Kinfolk involves working with older Trans and Gender Diverse (TGD) Elders (65years+) and service providers to improve TGD Elder’s choice and control over gender identity and expression. In particular, it will address the restriction of gender expression by family members in ways that preserve family relationships. To do this we will:

  1. Work with TGD Elders to document their issues and concerns related to family (and what works) – through a survey, gender genogram and a workshop
  2. Work with relationships organisations to develop a resource for TGD Elders and their families
  3. Work with aged care service providers to explore their role in advocating for TGD Elders.

The project has been funded by the Department of Health. The project team includes: Dr Catherine Barrett, Kaye Bradshaw and Elders Toni Paynter, Sally Conning and Kathy Mansfield.

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Project stages

The project has six key stages which are outlined below. This information will be updated as the project progresses and resources will be added.

Stage 1. TGD Elder’s Network

TGD Elders from all states and territories are invited to support the project. The group will communicate through email, phone and a secret Facebook Group – to shape the project, influence the resources developed and help spread the word. If you are interested please contact project coordinator Dr Catherine Barrett on 0429 582 237 or email: Current members of the working group are:

  1. Victoria: Toni Paynter, Sally Conning, Kathy Mansfield
  2. NSW: Sandra L’Haurault
  3. Western Australia: Sandra
  4. South Australia: Gail Ellis (email:

Stage 2: Documenting Gender Genograms

A gender genogram is like a family tree – it shows a person’s family relationships and also includes emotional and social relationships. Genograms are used in social work, psychology and family therapy to explore family dynamics. They can help to build an understanding of how family members (including chosen family) relate to each other and bond. Genograms are often drawn using symbols – and symbols for gender are limited to circles for females and squares for men. We are expanding this traditional approach to using genograms by creating a Gender Genogram. In a Gender Genogram – gender diversity is recognised, and the focus is on the gender roles and expectations of every family member. You can see our first Gender Genogram below. 

We are calling for TGD Elders (65 years+) and family members who are interested in documenting a Gender Genogram to contact Dr Catherine Barrett on 0429 582 237. Please click click the following link for the: InformationSheetAndConsentForm. Pleased to share our first genogram below. 

Stage 3. Learning from TGD Elders

A short survey has been developed for TGD Elders – particularly those who are not able to attend the workshop (see Stage 4). The survey includes 14 questions about family responses to gender identity. The results from the survey will be discussed at the workshop for TGD Elders and and relationship services to inform the development of the resources outlined below. The survey is confidential, includes 14 Questions and takes around 5 to 20 minutes to complete, depending on how much you write. A brief report summarising the results will be made available here. There are three ways to complete the survey:

  1. Complete survey online by clicking the link here
  2. Fill out a hard copy of the survey – contact us for hard copy using details below
  3. Phone Project Coordinator Dr Catherine Barrett – Catherine can fill the survey out with you

To explore the issues being raised in surveys, we have started conducted semi structured interviews focused. If you are interested in an interview please read the following information sheet and consent form (InterviewInfoSheet) and contact us. We are pleased to share our first interview narratives below.

Stage 4: Learning from Families

Across the interviews with TGD Elders we were told about the importance of learning from family members about what works and what the challenges are from their perspectives. In late March we launched an interview process and we would value the opportunity for confidential interviews with family members of TGD Elders. Please see the attached InterviewInfoSheet for more details. Below is a story shared by a sibling of a TGD Elder. Angela’s insights are invaluable and we would like to interview a partner/spouse and an adult child. 

Stage 5: Developing resources for TGD Elders & families

A workshop was facilitated for TGD Elders with family relationship organisations to explore issues related to restrictions of their gender identity by families and strategies to address these. TGD Elders shared their expertise to educate family relationship service providers and better inform their services. Additionally, key issues and strategies from the workshop will be used to develop a resource for TGD people and family members. A resource will also be drafted for aged care service providers. Relationships services include: Better Place Australia, Bouverie Family Therapy, Relationships Australia Victoria, Drummond Street Services, Switchboard Victoria and Thorne Harbour Health. See photo of some participants below. Report coming soon …

Stage 6: Dignity, choice and aged care services

In July we hosted a workshop for aged care service providers and TGD Elders to develop resources focused on improving Dignity and Choice in aged care for TGD Elders. The workshop was attended by 20 people who brainstormed principles for promoting Dignity and Choice and then shared the principles on a film to educate others. The workshop was a very powerful experience and we look forward to sharing the resources with you soon. 

Stage 7: Launch & dissemination

A launch will be conducted and the print and film based resources disseminated electronically through LGBTI and aged care networks. Service providers utilising the resources will be asked to provide feedback on opportunities to improve the resources.

  • TIMELINES: September 2019