This month, a new survey addressing the specific needs of gender diverse and intersex students in Australian Universities was released.
The survey, titled ‘Population and Health Survey of Gender Diverse/Trans and Intersex Students’ is the first of its kind in Australia, focussing as it does on the ways in which tertiary institutions assist and support (or not) students who identify as gender diverse or intersex.
The idea for the project was born in a discussion between George Munro, Karen Parker (aka Karen d’Konyak) and ML d’Lovely on the La Trobe University Transgender Circle Facebook page, when the issue of the scarcity of reliable local data about gender diverse and intersex students was raised.
The survey essentially seeks to gauge the experience of gender diverse and intersex students in the context of their academic settings, with the view of gaining statistical data that can be used to bring positive change in areas which students feel are in need of improvement.
There are two basic dimensions to the survey.
Firstly, the survey enables a self-evaluation of respondents’ mental health issues, and offers the space to anonymously detail the circumstances of any negative impacts experienced in the university context such as misgendering and transphobia. Students are invited to give as much detail as they are comfortable relating to aspects of physical, psychological, emotional, verbal and structural abuse they may have experienced.
Secondly, the survey provides a space in which students can evaluate the general environment of their university, particularly in relation to the provision of services such as counselling and administrative support, as well as the student-based organisations such as the student union bodies and Queer/LGBTI departments.
All respondents’ submissions are completely anonymous and students who may not yet be ‘out’ are warmly encouraged to participate as well as students whose identities have a high visibility.
The project is being run through the La Trobe Student Union Queer Department and La Trobe University Transgender Circle by
George Munro (Queer Officer, La Trobe Student Union) and Karen Parker (researcher)
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