Sex change study starts

University of New England academics are making fresh attempts to understand the experiences of transgender people. 

Tiffany Jones is one of six UNE academics leading the E-Male project which seeks to understand transgender people going from female to male.

It is the first national study of its kind in Australia.

Dr Jones said this research would help advocacy groups and governments make informed decisions about transgender people.

“First of all we’re hoping to redress the lack of knowledge about people who are in this particular community,” she said.

“Secondly we want to gather information to advocate for their needs in health, education and the law generally.”

The study is calling for about 200 female to male transgender people to take part in a survey about their experiences.

Researchers will gather information on how transgender people identify themselves, what public services they’d like to see and whether they experienced bullying in school.

Dr Jones became interested in transgender people when doing a study of 3000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people and their experiences in school.

She found the almost 100 gender diverse people were the most severely bullied. But when she went looking for more information on transgender people she found there was a dearth in research.

UNE lecturer Dr Amy Lykins is another of the academics leading the study.

Dr Lykins said transgender people were more complex than many might believe.

“It is important to understand that there are many different people who identify with being transgender. They may not be concerned with blending with the opposite sex,” she said. 

“They may or may not seek hormone or sex reassignment surgery, or they may opt for only partial surgery. They may even adopt a gender neutral or ambiguous position.”

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