The Kinfolk project involved working with older Trans and Gender Diverse (TGD) people and service providers to improve older TGD people’s choice and control over gender identity and expression. In particular, it addressed the restriction of gender expression by family members and aged care service providers.

The project was funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health in Australia and project team included: Dr Catherine Barrett, Kaye Bradshaw, Toni Paynter, Sally Conning and Kathy Mansfield. Co-leadership of the project by three older TGD people was critical to the success of the project.

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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 expanded 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. We invited older TGD people and their families to read the Gender Genogram resource below and take this resource to a Family Relationship Service to work through the process of developing a Gender Genogram: GenderGenogramResourceHere

Ripplegrams

A RippleGram is a visual image and description of the intended and unintended consequences of transition or changing gender expression as an older person. The purpose is to assist in planning for these consequences and to guide family relationships services in supporting older TGD people and their families. We invite older TGD people and their families to read the Gender Genogram resource below and take this resource to a Family Relationship Service to work through the process of developing a Ripplegram: RippleGramResourceHere

Our Authentic Selves

These resources were developed for aged care service providers to promote the rights of older Trans and Gender Diverse (TGD) people to be their authentic selves. The resource outline how Standard One of the Aged Care Standards, applies to the lives of older TGD people. The resources are centred around 10 elements of Dignity and Choice and an eight point action plan. The resources include:

  1. A document outlining the 10 Elements: OurAuthenticSelvesResourceHere
  2. A film in which service providers reflect on the 10 elements: see below and link here our film below
  3. An interactive resource for facilitating a workshop for service providers, see link here
  4. A poster for aged care service providers to print and display in their service: see Poster

The Kinfolk Report

The Kinfolk Report outlines the Kinfolk project method, provides a summary of the interviews and survey with older TGD people and families and presents an overview of the activities undertaken and resources developed. To download a copy, click the resource The Kinfolk Report

Support services

There are a number of services out there to help older TGD people and their families. We have listed some there:

  • Family relationship services: in every state and territory there are family relationships services that can assist you to complete a Gender Genogram. These include Relationships Australia, see: relationships.org.au
  • Qlife: provides anonymous and free LGBTI peer support and referral for people in Australia wanting to talk about sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships. Phone: 1800 184 527 (3pm – midnight) or website: https://qlife.org.au/
  • Immediate support: if you need to talk to someone immediately and you are not sure what your options are 1800RESPECT is a website and 24 hour support service that offers counselling and information about support services.

Acknowledgements

We want to thank the media who covered our project, your work helps to spread the word. Thanks to: SBS News (Evan Young): Australians transitioning gender in later life will receive more support andOY 94.9 Saturday Magazine.

Thankyou also to the service providers who worked with us to develop these resources. Your support is greatly valued: Henry Von Doussa, Social Researcher The Bouverie Centre; Kathleen Lambeth, Elder Mediator Relationships Australia Victoria; Kristie Hunter, Project Support Officer Relationships Australia Victoria; Heidi Buhner, Quality Support Officer Better Place Australia; Samantha Apley, Family Consultant Better Place Australia; MaryClare Machen, Drummond St Services; Leanne Renfree, Senior Project Manager Drummond St Services; Meredith Butler, Outreach, Switchboard Victoria; Sally Goldner, TransGender Victoria; Ren Grayson, Gender Diverse Health Project Lead, Thorne Harbour Health, Cassie Browne, Elder Rights Advocacy; Loren Smith-Loncaric, Vincent Care; Dr Ruth McNair, Northside Clinic; Josh Darvill, Vincent Care; Tracey Hobson, Lifeview; Amanda Tierney, Daylesford Hospital; Dominique Horne, North West Aged Care Assessment Service; Sally Marshall, Box Hill Blue Cross; Rosemarie Draper, Bolton Clarke; Jodie Brown, Lifeview; Wendy Neivandt, City of Melbourne.

Thankyou to photographer Julian Meehan for the beautiful photographs, Chris Franklin, from Franklin Image, for the fabulous film and to Grant Maynard, from This is Maynard, for the powerful graphic design.

Contact us

If you would like more information, please contact project coordinator Dr Catherine Barrett on 0429582237 or email: director@celebrateageing.com