Ballarat's very own live variety chat show LaNCE TV will commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20 by featuring an expert panel of notable trans* voices from across urban and regional Victoria.
The program will be part of Transgender Awareness Week, which extends from November 12 to 19.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is the annual observance, on 20 November, to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives due to acts of anti-transgender violence.
Program hosts Lance DeBoyle and Gabriella Labucci will hand over control of the show to a panel of experts from the trans* community, including Michelle C Sheppard from JOYfm; Sally T Conning, a regional trans* elder; Dee Chryssomallos, Mr. Trans* Leather 2014/15; and Alexander Bravo, a peer navigator for the Ballarat TGD Clinic, with other names to be confirmed.
Producer, head of production and artistic director for LaNCE TV Deb Lord says the day of remembrance is a time to stop and reflect upon trans* people who have been murdered, killed, damaged or abused, simply for being who they are.
Our personal identity is very LGBTQIA+; it's our duty to hold a space for all the voices of our communityDeb Lord, LaNCE TV
"According to Suicide Prevention Australia, trans* people aged over 18 are 11 times more likely to commit suicide," Deb Lord says.
"This is kind of subversive way of getting people to disappear, if you know what I mean. And that comes around because of discrimination and lack of inclusion, and the trauma associated with with those negative experiences."
Lord says the number of deaths of transgender people, whether by violence against them or by their own hand, remains far too high.
"I can't talk on behalf of trans* people but I can talk on behalf of LaNCE TV and what we're doing.
"Our role in this is that LaNCE TV is providing a platform on our show at 8.30pm on Friday, November 20. We are, as always, live streaming our show to channel 31 in Melbourne, and of course we split the stream to Facebook as well.
"Our personal identity is very LGBTQIA+; it's our duty to hold a space for all the voices of our community. And we feel that Transgender Day of Remembrance is one of those key times in in our rainbow calendar, which needs to be bought into the light".
Jeremy Wiggins is the project manager of the Trans and Gender Diverse in Community Health Initiative at Your Community Health and a research investigator on the 2018 Australian Trans and Gender Diverse Sexual Health Survey, which found rates of sexual violence or coercion among trans* and gender-diverse people were nearly four times higher than among the general Australian public.
"It was a joint research project between community members and the Kirby Institute," Jeremy Wiggins told The Courier.
"For the national research project, we had over 1600 respondents; that's one of the largest pieces of research that have been undertaken for our community in Australia. And we included a question in there around people's experiences of sexual violence, because we don't have a lot of data on it and I suspected that it was high.
"There is some evidence out of that research to say 53.2 per cent of participants reported experiencing sexual violence or coercion: one in two people have experienced an unwanted sexual experience; an act of violence, sexual violence. And 42.9 per cent of people hadn't told someone about it.
"So most people, the majority of people, had not told someone about it, and they weren't planning to tell anyone. Proportionately speaking, transgender people are experiencing quite the highest rates of sexualised violence. There are also high rates of abuse and harassment and street-based violence."
There is a broader aspect to the trans* experience of violence, Jeremy Wiggins says, and that begins within the family unit.
"There are all types or forms of violence like family intimate partner violence; family members rejecting their children or not respecting the children's gender identity or misgendering them, or purposely using the wrong name, so denying someone their identity."
For Ballarat, Jeremy Wiggins says research conducted by the trans* community in conjunction with the state government suggested the health care system was failing in accessibility for trans* people.
"That's why our project at Ballarat Community Health, in being one of the multidisciplinary clinics, was created. Wait times were too long.
"There weren't enough providers that knew who knew how to work with us sensitively, or had the expertise to learn how to work with us. A lot of the models of care were pathologising. We're looking to de-pathologise healthcare for transgender diverse people.
In regional areas, there would be different levels of complexity. And in general, there would be a greater level of hardship faced by transgender-diverse people, by virtue of it being more unsafe. So if you're being visible, a trans* person looking to affirm your gender and use different names, in some small community towns it can be, it can feel unsafe to be walking around.
"I have heard reports of people feeling unsafe, and there are also fewer services, or they have to drive long distances. And some people may not have the support to be able to drive to a location or have access to a car.
"And also in terms of the Internet, and being able to access health services via telehealth, some people live in remote and regional areas where they don't have NBN. Their ability to access health services is different, so there's there's a range of complexities.
A lot of the models of care were pathologising. We're looking to de-pathologise healthcare for transgender diverse peopleJeremy Wiggins
"I think Ballarat, in particular, with this clinic and with some work that's occurring there, is on a good path to really developing a more supportive environment for trans* and diverse people, but there's probably still a lot of work needs to be done to raise awareness of celebrating the trans* and diverse community more broadly in the regions."
Now in its third year, LaNCE TV streams live from Ballarat in Western Victoria and shares the love directly from C31 in Geelong and Melbourne and also to Facebook every Friday night from at 9pm AEST.