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Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

Personal story:


Gloria* is a transgender woman who has concerns about the lack of trans-inclusive health practices and the discrimination she has experienced while receiving inpatient care in an acute psychiatric hospital.

I voluntarily admitted myself to hospital in October 2017 as a result of the impact the marriage equality debate was having on my mental health, emotional wellbeing and suicidal ideation.

On admission, I informed staff of both my preferred name and my preferred pronouns (she/her) and was assured that the staff had undergone inclusivity training and understood the importance of respecting my wishes.

Gloria said that during her 10-day admission she was repeatedly misgendered and disrespected by staff.

This treatment continued despite multiple requests from me, formal complaints, and patient advocacy services instructing staff as to their obligations. In addition to this I was often denied care by staff unless I referred to myself by my legal name and outed myself to the other patients.

The hospital’s direct discrimination and disclosure of my identity culminated in me being attacked by a male patient who had been informed of my transgender identity, despite my having raised concerns over transphobic and homophobic comments made to me by this patient, and my request to be transferred to the secure female area after receiving these threats. Despite multiple requests, I was refused access to the secure female area of the ward.

Following her stay in an acute psychiatric ward and in step-down facilities, Gloria would like to see attention directed towards addressing the situational factors that lead to admissions, such as homelessness, lack of family support, discrimination in the community and lack of community support and services.

Source: Interim Report, November 2019

Note: *Name has been changed to protect privacy.