Research to shed light on NT transgender wellbeing

07-May-2015

CDU lecturer in sociology Dr Stephen Kerry is hoping to speak to people identifying as transgender

CDU lecturer in sociology Dr Stephen Kerry is hoping to speak to people identifying as transgender


The health and wellbeing of transgender Northern Territorians is the focus of a research project by a Charles Darwin University social researcher, and people identifying as transgender are encouraged to be involved.

CDU lecturer in sociology Dr Stephen Kerry, who completed a pilot online survey last year on the health and wellbeing of transgender Australians who live or who have lived in the Northern Territory, is now hoping to expand the research.

“To date no significant research has been conducted into the health status of transgender Northern Territorians,” Dr Kerry said. “Research which has been conducted on the health and wellbeing of transgender and sex/gender diverse Australians has rarely included Northern Territorians.”

Dr Kerry said that recent research indicated that transgender Australians still faced issues of social isolation, mental illness, suicidal ideation, unemployment and violence.

“Reported rates of depression were found to be much higher than those found in the general Australian population,” he said.

He said that although transgender Australians were now protected by anti-discrimination laws, could marry in their preferred sex/gender, and now had some access to sex reassignment surgery, their health and wellbeing remained relatively unknown in the NT.

“The response from the small group of participants surveyed last year indicated that overall they felt they were in good health, but people wanted more of a sense of community around them and support in the form of medical, family, and people who are similar to themselves,” he said.

“I am now seeking to conduct interviews with transgender and sex/gender diverse Northern Territorians or individuals who work or volunteer for organisations which provide health and wellbeing services to transgender and sex/gender Territorians.”

Dr Kerry said that one of the reasons for the knowledge gap was accessing the transgender population in the NT.

“It is difficult to determine the number of transgendered individuals living in the NT, yet it is anticipated that a significant number will identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander,” Dr Kerry said.

Participation is voluntary and anonymous. For further information contact Dr Stephen Kerry on M: 0456 895 241or E: stephen.kerry@cdu.edu.au