Landmark report traces history of trans communities in NSW

A landmark report analysing the history of trans and gender diverse communities in New South Wales has been released today, marking Trans Day of Visibility.

The report was produced for NSW’s peak LGBTQ+ health organisation ACON and the Gender Centre by Professor Noah Riseman of the Australian Catholic University, tracing the history of trans and gender diverse lives in the region from pre-colonisation to the present day.

The report draws on research funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery grant which is exploring the histories of trans people in Australia. It aims to strengthen the trans community’s historical consciousness, and to understand how the experiences of the past have shaped the present and can inform the future.

“This incredible NSW trans history report reminds us that trans people have been being themselves here for over 60,000 years. Trans people have always existed, and that’s something to celebrate, especially on today’s International Trans Day of Visibility,” ACON’s Acting Director for Community Health and Wellbeing, Teddy Cook said.

“From anti-discrimination law, birth certificate reform, public protest and police accountability, with this report and all the work our communities continue to do, we pay tribute to the hard work and achievements of our trans legends and visionaries.”

“Trans Day of Visibility is a celebration of our communities; a chance to stand up, stand out and recognise the many amazing feats we have achieved, and will continue achieving.”

“With the spirit of the day and this report in mind, it’s important we make visible our own trans mighty and world-changing heroes and histories. We celebrate Roberta, Kooncha, Nadine, Norrie, Jasper, Craig, Dean and so many more.”

The report’s author Professor Riseman said that like many things, the key to making progress for trans and gender diverse communities in the present and future, is looking back at where trans people came from and what has been achieved so far.

“Gender diverse people have been here since time immemorial and this report highlights that history – the triumphs, the struggles, and the changes trans people have endured,” Professor Riseman said.

“Sharing trans history can connect generations of trans people, to learn the struggles and triumphs of the past and where there is more work to do. It is often said that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’. This report shows that gender diverse people have always been here. Now we see them.”

“Thank you to everyone who contributed to this landmark report, including – Norrie, Eloise Brook, Teddy Cook, the late Katherine Cummings, Lisa Taylor, the late Aidy Griffin, Adrian Barnes, Kooncha Brown and the wonderful graphic designers Oliver Reyes and Jaime-lee Collinson.”

Eloise Brook, Health and Communications Manager at the Gender Centre adds that their organisation is excited to launch this examination of history.

“The history of our community and the struggles undertaken by our elders is vitally important to give us a sense of who we are and what we have yet to achieve.”

“Not only that but it’s a really good read too!”

You can read the full report at

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