intersexA national conference in Geelong earlier this month was a key step towards reforms to improve the manner in which the health system interacts with young trans and intersex people, according to its organisers.

The conference on October 22 was hosted by Geelong’s Adolescent Sexuality Project (GASP) and involved representatives from the National LGBTI Health Alliance, the Zoe Belle Gender Centre, Transgender Victoria, Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group Australia (AISSGA) and the Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH).

Funded by the Department of Health, the conference helped shine a spotlight on some of the disparities in the health system faced by trans and intersex people and has resulted in the impending establishment of a National Advisory Group which will work towards a care pathways model.

Other ideas discussed during the conference included a mentoring or buddy system, regional conferences, referrals for intersex youth, paediatrician and GP education programs and advocacy models within the GLBTI community.

Susan Prosser, from GASP, said that over 80 people from all around the country had attended the conference to share their expertise and perspectives.

“I believe that this event was a key first step in a national push to change the way young trans and intersex people experience the health system.

“The conference was a strong affirmation that change is possible and that if we join together we can affect that change,” she said.

“If we are to tout the term GLBTI, we all have to make an effort to ensure the health and wellbeing needs of trans and intersex people are considered and work together to change the inequalities they encounter.”

The National LGBTI Health Alliance’s senior health policy officer, Gávi Ansara, said the event was significant in that it provided a voice for young people’s concerns and highlighted the need for more responsive healthcare pathways for intersex, trans, and gender diverse young people.

“The concerns raised by young people and health care professionals at the Forum highlighted the importance of ongoing consultation with the young people who are most directly affected by decisions about their care,” Ansara said.

“We need to address the needs and challenges of young intersex, trans and gender diverse people living in regional, rural and remote areas to ensure that they can thrive in their communities and families.”

INFO: If you’re interested in joining the new National Advisory Group or would like copies of the talks from the conference, please visit www.gaspgeelong.net.au or call the GASP team on (03) 5272 4977.

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