Gender Diversity in Australia 2017
Trends in contemporary aspirations, challenges, and attitudes
There have been few studies of the gender diverse community in Australia. The internet support forum TgR is in a possibly unique situation as it has validated email communication with a population of gender diverse members. It was this latent potential to obtain representative and wide ranging data that led to the design of the first TgR Survey in 2011. The survey was repeated in 2017 to validate the findings of the earlier survey and identify any significant trends.
In summary the aims of the 2017 TgR Survey were:
- to widen our understanding of contemporary transgender lives in Australia and New Zealand
- to validate our understanding by repeating measurements over time,
- to identify significant trends in the contemporary transgender experience,
- to share information that may help professionals providing services to gender diverse people.
Where identical questions were asked in 2011 and 2017 changes in the responses were analysed. This lead to an understanding of what is changing, and what remains unchanged in the gender diverse experience.
What is changing
- · The survey population has aged with a corresponding increase in the percentage of respondents who are retired.
- · The 2017 survey pointed to a significant increase in the proportion of the respondents who had told a member of their family about their gender diversity. This included a 30% increase in the number of respondents in a relationship who had told their partner.
- · The 2017 survey population is more likely to tell a GP about their gender diversity than they were in 2011. In the later survey the percentage confiding in a doctor rose from 29% to 40%. The survey also identified a significant increase in the use of hormones prescribed by a doctor. There were indications that the understanding of gender issues among medical professionals is also improving.
- · More respondents reported positive feelings about being gender diverse in 2017. However this sentiment is far from universal. Approximately 40% of those surveyed still view their gender diversity as a neutral or negative factor in their life.
The percentage of those surveyed who consider that society is accepting of gender diversity has also increased. However the majority still perceive society as not being accepting.
What remains unchanged
- · One in five respondents considered themselves to be totally male or female gender. All the other respondents identified their gender at intermediate points on a gender spectrum.
- · Approximately half the respondents were in a legal relationship.
- · There has not been an increase in the number of partners who support gender diversity in their relationship. This remains at just above 40%. The number of partners openly hostile, and strongly disapproving of gender diversity has also remained constant at 6%.
- · A quarter of the respondents frequently expressed their gender in public, but on the other hand, a quarter were rarely seen in public.
- · The majority of the respondents were aware they were ‘different’ before they turned 20.
- · Most respondents felt that their appearance was of importance to their gender expression.
The survey identified a number of challenges for the gender diverse, areas where little or no progress has been made between 2011 and 2017.
- · Relationships
38% of partners continue to be strongly disapproving or unsupportive of gender diversity in their relationship.
- · Presentation
A half of those surveyed present only infrequently in public as their true gender.
- · Acceptance
There remains a perceived lack of acceptance of gender diversity in society
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