Autumn and I received this e-mail from Melissa, commenting on one of our posts (I believe this is the one) back in September 2007.Â With Melissa’s permission, I wanted to pass along what changes she has seen occur since then …
Hi Autumn and Stephanie,
It was a pleasure to find your blog at transadvocate.com and I’d like to write in and say hi.
Also, I should provide an update for an article that you wrote in September 2007 that mentioned the legal situation of transpeople in.
At the time, the Howard government had done everything it could to make our lives difficult and uncomfortable.
* Changing a policy allowing pre-ops to get passports in their new gender when they travel overseas for surgery.
* Trying to overturn a decision of theallowing transsexuals to marry in their new gender (fortunately, they were unsuccessful)
* Refusing to recognise the gender of transsexuals who were married in their old gender.
* Planning legislation that would prohibit us from marrying anyone in either gender.
* Allowing religious institutions to discriminate against us (for example, granting exemptions to anti discrimination laws forso they could refuse to admit transpeople).
* Removing pre-operative hormone therapy from the.
However, we have since had a change of government and the new Labor government is far more trans-friendly and has reversed most of the above.Â One Labor senator actually is married to an FTM and she has helped a lot.
The passport issue has been reversed, and divorce is no longer a condition for gender recognition.
Unfortunately, we still have not been allowed pre-surgery passport changes, and the change to the pharmaceutical benefits scheme has not been reversed yet, but I would expect both problems to be solved within the next 2-3 years.
I should also point out that we have a very pro-trans environment generally.
* Australia’s two largest states (Victoria and) both have strong anti-discrimination legislation protecting transgender people in employment, education, and housing. This legislation is effectively enforced, and was upheld even during the time of the Howard Government.
* We formally recognise sex change underand under the law of each Australian State. All but two of our states will accept partial surgery (e.g. Orchidectomy) as sufficient for recognition and there is a strong move underway to remove the surgery requirement altogether. If successful, this will make Australia the first place in the world (to my knowledge) to recognise pre-ops under law.
* In many places and in many industries, transition is view positively and many people have transitioned on the job without any opposition or difficulties (myself included)
* Australia has national social security which provides enough money (although barely) for someone who is unemployed to have where to live and what to eat. This significantly improves the prospects of transgender youth when they have to leave home.
* Sydney has a full-time gender centre with counselling, support, employment training, and even assistance with accomodation. Importantly, this is run by trans people and not by the medical establishment or other third parties.
* In, while we do not have a formal full time gender centre (yet, one is being set up) but there is a strong informal network of “successful” trans people who provide the time and money to help other people going through the process.
Importantly, laws do not tell you about what is happening in society.
In Melbourne and Sydney, it is possible to be openly transsexual and accepted by most people in mainstream circles – especially if you are friendly and have good social skills.
Based on my experience, the experiences of my friends in Australia, and of other friends in Thailand, Israel, and the USA, Australia is definitely the best of these places to be transgendered in…
Anyone thinking of visiting (or relocating to) Australia is welcome to contact me for more information about where is the best place to go…
Posted in (Ab)Normal Heights, 5 Things You Need to Know Today, Australia, discrimination, employment - housing - public accomodation, law and legislation, transgender, transition, transsexual, transyouth | 3 Comments »