Jeremy Wiggins, Australia’s first known transgender recipient of a Churchill Fellowship, has launched best practice recommendations around trans and gender diverse health.
Wiggins, who was awarded the 2018 Victorian LGBTI Person of the Year, was awarded a fellowship through the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which provides opportunities for Australians to travel overseas to conduct research in their chosen field that is not readily available in Australia.
Wiggins drew on his Fellowship report to create the recommendations, which were developed through a trans-led community empowerment and mobilisation framework and co-authored by Ted Cook, Starlady and Ryan Phillips.
The recommendations, which are designed to inform the development and delivery of health care services to trans and gender diverse communities, were launched on Wednesday at the Transformations: Trans Research Forum hosted by Thorne Harbour Health and Cancer Council Victoria.
“I am honoured to have had the privilege to represent Australia as the first known transgender Churchill Fellow and travel around the world to investigate best practice models of health care for trans and gender diverse populations,” Wiggins said.
The first recommendation states that “trans and gender diverse people must be affirmed, respected and acknowledged as their gender, regardless of any social, cultural, medical, surgical or legal affirmation process.”
Further recommendations encompass strengthening trans and gender diverse involvement in organisations, groups and structures which respond to the needs of TGD people, community mobilisation and empowerment, the right of TGD people to the highest attainable standard of health, improved data collection, and ensuring that sexual assault services and resourced are trans and gender diverse-inclusive.
“I wanted to not only submit a full report on my research trip, but also develop a powerful community advocacy tool for Australian communities to utilise in our work to improve our health care,” Wiggins said.
“The best way to do that was to involve community advocates in the process of analysing the information and developing the recommendations.”
New South Wales-based trans advocate and co-author Ted Cook said he was “proud to be involved in the trans-led process of developing these Churchill Recommendations.”
“These recommendations provide clear pathways forward to improve health equity and access for trans and gender diverse people, and I look forward to continuing to contribute in this advocacy work on a national level.”
Wiggins travelled to Thailand, England, Scotland, Germany, Canada and the United States as part of the fellowship, establishing relationships and international connections.
“What is great about the Churchill Fellowship is that it allows the applicant to create the project they wish to investigate and choose who they want to meet, to address what is important and urgent for their specific community,” said Winston Churchill Memorial Trust CEO Adam Davey.
“This often aligns with current or emerging issues of local, regional or national importance in Australia.”
Co-author and trans advocate Starlady said that “the Churchill Recommendations sit within a human rights framework using principals of self-determination and bodily autonomy.”
“The recommendations are a great set of best practice tools and principals, created by trans and gender diverse people, for government, health and human services, and community organisations to use when working to improve the health and wellbeing of our community,” Starlady said.
“Zoe Belle Gender Collective was very proud to work alongside LEAP in creating the Churchill Recommendations.
“There are so few opportunities for trans and gender diverse health professionals to come together to dream of a positive future for ourselves and our communities.”
To read Wiggins’ full Churchill Fellowship report, click here.
To view the Churchill Recommendations, head to leaphq.org.