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Working with transgender clients

Mitcham Corps (Vic.) hosted a training day last month on working with the transgender community*, for 16 Salvation Army staff from the Melbourne Central and Eastern Victoria divisions.

Spokesperson Sally Goldner from TransGender Victoria Inc. conducted the training, which centred on issues of justice and equity for members of the transgender community, including access to government and NGO assistance and support, health and law, employment and the workplace, goods and services, housing and education, etc.

Noting the high correlation between discrimination and suicide and suicide ideation among young people, Sally stated that 79% of same-sex attracted children and youth face discrimination in schools and suggested a similar percentage of trans community in that age group would also face discrimination.

Encouraging practitioners to enquire as to the requested and respectful address for clients as individuals, for example regarding the use of appropriate pronouns, she covered a broad range of topics that included: the verbal and physical assault of members of the transgender community; the status and protection of individuals under various state and federal laws; transition/affirming an individual’s identity; access to public rest rooms; sport; workplaces and schools; religion; and accommodation.

Ultimately, she affirmed, ‘this is about respect of another human being’.

* Transgender Victoria Inc. use the term trans, or transgender, to refer to ‘people whose gender identity or expression is different from that which was assigned to them at birth or that which is expected of them by society’.
Click here for more information
Click here for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s Guideline: Transgender people at work – complying with the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 in employment