Transgender people and domestic violence
Another Closet primarily explores domestic violence issues for people in same-sex relationships. However, we recognise that transgender people may also experience domestic violence in same or opposite sex relationships and that their needs and experiences may be different from heterosexual and gay and lesbian people.
Some of the issues specific to transgender people:
- Access to services – many mainstream services, and even some gay and lesbian services, may not have the knowledge, skills or adequate resources to address the specific issues and needs of transgender clients. It is important to make sure a service is trans-friendly and safe before accessing a service. Some religious organisations and women's refuges, for example, exclude pre-operative transwomen from receiving support. Specialised services for transgender and gender questioning people, such as the Gender Centre, have the knowledge and expertise to provide a variety of targeted support options and/or referrals to other trans-friendly services.
- Discrimination - trans people may face rejection from family, friends and other social networks; exclusion from cultural and religious communities; and discrimination from the general public. Trans people may also experience discrimination from other survivors of DV, services or workers (such as social workers, community workers, doctors etc) that do not understand gender diversity and transgender clients' needs.
- Workplace bullying/vilification - when a transgender person decides to disclose their true identity and/or transition in the workplace, they may experience bullying or discrimination from colleagues and management. This may include co-workers intentionally not using the transgender person's preferred name and pronouns, using derogatory language when referring to the person, ignoring or excluding them from workplace culture or social gatherings, or employers inappropriately reprimanding them for poor work performance when performance reviews pre their transition were positive.
- Using gender-specific amenities - trans clients often experience anxiety around using gender-specific spaces such as the use of bathrooms (public toilets and workplace toilets in particular), allocation of accommodation and sleeping arrangements (school camps, hostels and refuges, services etc) as there are risks to their physical safety if they are unwelcome or unintentionally 'outed'.
- Forced “outing” - transgender people might not want to disclose their gender identity or to draw attention to themselves by asking for help, accessing services or reporting harassment or violence, for fear of further violence or discrimination. Forced 'outing' or the threat of forced 'outing' can be used as a form of control or abuse of power in domestic violence situations.
Transgender people are diverse. Like any group of people, not all transgender people want to be treated the same. Some may want to have their trans status recognised by service providers but may not want other clients to know; other trans people may not feel comfortable disclosing their trans status at all.
The Transgender Anti-Violence Project
The mission of the Transgender Anti-Violence Project is to provide education, support, referrals and advocacy in relation to violence and oppression based on gender identity.
This project addresses all forms of violence that impact on the transgender and gender-questioning community, including (but not limited to) domestic violence, sexual violence, anti-transgender harassment and hate crimes.
The Transgender Anti-Violence Project is located at the Gender Centre, located at 7 Bent Street, Petersham. We can provide telephone support and outreach services to people living outside Sydney.
For people living outside the state of NSW please submit a report, which will enable the TAVP to capture this vital statistical information on the prevalence of violence directed towards the transgender and gender questioning communities of Australia.
If you are being harassed, assaulted or attacked, get support and tell the police.
Go to your local police station or any police station you know and, if possible, take a support worker from the TAVP with you. If you are alone, you can ask the police to contact the TAVP support staff on (02) 9569-2366 or, if you are outside Sydney, phone 1800-069-115 during business hours.
Your support worker will initially ascertain the nature and level of support that you require to help you to a successful outcome.
For more information, good practice advice and support:
Phone: (02) 9569 2366 or 1800 069 115 during business hours 9:00am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday
Address: 7 Bent St, Petersham, NSW 2049.
Other websites with information for trans people experiencing DV:
The Survivor Project is a US based non profit dedicated to addressing the needs of transgender and intersex survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
If you are transgender and you need legal advice in NSW, the Safe Relationships Project may be able to help.
The links section of our site may have some useful information
And if you find a website that has useful information for transgender people, please let us know!