A revised version of the Gender Questioning booklet was launched last week, providing a comprehensive resource for young people questioning their gender.
The booklet, aimed at people aged 16 to 25 years, is a joint project between Trans Melbourne Gender Project, Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria and the Rainbow Network, which supports people working with same-sex attracted or gender-questioning youth.
Rainbow Network coordinator Roz Ward told Southern Star she believes the new GQ booklet, last updated in 2005, is the only resource of its kind in Australia.
“It’s designed for people to read it and learn something… hopefully feel better about themselves, and take the time to know their rights and find the right places for support,” she said.
The booklet contains a glossary of key terms, advice on what gender questioning means, what to do to seek help, and an updated resource and referral list.
Rainbow Network recently hosted a training day for people working with transgender and gender-questioning young people. The session was booked out.
Ward said the popularity of the training shows there is still a large gap in resources and services available to both youth workers and young people.
“I had a call recently about someone in Year 9 in Victoria and they weren’t getting the support they should, so there’s still a gap in support services for trans young people.
“There’s still no specific trans support group for young people.”
Victoria is still without a dedicated Gender Centre similar to the NSW Government-funded service in Sydney, and Victorian youth workers have limited places to turn to when referring young people to appropriate services.
Grassroots transgender support groups have taken up the shortfall, however, there is a lack of trained professionals to deal with often complex gender issues.
“They’re voluntary groups, so they do what they can, but that’s why something like the Zoe Belle Gender Centre would be a great starting point for young trans people,” Ward said.
The Zoe Belle Gender Centre, which could become a one-stop referral point for Victoria, is in its infancy and waiting on future funding to go ahead.
info: The GQ booklet will be available on the Rainbow Network and GLHV websites. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a hard copy.