Being Me (ABC Four Corners)

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Being Me was a Four Corners documentary that originally aired on the ABC in November 2014. This critically acclaimed documentary explores the stories of several trans* children and their families.

View the episode free on the ABC Four Corners website.

“There are any number of self help books that will tell you how to find yourself.

But what if truly being yourself involved changing your gender? Would you have the courage to do it?

Eleven-year-old Isabelle does. To the world she looked like a young boy. But she knew that she was really a girl, and a year ago she told her parents the way she felt.

This week Four Corners reporter Janine Cohen tells Isabelle’s story and the story of the family, the doctor and ultimately the community that backed her decision to truly be herself.

Along the way we meet other people who’ve confronted the same feelings and discover that a growing and significant number of children are finding themselves in the same situation. Some find support from their parents and doctors. Others discover fear, prejudice and a legal system that doesn’t make it easy for them to be themselves.

For Isabelle, the decision to tell her story was not made lightly. She and her parents tell Four Corners that they are willing to speak about their experience so that others won’t feel alone and other transgender children can be helped and protected.

Doctors tell the program that trying to repress the feeling that you are trapped in the wrong body simply does not work. Instead, it can lead to self harm and even suicide.

Paediatricians also make it clear that timing is important. They explain that if children want to make a physical change, then treatment should begin at puberty. In that way, hormone treatments can be prescribed with far better results.

A senior judge tells Four Corners she is keen to see the law relating to transgender treatment tested sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, doctors and families warn the current legal situation is putting some children at risk.

Isabelle’s story is remarkable and inevitably raises many questions for families, doctors and society in general. Ultimately though, it’s a journey that shows courage and honesty is essential to triumph over ignorance. It’s a story that is not to be missed.”

Monash Gender Clinic

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Monash Gender Dysphoria Clinic (http://www.monashhealth.org/page/gender_dysophoria)

This website provides a summary of the services provided by the Monash Gender Dysphoria Clinic based in Melbourne. It also provides a clear description of what is meant by ‘gender dysphoria’.

About The Clinic

“The Gender Dysphoria Clinic is part of the Monash Health network, in Melbourne, Victoria Australia. It also has links with the Monash University Department of Psychological Medicine. The clinic is the only government-funded clinic of its kind in Australia, and it also receives referrals from neighbouring States. The clinic aims to provide an assessment and treatment service for patients experiencing Gender Dysphoria.
The clinic’s primary client-base are those patients who have a strong and persistent wish to live as their non-birth-assigned gender, as well as a desire to make their body as congruent as possible with their affirmed gender. The clinic assesses patients and, where appropriate, assists them with the “transition process” from one gender to another, often through various gender reassignment steps including psychotherapy, hormone therapy and surgery.
The clinic has several permanent part-time staff members, as well as several clinical associates. All clinical staff, including associates, meet regularly in order to evaluate the progress of patients.
Procedures within the clinic are consistent with the Standards of Care guidelines published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and endorsed by ANZPATH (Australian and New Zealand Professional Association for Transgender Health – www.anzpath.org).”