A new report has exposed the struggles of homeless LGBT people in Victoria, with trans people among those finding it hardest to stay in housing.
The report, produced by The University of Melbourne and Swinburne University for the Gay and Lesbian Foundation of Australia, found that gay, lesbian or bisexual people were at least twice as likely to experience homelessness as their straight counterparts.
Many participants in the research, particularly trans and gender diverse people, said they would rather sleep on the street than risk assault in a homeless shelter.
“You end up bashed, raped, things stolen from you,” said one person.
Some trans people in the study described becoming homeless because they were discriminated against when trying to secure a rental property.
A support service provider described the case of a trans woman who was turned away from a rental agency when she enquired while presenting as herself, but was given a rental application when she returned dressed “as male”.
“It’s difficult to get housing here,” said one participant in the study.
“We appear as female, but our voice is male… Maybe that is the reason.”
A trans man described being bullied and threatened while living in public housing.
“I have been harassed, been given death threats,” he said.
“There was two petitions gone around this building so far to get rid of me… it said I was a woman trying to be a man, and I was not normal, that I did not belong living with normal people.”
While the study did not include any participants who were intersex, the researchers recommended that homelessness services should be made more inclusive of the LGBTI community, specifically including intersex people.
The researchers said services should be more committed to inclusive practice and aware of the multiple challenges that face LGBTI people, with ongoing mandatory training.