AusPATH STATEMENT ON BLACK LIVES MATTER

The Australian Professional Association for Trans Health (AusPATH), established in 2009, is Australia’s peak body for professionals involved in the health, rights and wellbeing of trans people, including those who are binary, non-binary and gender diverse. The AusPATH membership comprises approximately 300 experienced professionals working across Australia.

AusPATH stands in solidarity with advocates across Australia, and around the world, fighting against anti-Bla(c)k racism, of which those who are trans and also First Nations, Blak or people of colour are disproportionately affected and most impacted, globally. We see this particularly among our trans sisters.

Racism is not an issue confined to the United States. It is a systemic and pervasive problem in Australia that continues to cause harm to the health and wellbeing of trans people of colour and First Nations trans people. The impacts of colonisation in Australia have created inequities that leave Sistergirls, Brotherboys, other trans Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and trans people of colour more vulnerable to discrimination and stigma within healthcare settings, in public, on the street, at home, at work, at school and across the lifespan. This must end.

We know all too well that trans people in Australia shoulder some of the heaviest burdens of poor health and wellbeing. The communities AusPATH serves report highly disproportionate experiences of emotional, financial, physical and sexual violence, disproportionate rates of social isolation, rejection, unemployment, distress, self-harm, substance use and suicidality. We also know that trans people in Australia experience barriers to medical and mental health care. Racism further compounds these experiences for trans people who are First Nations, Blak or people of colour.

Racism and transphobia are key social determinants to ill-health, reduced quality of life and mortality; transphobic racism is bad for our communities’ health.

In recent weeks, our social media and television screens have made the disproportionate policing, criminalisation and incarceration of First Nations, Black and people of colour all the more visible. However, racism has long been entrenched in our education, healthcare, political and legal systems. Even today, trans women, trans men, and non-binary people in Australia, many of whom are Sistergirls and Brotherboys, are held in prisons that do not reflect their gender.

AusPATH will continue to focus our communication platforms on promoting and amplifying trans First Nations voices and the voices of trans people of colour in Australia. The Board of Directors commits to facilitating ongoing education and dialogue within our own organisation and membership and we make a commitment to actively seeking increased representation from trans First Nations people and trans people of colour on the AusPATH Board.

AusPATH calls for Federal, State and Territory governments and policymakers to urgently partner with community-controlled organisations to address the systemic racism and transphobia that contributes to the ill-health of trans First Nations people. AusPATH encourages healthcare providers and the medical community to challenge personal beliefs about race and gender so that the highest attainable level of health can be accessed by all trans people in Australia.

All Bla(c)k Lives Matter. Bla(c)k Trans Lives Matter.

AusPATH Board of Directors and Policy Committee

Thank you to the Sistergirls and Brotherboys who helped us write this statement.

July 2020

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