Researchers from the University of Sydney are keen to hear from members of the trans community about their childhood experiences, in an effort to develop services that could help parents and their gender variant children.
Researcher Elizabeth Riley is looking for more people to take part in an online survey, as part of her study Gender Variant (GV) Children: Views of Professionals, Parents and Transgender Adults.
The study aims to identify the support needs of children with GV; convey the issues that children with GV and their parents are dealing with and ascertain the ways in which children are marginalised.
It is an essential first step towards creating stable adults, explained Riley, a former counsellor at the Gender Centre.
I worked as a counsellor and it was seeing the trauma that the adults deal with that made me think there must be a way to prevent this.
The survey, which asks questions about people’s childhood experiences as well as the attitudes adopted by parents, has already been completed by 150 people.
What is coming through right now is that there is a need for more public awareness, more trans role models and letting people know there are other people out there dealing with the same issues, Riley told Sydney Star Observer.
I hope this [study] will really be used to set up services to help parents, because really, right now, there is nothing in Australia. As soon as word started getting out, I was inundated with calls from parents asking, -˜Is there a support group? Can I join it? Am I really not the only person dealing with this?’
Riley decided to start a support group, which held its first meeting on Monday night at the Burwood Woodstock community centre.
Riley’s study will run over the next six months and she hopes the support group will offer ongoing assistance to parents beyond that time period.
info: For more information, or to take part in the survey visit http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/survey-intro.zgi?p=WEB228CP3PGE8H, or contact Elizabeth Riley at eril6366@usyd.edu.au.

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