Authors: Being True to Ourselves: A collection of short films exploring the infinite possibilities of gender
Event: 2013 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: ACT
Award level: Gold
Award category: Mental Health Promotion or Mental Illness Prevention Program or Project
Abstract: Being True to Ourselves was a storytelling project with the sex and gender diverse community in Canberra. Seven digital stories – short films – have been created and published by transgender people, and these stories are a powerful way to address the extreme stigma and discrimination faced by this marginalized community. Changing such attitudes is key to improving the appalling mental health profile of transgender people. It is a bold and groundbreaking step to go public with these personal stories. The stories have been screened at a huge public launch, and will be made available on the website of A Gender Agenda. They are also published as a DVD, providing an outstanding new electronic resource for mental health promotion, and will be presented at national and international conferences. Being True to Ourselves was developed in a mental health promotion framework, and its creative process reflected best possible practice in community development. Description of Facility/Organisation: A Gender Agenda is focussed on sex and gender diversity issues. We work with intersex people, transsexuals, transgender people, cross dressers and other gender non-conforming people, their partners, parents and children. We have been operating in an unfunded capacity since 2004. In 2011 we ran a highly successful social inclusion project which significantly improved the mental health outcomes of over 100 participants. Being True to Ourselves is only our second funded project. In July 2012 we were successful in obtaining $150,000 of recurrent mental health funding from ACT Health which has allowed us to employ a part time psychologist and part time Director. Sex and gender diverse people are highly marginalised and socially isolated and have significantly poorer mental health outcomes. We are one of the few organisations in the world that has successfully built a truly engaged and active sex and gender diverse community. Our community is currently around 250 strong and growing.