Abundance is a story pantry affirming Transgender and Gender Diverse (TGD) people as they age. The project was inspired by recent research on older TGD people’s experiences of ageing and abuse. We heard from TGD people that, alongside strategies to address rights violations, there is a need to affirm TGD identities and build hope. Abundance draws on the wisdom of older TGD people, in partnership with younger TGD folk, to document stories and offer hope for TGD people as they age.

Abundance documents stories using text, photographs and Fowlers jars (used to preserve fruit and vegetables when they are in abundance so they can be shared with others or kept for leaner times).


The first Abundance workshops were filmed by award winning film maker Logan Muncha who won the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival’s Best Australian Short and the People’s Choice Award for his film Love is Love.

Story Pantry

Click on the photos to read the short stories – and for full stories click here. Photographs (c) Lisa White, The Social Photographer.

How Abundance works

Abundance was piloted in 2017 as part of Seniors Festival Victoria. Two workshops were hosted. Four older TGD people attended the first workshop and the focus was on: one thing they valued about their ageing. Find out more about the event by reading the first InviteAndConsent.

The second workshop had an intergenerational focus. Nine participants were invited to work in pairs to respond to the statement: The thing I love most about my life right now is … Find out more about the event by reading  InviteAndConsent2


Participants were invited to provide feedback on the Abundance events. They were invited to tell us what they thought of the event/ and what worked well. In response participants commented:

  • It was such a good afternoon with good vibes and wonderful people – I didn’t want it to end. Every trans and gender diverse person should come to one of these
  • This event was like a little oasis of community and spirit. I enjoyed matching hands-on activity with storytelling. The activity made talking easier
  • Being made to feel special and valued for being me. Great to have a diverse group and some regional attendees
  • Everything. Thoroughly enjoyable telling stories, preserving food is fun
  • The genuine desire of folk to engage
  • The interactions between ages and diversity of the group as we got to talk and share
  • Very enlightening. Well run
  • Multiple generations – story telling.

Participants were also asked to provide feedback on whether the Abundance events should continue – and there was unanimous support for this. They were also invited to comment on what they thought needed to be done differently and responses included:

  • More diversity of ages and gender
  • Perhaps a longer session
  • I did know some other younger people planning to attend, and I’m not sure their reasons for not coming, but I think it could have had better advertising, I heard through my mum, not through facebook or anything
  • More time to talk. Perhaps the sessions could have been a little longer. I think it would be good to make sure we pair with someone we don’t know
  • More multigenerational representation. Would be lovely to find an ongoing forum to celebrate our lives and provide encouragement to all ages to be engaged and be proud of being themselves.

Event photos

As well as taking portraits, Lisa White (The Social Photographer) was on hand to photograph the events. We want to share these event albums because they show how much fun we had filling the pantry.

Second workshop (September 2017)

First workshop (September 2017)

Support services

There are a range of support services able to assist if you need support, here are some of them:

  • Switchboard Victoria: Call or log on to the Switchboard/Qlife phone service open between 3pm – Midnight everyday on 1800 184 527 or webchat at www.qlife.org.au 
  • QLife is Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for LGBTIQ people. QLife phone and chat are available from 3pm to midnight and can be contacted on 1800 184 527.
  • Lifeline is available 24 hours a day on 13 11 14
  • beyondblue on 1300 22 4636

More info

If you want more information about Abundance please contact Dr Catherine Barrett on: 0429 582 237 or director@celebrateageing.com

A Barrett-White collaboration

This project was bought to you by Catherine Barrett and Lisa White. Catherine and Lisa are passionate about engaging communities in real change for social justice – and are grateful to the following organisations for supporting Abundance:

  1. TransGender Victoria
  2. Switchboard Victoria
  3. The City of Melbourne: for partnering on the Seniors Festival pilot
  4. Victorian Seniors Festival: for funding the two pilot workshops

In the media

We are very grateful to the journalists who have covered the Abundance project – your coverage helps get the word out to create change. Thanks to the following journalists:

  1. Jess Jones: Older Trans people in Melbourne are sharing their stories through food. Star Observer (link)
  2. Steph Kyriacov: Elderly Trans folk are preserving their stories in an adorable way. Pink News UK (link)
  3. Shannon Power: Trans elders are ‘preserving’ their stories in a novel way. Gay Star News (link)