In late 2018 Your Community Health secured $2.4 million of funding to deliver a Trans and Gender Diverse Health Initiative, in partnership with Austin Health, Ballarat Community Health and Thorne Harbour Health.
To say I’m excited about this project would be an understatement! That’s why I wanted to share a little bit about my role and the important work that Your Community Health will be doing.
I joined the Your Community Health team in July and I’ve spent the last couple of months learning about the organisation, meeting new colleagues and working out the best way in which I can help trans, gender diverse and non-binary people in Victoria to get access to the health and wellbeing services and support they need.
That is my primary role as a Peer Navigator.
Peer Navigators are members of the trans, gender diverse and non-binary community who use their lived experience to support clients to access services and make sure their voices are heard. This may mean talking to clients and community members about what services are available, working with them to set goals for their care or treatment and discussing referral pathways into other services. It all helps people feel confident that they will receive the right support.
As a trans woman I understand the need for other trans and gender diverse people to be involved in healthcare delivery. Accessing healthcare as a trans or gender diverse person can be a little like roulette. You never know whether the professional you are going to see is going to really understand who you are, or what you need. And the way they treat you could end up being more hurtful than helpful.
The community experiences high rates of mental health issues, stigma and discrimination. Many trans, gender diverse and non-binary people report feeling discriminated against and misunderstood when trying to get care.
It isn’t easy to access healthcare a trans or gender diverse person.
Whether they mean it or not, healthcare professionals can often be callous and ignorant about trans and gender diverse bodies, while services that are known to be positive environments often end up with waitlists that can take months for intake appointments.
But being a Peer Navigator and seeing this trans and gender diverse health project come together, makes me feel hopeful for the future.
In the short time I have been working for Your Community Health, I have found that the organisation’s values very much aligned with my own. That is why I am excited to be working on this project, to break down the barriers the trans, gender diverse and non-binary community faces when trying to access healthcare.
My role and this project will help lead to a larger change in how healthcare services are provided for trans, gender diverse and non-binary people across Victoria.
So, if you are a trans, gender diverse or non-binary person and you’re struggling to find inclusive services that understand your needs, please get in touch with me. I’m here to help.