The Gender Clinic is a state-wide service that provides individualised, consumer centred care for the trans, gender diverse and non-binary people, their families and partners. Our principle aim is to improve the health outcomes and wellbeing of all our consumers. We accept all referrals for individuals who are aged 17 and above and reside in the state of Victoria. We also provide support and information for health care providers as well as community and advocacy groups. Our Consumer Advisory Panel is regularly involved in decision making about how to improve our services. Gender Clinic welcomes sistergirls and brotherboys from our indigenous communities.
To become a center of excellence by going beyond assessment and provide therapeutic and social support. We strive to be up-to-date with developments in trans, gender diverse and non-binary healthcare whilst providing an excellent clinical service. We aim to be a great teaching facility and create strong partnerships with universities and key international stakeholders to advance the understanding of gender diversity. Above all we aspire to minimise all barriers to accessing trans affirmative care and to ensure that consumers are at the forefront of all key decisions.
The Gender Clinic is a multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, a social worker, project/research worker, research assistant and administrative staff. Additionally the Gender Clinic have partnerships with Royal Children’s Hospital Gender Service, the La Trobe University Voice Clinic and other key stakeholders experienced in transgender health care. Individuals in the Gender Clinic are members of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and/or the Australian Professional Association for Trans Health and are committed in our involvement with these key organisations.
What We Offer
Our core role is to:
✓ Provide a safe space to explore gender identity
✓ Educate about the diversity of gender identities and expressions
✓ Assess experiences of gender dysphoria in accordance with international guidelines
✓ Explore various medical and social interventions relevant to transgender health
✓ Identify other mental or physical health issues that need to be managed prior to medical interventions
✓ Refer, where appropriate, to experienced private or public clinicians
✓ Provide additional social work support or connecting with relevant social services when required
✓ Support the gender transition process
✓ Offer discretionary financial support for private surgeries.
✓ Advocate for access to health services
Through our partners we also provide:
✓ Hormone assessment and prescription.
✓ Laser hair removal
✓ Fertility preservation
✓ Peer support
✓ Advice on presentation such as make-up.
✓ Speech therapy
The treatment and study of gender dysphoria was pioneered in Melbourne in 1975 by Dr Herbert Bower and Dr Trudy Kennedy. The conservative Queen Victoria Hospital was approached with the idea of starting a “Gender Dysphoria Clinic” promoting the view that gender dysphoria was not an attitudinal thing or a life choice but biological. By 1976 the first gender affirmation surgery had occurred at the “Gender Dysphoria Clinic”, little is known about the early stages of this clinic as the service had to operate in semi-secrecy mainly due to attitudes of fellow health professionals but also in response to broader community expectations of the time.
Following the amalgamation of Queen Victoria Hospital, Jessie McPherson Hospital and McCulloch House in 1987 the clinic relocated to Monash Medical Centre in Clayton where it continued to undertake assessments and surgery to a limited capacity mainly due to the strict criteria imposed upon the service.
Certainly the “Gender Dysphoria Clinic” was not without its controversy and in 2009 the clinic risked being shutdown following an internal review of processes and fallout from litigation procedures. The clinic however persevered and evolved its practices in keeping with contemporary views of gender diversity and shifted to provide individualised, client-centred care for all trans, gender diverse and non-binary people.
In 2016 the Victorian Government showed commitment towards improving accessibility of health and support services for all trans, gender diverse and non-binary people. The clinic responded by establishing a Consumer Advisory Panel in recognition that consumers have a pivotal role in improving health outcomes for the community. The panel consists of members from the trans, gender diverse and non-binary communities and provide a consumer and community perspective to help inform, plan and develop Gender Clinic services. The clinic also changed their name to “Gender Clinic” in order to de-pathologise the service the clinic provides. Through this funding increase Gender Clinic were able to expand the service from two days a week to five in order to improve the service accessibility and reduce waiting times. The Gender Clinic also introduced the public provision of endocrinology, laser hair removal and facilitated access to gender affirmation surgeries.
In recent years there has been a shift in the model of care, with more trans, gender diverse and non-binary health care being provided in primary care settings. The Gender Clinic therefore aims to support primary care providers in managing more complex cases.