Transgender Health

Vickie Knight
Senior Clinical Nurse Consultant
Sydney Sexual Health Centre

The US Centers for Disease Control defines Transgender as a term for people whose expression of gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. The term gender identity refers to a person’s intrinsic understanding of their own gender. The term gender expression describes how a person outwardly presents their gender (eg. how they dress). In NSW, recently there has been increasing discussion about the HIV and sexual health needs of people who are trans and gender diverse.

In order for clinicians, researchers and the community to understand the needs of people who are trans and gender diverse we need, first and foremost, to be able to identify trans people in our communities and services. Unfortunately, data on people who are trans and gender diverse accessing sexual health and HIV services in NSW is poorly collected. This is mainly due to a lack of clarity and agreement on sexuality and gender indicators to capture these groups of people in data sets. Do other jurisdictions in Australia have standardised and agreed definitions for trans and gender diverse people?

ACON has recently developed recommended sexuality and gender indicators and they are available at this link:
From consultations between ACON and the community on how best to implement the suggestions, it was recommended that an introductory sentence be introduced so all clients know the value of being asked the questions. A suggestion could be this:
We are about to ask you some questions. You may find some of the question unusual or not what you typically answer. They are designed to ensure we provide the best possible service to all of our diverse communities. None are designed to offend.

I believe that we need to have agreed definitions, for example, in the NSW Minimum data set for Sexual Health and HIV services, that enables us to identify and therefore research the needs of people who are trans and gender diverse in NSW.


FtM Transgender Australians’ Sexual Health

Associate Professor Tiffany Jones (PhD),


Assume Marriage Inequality

The E-Males study, in which 273 FtM transgender Australians discussed their sexual health via an online survey and blog, showed sexual health workers must not carry any pre-concieved ideas about FtM transgender peoples’ sex lives. Perhaps the only assumption one can make in Australia, is that they do not yet experience marriage equality. FtM transgender people legally recognised as men (only) can get married to a woman (only), but all other options are off the table, and they also can’t maintain any pre-existing marriage to a man post-transition. Thus, the majority of participants had never married (66%), and 18% were in de facto relationships. However some smaller groups had engaged in legal marriages either prior to or after transition – 8% were married, 5% were divorced, and 2% were separated.

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Seven Facts About Sex Therapy

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Dr Christopher Fox

Sex therapy is also referred to sex counselling, sexual health counselling, (clinical) sexology or sexual therapy. In Australia, the Society of Australian Sexologists, the National professional body for sex therapists and educators, uses the term Psychosexual Therapist for accredited members who must meet stringent educational standards.

What is Sex Therapy?

Sex therapy is a specialist form of counselling/therapy. It is just like other forms of psychological counselling only with a focus on human sexuality. Sex therapists are not a deviant bunch – they are professionals with specialist training and experience in dealing with issues of human sexuality.

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ASHA Book Review: Male Sex Work and Society

Male Sex Work and Society

Male Sex Work and Society, edited by Victor Minichiello and John Scott

Review by By Dr Margaret Redelman OAM, MBBS, MPsychotherapy

This very easy to read very pro-gay and pro sex worker book gives a wide-ranging introduction to ideas and concepts that need further scientific discourse and research in the field of male sex workers. The book mostly presents anecdotal and soft research data and repeatedly reiterates that this area is poorly researched and especially when compared to female sex workers.

There are few hypotheses and conclusions but maybe it’s too early for these and the material presented here can be the launching pad for more scientific work. 

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ASHA Book Review: The Secrets of the ANZACS

The Secrets of the ANZACS

The Secrets of the ANZACS: The Untold Story of Venereal Disease in the Australian Army, 1914-1919 by Raden Dunbar

Published October 2014 and distributed by Penguin Books New Zealand. RRP $37.00

Review by Dame Margaret Sparrow, a doctor, reproductive rights advocate and author.

During World War 1 about 60,000 soldiers or 13-15% of troops in the Australian Army were treated for venereal disease (VD), mainly gonorrhoea, less commonly syphilis and fewer still for chancroid. In this pre-antibiotic era treatments were often prolonged and unsatisfactory and soldiers also had to cope with the stigma surrounding VD. The book is in three parts.

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