web_argentA large donation on behalf of former PFLAG national spokeswoman Shelley Argent (pictured) has allowed Brisbane’s only specialised transgender clinic to remain open at a new location at Teneriffe.

The Gender Clinic, operated by the Australian Transgender Association Queensland (ASAQ) since 1994, was forced to leave its previous location at Biala after cuts to sexual health services were announced by the Newman government in January.

Since then, the city’s transgender community has had to rely on a number of doctors in Fortitude Valley and Newmarket to provide expert care and advice.

“The government decided we were persona non-grata at Biala, so we were made to look for other accommodation,” ASAQ president Gina Mather told Fairfax Media last week.

“We moved out of Biala in February this year and since then we have been looking for a new location.”

A little while after, the organisation was offered premises at Helen Street, Teneriffe but required tens of thousands of dollars which it did not have to refurbish the building into a medical clinic. Enter Argent, who only stepped down from her main role with PFLAG in September to concentrate on her own health after over 15 years of advocacy and activism.

“I feel I have done as much as possible for the gay community and the trans community is very much forgotten, and I felt by funding the clinic this is my way of supporting them and showing that people do care,” Argent told the Star Observer this week.

“Plus, I have set up the support group and network for their families, so to me this is my way of supporting the trans community.”

Argent said it remained important that transgender people in Queensland were allowed access to affordable assistance, advice and medical expertise, particularly when going through the lengthy transition period.

“It is just terrible that the Queensland Government closed the clinic leaving the trans community with nowhere to go because many can’t afford private medical care. We don’t need those transitioning losing hope,” she said.

With the clinic’s doors now open, Maher said Argent’s gesture of goodwill will help save lives.

“The gender clinic is important because doctors and psychiatrists are specialised, they understand,” Mather said.

“If a person goes to an ordinary doctor and says they are gender dysphoric, you need people to understand it.

“It’s a medically recognised condition and people are more comfortable with people who can talk to them and relate to them.”

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