A knight’s strength helped Sim’s journey to gender change

September 22, 2014

Reporter for The Age

Photo: Simon O’Dwyer

Sim KennedyA knight, a symbol of strength on a long journey. And a crimson heart – broken into the pieces of a puzzle – to remind its wearer of his values. The bold tattoo inked across Sim Kennedy’s chest is based on one of his own artworks and represents all the 23-year-old has drawn on during his slow transition from female to male.

It’s not been easy. Like other young people who are transgender or have diverse genders, Kennedy has experienced structural discrimination and abuse. Before his transition he was forced to move schools twice to escape discrimination.

“Other people make you feel like there’s something wrong with you, rather than just embracing it,” he says.

Australia’s first report on the mental health of young people who are transgender or have diverse genders has revealed high rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

Transgender or diverse gender are umbrella terms for people who do not necessarily identify with their physical gender. It can include those who identify as asexual, androgynous, queer or transsexual.   Almost half of the 190 young people interviewed for the study had been diagnosed with depression and two-thirds had suffered verbal abuse.

One person in five had been physically abused, and 90 per cent of those thought about suicide following that experience.

Threats and harm were most likely to occur on the street – 40per cent – and school – 38 per cent, participants said.

But the study from La Trobe University, funded by mental health charity beyondblue, found support from parents and teachers could make a huge difference to a young person’s wellbeing.

Report author Elizabeth Smith said young people who were supported by their family were half as likely to become depressed, and if they did they were much more likely to seek professional help. Teachers who used appropriate language – including referring to the student with their preferred pronoun and being respectful of their students’ privacy – meant gender diverse students were less likely to drop out of school or be bullied, Dr Smith said.

At first Sim Kennedy’s family were concerned about his decision to transition and needed time to grieve, but they offered him support and helped fund surgery on his chest.

This was combined with hormone replacement, counselling and time to adjust,   Kennedy says.

“I don’t know how much worse my mental health would have been if it was not for my family,” he says.  Depending on the context,  Kennedy identifies as male, transman, feminist, androgynous, a lad, but not as a man.

“For me being male was more about the body rather than about the gender of being a man.”

For four years he has volunteered at YGender, a grassroots social support and advocacy group for young people, and has spoken extensively with state government health ministers to lobby for better funding.

He says this report, published on Tuesday, will highlight the experiences of those he has worked with in the community and hopes their voices are heard by politicians and the public.

(Original Source 28-09-14 http://www.theage.com.au/national/a-knight8217s-strength-helped-sim8217s-journey-to-gender-change-20140922-10khrr.html)

Out of the Pan Interview

Several young members of our group provided some amazing insight into life as transmen for the program Out of the Pan. Thanks to all those involved, Cannon, Erik, Reece and Sally for making this possible.

You can listen to it here.

Ygender Zine is making a zine!

Every other group has a zine so why shouldn’t we? If you’re a Ygender member and would like to get involved, please check out the zine guidelines here:

Zine Guidelines

We will be accepting all manner of submissions including stories, articles, prose, comics and more so get thinking! The aim of the project is to provide a positive experience for young transgender people to write and read.

Speech from Ally Project launch

Hopefully the media interviews that occurred at the Ally Project launch the other will go live on air on telly sometime this week (we’ve heard it potentially will). This is exciting since there are a lot of people who don’t know that Ygender exists or that there are trans and gender diverse communities, this media will help reduce isolation by informing people our community groups are here. It will also promote the Ally Project to potential Allies!
More details about the media segment will be posted though our social networking profiles when we know more…
In the mean time here is some footage from the very same event https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_ooJsIhiqg




We need a logo design for our exciting new project! It’s a project that aims to build positive relationships between trans and gender diverse young people and their allies.
The winner will be selected by Y Gender and will be announced at our upcoming project launch as a part of IDAHOBIT Day (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia).
The winning logo design will be used for our project and the winning designer will also get a $100 iTunes voucher.
To enter the comp, you need to be aged between 12 and 25. This is a trans, gender diverse and cisgender inclusive comp. All genders are welcome to apply.
Simply email your logo to the email address below. Ensure you list your name and contact phone number so we can reach you. Also include a 50 word description of your design concept.
Competition closes: 4th May 2014



::Technical requirements::
Minimum 300dpi and a JPEG file or EMS or PDF. We must be able to develop the file further and change the size of the file and apply to different forms of media or print.
What Makes an Ally? is a community development project that will develop a print and web-based campaign promoting supportive relationships between young trans* people and their non-trans* (Cis) allies and communities. The project aims to develop emotional resilience in young trans* people through increased visibility and social inclusion.
::Artwork Considerations::
• The logo concept should be reflective of the project aims.
• It should reflect the project principles of inclusiveness, participation, positive relationships, healthy communication and building community.
• It should be conceptual rather than literal and not include any text.
• The logo concept should work well on white and coloured backgrounds and be easily adaptable for use on the website and in social media platforms, as well as for animation purposes. For that reason, we suggest the logo should work in a squared box (e.g., the Facebook or Twitter picture box), in both a portrait and landscape format and that should have a maximum of 2 colours.
::Copyright and Usage::
Please note that Transgender Victoria will retain the copyright for any artwork selected for use as the Ally Project logo.
The entrant must verify that the logo does not infringe the rights of any third party and is not in violation of any copyright and cannot give rise to any claim for financial reimbursement.

Ygender to host Queer Skate Day a Melbourne’s YMCA River Side Skate Park

Ygender has been working hard to organise an outdoor community event by holding a queer skate event. This event held at YMCA riverside skate park on April 26th 2014 from 12pm-4pm will encourage young GLBTIQ people to use community spaces that may at other times may feel exclusive and unwelcoming to GLBTIQ youth.

This community we hope will have something for everyone! Not just those interested in skating

- Clothes swap

- Rollerderby

- Free skateboarding lessons

- Skate demos

- Music

- Creative corner

- Picnic and vegetarian BBQ

- A range of community mentors and skaters

- Raffle

Admission is free and all levels of abilities are welcomed, with skateboard and

roller skate for beginners. All proceeds from BBQ, raffle sales and donations will go

towards the further development of Ygender and our 2014 regional tour, aimed

at raising awareness and connecting regional trans and gender diverse youth

with social supports.

Support this event

People can support this event by

• Offering to volunteer

• Making a donation

• Spreading the word about this event

For more info contact: c.osaurus@hartvelo.com (our email is currently down)
or 0404050016.

Ygender queer skate

Trans & Gender Diverse Community Project Consultant – 6 months, part-time, fixed term contract.

Transgender Victoria in collaboration with Ygender, is seeking an experienced community development project consultant to develop and launch a print and web-based campaign promoting supportive relationships between young Trans* people and their non Trans* (Cis) allies and communities.

Reporting to the Project Management Team, this position requires a proven high level of communication and organisational skills within a community setting and a commitment to engaging young people in campaign development.

This is a part-time position, with some evenings, weekends,  and within state travel required.   Police check essential.
Position Description: bit.ly/1iXalZN

For enquiries or applications, please contact allyproject@transgendervictoria.com

Applications close 31 March 2014.