Transpeople need support under the COVID-19 lockdown

There is a glaring lack of emergency accommodation for those trying to escape domestic violence during the COVID-19 lockdown. People of all genders experience domestic violence, but for trans and male-bodied, the options are sparse.

Society would have you believe that adult male-bodied and trans people do not experience domestic violence and, as such, there is no need for support. This is not true.

Nationally, the first point of call is DVConnect, which does not offer male or non-binary phone support to people who may be traumatised speaking to a female after being assaulted by a female.

DVConnect focuses on physical assault by male-bodied people against female-bodied people, almost to the exclusion of all else.

DVConnect also regards cases without proof of physical assault as being of less importance. But professionals often identify the emotional abuse and psychological impact of domestic violence to be the most difficult aspect to endure. These are also frequently compounded by financial abuse that limits the survivor’s options to escape.

Asking for help is a difficult step and DVConnect seems to help ensure the abusers maintain control of their victims.

For the transgender and gender diverse community, LGBTI law enforcement officers are difficult to connect with.

The primary line of support, Q-life (1800 184 527), is only funded to operate from 3pm to midnight — statistically, the worst domestic violence happens in the early hours of the morning. That’s a long wait for a sympathetic ear.

Emergency accommodation and transitional housing is critically important right now. Yet, transphobic support agencies can and do block transgender people from accessing these services or, at the very least, slow the process down significantly when time is of the essence.

Despite the statistics demonstrating a growing need, there are only some services for women and fewer for men. It is as if trans-exclusionary people have a stranglehold on the crisis accommodation for people needing to escape.

Meanwhile, where are Centrelink’s social workers? Or any government-funded support agencies to help people avoid homelessness during the COVID-19 lockdown?

Domestic violence survivors and people who have recently been raped should not be forced into making a choice between living with their rapist or facing homelessness and COVID-19.

[Liv Petrakis is a transfeminist radio DJ on Zed digital based in Brisbane, Queensland. Their host a weekly show called Dr Bionic, under the name of DJ Orchard. It seeks to amplify the voices of non-binary and psych-diagnosed people.]