2018 Australian Trans and Gender Diverse Sexual Health Survey: Report of Findings

In 2018, the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney in collaboration with community advocates, clinicians and researchers from across Australia conducted the first national survey of sexual health among transgender (‘trans’) and gender diverse people. The survey was the largest study of trans and gender diverse people to have been conducted to date in Australia. 

This report of findings provides an overview of data collected via the inaugural Australian Trans and Gender Diverse Sexual Health Survey.

Sex and romance are crucial aspects of most people’s lives, and yet little is known about how these are expressed and experienced by trans and gender diverse people. Although Australia boasts several large health studies that feature trans and gender diverse people, this research has focused mainly on the domains of mental and physical health. Australia also has hosted several large studies of sex and sexuality, but these have failed to meaningfully account for trans and gender diverse populations 

This research has highlighted the need for specific attention to the sexual health and well-being of trans and gender diverse (TGD) populations, including HIV and other STIs testing, treatment and prevention, access to comprehensive sexual health care, experiences of stigma and discrimination, access to gender affirming healthcare, and meaningful inclusion in sexual health related policy frameworks. Importantly, these diverse factors often point to, and intersect with, pronounced disparities in the overall health and well-being of trans and gender diverse people.

Key findings
  • The final sample of 1,613 represents a completion rate of 84.0%. Our survey yielded one of the highest response rates for a TGD-focused health study ever conducted.
  • There is an urgent need to prioritise health resources and services that could improve the sexual health and well-being of Australia’s trans and gender diverse populations
  • Trans and gender diverse people have unique experiences of sex and sexual health, they also engage in a wide range of sexual practices, get married and divorced, and form partnerships with people of all genders. Just like cis people do. 
  • Trans and gender diverse people reported experiencing very high rates of marginalisation in sexual health care because of their gender. Less than half of participants said they’d experienced inclusive sexual health care and this was associated with lower testing rates amongst sexually active participants
  • Only half of the participants (54.9% and 57.6% respectively) who’d ever had HIV (51.5%) and STI (63.9%) tests reported testing in the last twelve months while most reported inconsistent condom use with casual partners. These factors, along with poor experiences in sexual health care, low uptake of PrEP and barriers to gender affirmation services present significantly heightened vulnerability to HIV and STIs