Transgenderism in the Northern Territory Online Survey: Summary of Results

To date, little to no research has been conducted on the health and wellbeing status of transgender Northern Territorians. Research which has been conducted on the health and wellbeing status of transgender Australians rarely, if ever, includes Northern Territorians.

In mid-2014, Dr Stephen Kerry, a researcher at Charles Darwin University, conducted an online survey as part of the first phase of a research project on the health and wellbeing of transgender Northern Territorians.

In total 9 people completed the survey. The following outlines some of the key features of their responses.

Gender identifies: Transwoman, Man, Transman, Transgendered, FTM, Genderqueer and Sistergirl.

Sexual orientation: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, and Straight.

Ethnicity: Six identified as White/Caucasian and two identified as Aboriginal / TSI.

Age: Seven were between the ages of 25 – 45, and two were over 45.

Location: Seven currently lived in the NT, most of whom lived in/near Darwin and Alice Springs.

Education/Occupation: Five had a university education and the remainder varied between junior/secondary high school or TAFE qualifications. A variety of occupations were held, including working with computers, community services, education, healthcare, sales, and construction.

Religion: Two identified as religious and five did not. Of those who did not three described themselves as spiritual.

Relationships: Four were currently single (most of whom had been for decades) and five were in relationships (ranging from a few months to over five years). Three had children. Only two lived alone, the remainder were in variety of living arrangements (partners, family, friends).

Family: Most described their relationships with parents as either ‘very good’ or ‘poor’. Relationships with siblings were described to be more ‘average’. However, the more siblings someone had (up to six in some cases) the worse those relationships were described.

Health: Most described their physical and mental health as good. This reporting was consisted with a ‘wellness’ test which was part of the survey. Those, in the wellness test, who showed some sign of mental illness did so only ‘moderately’ or ‘mildly’.

Sex change: Four had changed their gender on formal documents, five had undergone hormone therapy, and three had undergone sex reassignment (all of whom were pleased with the results).


Life in NT: People wanted more of a sense of community around them and support in the form of medical, family, and people who are similar to themselves. Some found this support while living in the NT, mainly through LGBTI organisations and groups. Others have not found any support.

When asked how ‘transfriendly’ is the NT, a variety of responses were received, ranging from ‘very friendly’ to ‘unfriendly’. Friend networks, LGBTI organisations, and ‘passing’ as non-trans were cited as positive experiences. Conversely, when asked to list issues facing transgender people in the NT, the lack of social activities and medical/psychological support during transitioning (especially in remote areas) were suggested.

At least half who answered these questions reported experiencing discrimination, verbal abuse, physical violence, and being sexually assaulted. This included workplace discrimination, racial abuse, domestic violence, and public incidents involving third-party intoxication.

I would like to extend my personal thanks to those individuals who shared their experiences in the survey.

Dr Stephen Kerry
Lecturer in Sociology
08 8946 6956
School of Creative Arts & Humanities
Charles Darwin University, Darwin NT 0909