advice, and apply it to our own lives and circumstances.
Creating a Plan of Action
Talk to your COVID-Network – family members, housemates and close friends, or the people you interact with daily. Decide your course of action in case of an outbreak in your community.
- Identify who are the most vulnerable people: older people (ages 60+), people with disabilities, smokers, and those with a compromised immune system are the most prone to the virus and need the most support.
- Identify specific rooms in case you or your loved ones need to self-quarantine in an isolated setting.
- Get to know the people in your community (while practicing social distancing). Find out about their plans of action.
- Create an emergency contact list and share this with your support system and stay in touch frequently. Make sure to include your doctor and emergency numbers (outside of the COVID-Network). Google Sheets can be a good tool for this.
- Create an online group chat with your COVID-Network. In the group description or notes area, list the most vulnerable and why.
- If you are employed: find out your employer’s plan of action.
- If you have children: find out your child’s school/child care’s plan of action.
- Review the NSW Ministry of Health endorsed Emergency Pantry List
- Staying Trans and Strong is available here
- Mental health in an emergency info is here
What to do if you think you are sick or meet someone who has it
- Please do:
- Stay home except to get medical care
- Separate yourself from people in your home
- Wear a face mask when around other people
- Call ahead before visiting your GP
- Please do not:
- Walk into a GP or community health service (please call ahead instead).
- Stay in public spaces or use public transportation
- Share personal household items
- Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080. Call this 24/7 line if you are seeking information about COVID-19
- Health Direct: 1800 022 222
In 2019 ACON launched the Blueprint for Improving the Health and Wellbeing of the Trans and Gender Diverse Community in NSW.
The Blueprint for Improving the Health and Wellbeing of the Trans and Gender Diverse Community in NSW (the Blueprint) outlines the key approaches required to improve the health outcomes of trans and gender diverse (TGD) people in NSW and to strengthen the inclusion of TGD people within ACON’s programs and services.
The Blueprint was developed with the support of ACON’s TGD Community Health Advisory Group, which comprised members of the TGD community, clinicians and community organisations.
The development of the Blueprint was informed by a comprehensive review of national and international literature, and an extensive consultation process. This consultation process included a community survey of over 450 people, six community meetings across NSW (Sydney, Newcastle, Lismore, Wollongong, Wagga Wagga and Liverpool) and key stakeholder interviews with TGD community leaders, GPs, endocrinologists, sexual health physicians, NSW Health officials, and human rights lawyers.
Anyone can access and use this Blueprint to support their local, state-wide and even national advocacy efforts that seek to progress and improve the rights, health and lives of TGD communities. ACON is proud to support this work and to continue raising the visibility of TGD community priorities and needs
- The Blueprint for Improving the Health and Wellbeing of the Trans and Gender Diverse Community in NSW
- TEXT ONLY VERSION of the Blueprint
- Abridged Blueprint
- Discussion paper, Potential Priority Areas for ACON’s Trans and Gender Diverse Community Health Strategy
- Consultation Report ACON’s Trans and Gender Diverse Community Health Strategy
ACON’s Language Guide for Trans and Gender Diverse Inclusion explains key terms and offers examples of preferred language that can help us build safer, more inclusive environments for trans and gender diverse communities in NSW.
You can download the resource here:
- Trans and Gender Diverse Inclusive Language Guide PDF
- Trans and Gender Diverse Inclusive Language Guide JPG 1 | JPG 2
- Trans and Gender Diverse Inclusive Language Guide Text Only PDF
Many people assume that gender is binary; that all people are women or men. However, gender can more accurately be thought of as a colour palette, with many possible shades of identity and subtle expressions of gender far beyond only woman or man.
QLife Guides are for health professionals working with LGBTI people that describe and discuss a range of common, often complex topics, to help people feel able to work with all kinds of people on LGBTI matters. An information guide on navigating gender identity health professionals can be found here.
Other QLife Guides can be found here.
Pride Training provides learning and development programs to assist health and community organisations increase their knowledge of LGBTIQ people, communities and health issues. Our learning and development offerings use a variety of activities, media and training resources to engage with participants. Specialising in co-design with community members we aim to address the unique needs of our communities with lived experiences.
Pride in Diversity is Australia’s first and only not-for-profit workplace program designed specifically to assist Australian employers with the inclusion of LGBTQ employees.
As a member-based program, Pride in Diversity works closely with HR, diversity professionals and LGBTQ Network Leaders in all aspects of LGBTQ inclusion within all sectors of the Australian workforce.
No matter your starting point, we work with your team to understand the importance of LGBTQ inclusion and to map out a strategy that will enable you to successfully work towards best practice.
Australian Workplace Equality Index
The Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) is the definitive national benchmark on LGBTQ workplace inclusion and comprises the largest and only national employee survey designed to gauge the overall impact of inclusion initiatives on organisational culture as well as identifying and non-identifying employees.
The Index drives best practice in Australia and sets a comparative benchmark for Australian employers across all sectors.
The AWEI is a free offering and organisations do not need to be a member of Pride in Diversity to participate.
Pride In Practice Conference
Pride In Practice is the only national conference dedicated to LGBTQ workplace inclusion. Run over three days, it incorporates various streams of LGBTQ workplace awareness and inclusivity.
Hear from industry experts on best practice and gain insight into the award winning initiatives of the Top 20 Employers and network with industry peers.
Pride in Health + Wellbeing is a national membership program that provides year-round support in the provision of LGBTQ inclusive services for those working within the health and wellbeing sector. Consider us your partners, your subject-matter experts that you can call on, build a relationship with and rely on for expert advice, training and help.
Our United Front is an inclusive breast cancer awareness and education campaign that focuses on getting screened. Self-checking is still really important, but if you are 50 or over, you should have a mammogram every 2 years. People over 40 are eligible to get free mammogram. Check out Our United Front for referral pathways.
Our United Front speaks to cis women, trans women, non-binary people, trans masc people and trans guys, highlighting different screening pathways and options.
View the project HERE.
Services & Referrals
We are sorry to announce that due to COVID-19, Check OUT: LGBTIQ+ Clinic will be closed until further notice.
Please do not be concerned, this closure is only temporary, and we look forward to reopening again soon.
We will contact all our clients as soon as we reopen.
If your appointment with Check OUT was urgent, or you have any concerns, please contact our clinical partner, Family Planning NSW.
Family Planning NSW Talkline (staffed by expert sexual health nurses):
1300 658 886
Monday to Friday, 8:30am-5pm;
or email email@example.com
You can also contact the NSW Sexual Health InfoLink, which is run by NSW Health and is staffed by sexual health nurses. You can call them with any questions or concerns about sexual health and/or cervical screening and they can direct you to services for testing in your area:
1800 451 624
Monday to Friday, 9.00am-5.30pm
If you are concerned about COVID-19 or have questions, please visit the NSW Health website or contact Healthdirect on 1800 022 222.
Please take care of yourselves and each other and don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all,
Check OUT Staff
Everybody with a cervix is at risk of cervical cancer.
We’re here to provide information and promote the importance of regular cervical screening for LGBTIQ people.
Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, yet studies show that LGBTIQ people are less likely than the general population to attend cervical screening. Having regular Cervical Screening Tests is the best way people in our communities can protect themselves against cervical cancer.
On 1 December 2017, the Pap test changed to a more accurate Cervical Screening Test. Other changes include the age of screening increasing from 18 years to 25 years, and the time between tests changing from two to five years.
Visit The Inner Circle to find out about the changes to the Pap test, what’s involved in a Cervical Screening Test, information on sex, HPV and cervical cancer and tips and advice on how get through your test.
Watch community members talk about their experiences of cervical screening for The Inner Circle campaign.
If you live in Sydney, you can book in at Check OUT: LGBTIQ+ Sexual Health Clinic for a sexual health check and/or a cervical screening test. Check OUT is a community-led clinic, run by ACON and Family Planning NSW. All our frontline staff are trained members of the LGBTIQ+ community. Read more about Check OUT and book a test today.
The Inner City Legal Centre’s Trans & Gender Diverse Legal Service is a dedicated service to provide trans or gender diverse clients free legal advice and support for a range of legal issues.
The services provided include advice on:
- Special Medical Procedure applications to the Family Court of Australia
- Assistance in regard to drafting wills, power of attorney, enduring guardianship
- Divorce, separation and parenting
- Name and gender change advice/services
- Criminal and AVO advice and representation for especially vulnerable trans or gender diverse clients on a low income.
We encourage you to contact the Inner City Legal Centre via their website or on (02) 9332 1966 if you are trans or gender diverse, and seeking legal help.
NEED SAFE SEX SUPPLIES?
If you’re a member of the LGBTIQ community and you need safe sex supplies, we can post them to you anywhere in NSW (free!). Simply complete the form below and we will get your play pack(s) delivered in no time!
Our play packs include:
- 10 gloves
- 10 condoms
- 9 ml Astroglide Natural toy friendly lube
- 250ml Viraclean bottle (for cleaning toys and surfaces), and
- A sex toy maintenance brochure (one per order).
If you need supplies for a party or venue please let us know.
Any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact: email@example.com
WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN CREATING A NEW SEXUAL HEALTH PROJECT?
We are designing a brand new sexual health project to better meet the needs of our community. This project will be replacing our sexual health project for women who play with women.
We welcome all members of the community to get involved in the consultation process. We particularly want to hear from all lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex and queer women, non-binary people, intersex people and trans men / trans masculine people who sleep with women. We also welcome people from the kink community and anyone who identifies as LGBTIQ+.
Sign up below to hear updates and receive invitations for community consultations and focus groups. Coming soon!
SIGN UP NEWSLETTER
We’re here to help end HIV transmission among gay and homosexually active men, including trans men who have sex with men. To find out more please visit our HIV Prevention section.
We’re here to help people with HIV – including trans people – take control of their health by providing up-to-date information as well as a range of programs and services. To find out more please visit our HIV Support section.
Our sexual health programs for gay and bisexual men are inclusive of trans men who have sex with men. To find out more please visit our Sexual Health section.
Our sexual health programs for lesbian, bisexual and queer women are inclusive of trans women who have sex with women. To find out more please visit our Sexual Health section.
We provide a range of counselling and community care services for trans people, including those with HIV or who use drugs. To find out more please visit our Mental Health section.
Alcohol & Drugs
We provide a range of resources and support services to help trans people who use alcohol and other drugs. To find out more please visit our Alcohol & Drugs section.
Safety & Inclusion
We provide a range of resources and support services to help trans people who are experiencing homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination. To find out more please visit our Safety & Inclusion section.
Domestic & Family Violence
We provide a range of resources and support services to help trans people who are experiencing domestic and family violence. To find out more please visit our Domestic & Family Violence section.
We provide a range of resources and support services for older trans people (50+). To find out more please visit our Ageing section.