Saturday Magazine

6 Jul 2024

Saturday 6th July, 2024: Son Vivienne – CEO at Transgender Victoria; The Unsaid Says a A Lot Campaign

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Macca and Nevena talk to Son Vivienne – CEO at Transgender Victoria. Son is non-binary, trans-masc, gender-queer, pansexual and also identifies as a ‘not young’ parent of two awesome kids. Son has white working-class roots in far north Queensland and regional South Australia and both bio and chosen family of Arrernte and Ngarrindjeri descent, and can speak in detail to the intersections between parenting and LGBTQIA+ rights.

The campaign has been supported by a body of research and findings from a national survey by La Trobe University revealing tha discrimination, stigma, and unequal treatment are commonplace for trans and gender diverse Victorians – can you please tell us more about what this research uncovered?

The first Government-led campaign ofits kind to existin Australia, The Unsaid Says a Lotis a
key component of Pride in our Future: Victoria’s LGBTIQA+ strategy 2022-32, which is
dedicated to promoting equality and inclusivity for LGBTQIA+ communities across the
state. The campaign highlights the often overlooked, non-verbal cues and
microaggressions which contribute to a culture of discrimination and exclusion for
LGBTQIA+ communities, and take place alongside the blatant physical expressions of
discrimination and reduced opportunities that LGBTQIA+ communities endure.
Supported by a body ofresearch revealing that discrimination, stigma, and unequal
treatment are commonplace fortrans and gender diverse Victorians,the campaign draws
on findings from a national survey by La Trobe University. The research found that more than
3 in 4 trans and gender diverse people were treated unfairly because oftheir gender
identity in the preceding 12 months. This contributes to higher rates of depression, anxiety
and suicide in LGBTIQA+ people than in the general population.
Leveraging a series of creative campaign materials such as videos and posters, social
media initiatives, and community engagement activities designed to foster empathy and
inclusivity, developed in collaboration with a co-design committee,the campaign
emphasises the significantimpactthat seemingly minor moments can have on the
well-being and mental health oftrans and gender diverse individuals.

Creative inclusive communications specialist agency Think HQ led the co-design
approach which included Victorian trans and gender diverse people.
The campaign was brought to life by Victorian-based director, actor, writer, producer and
trans-person Harvey Zielinski (he/him). Harvey said “I think this campaign is really important
and powerful and I’m really pleased to be involved, especially in light of the vitriol we’ve
witnessed towards the trans and gender diverse community over the past year. I wish we
didn’t need to campaign for respect. I believe acceptance and inclusion should be a given,
a bare minimum societally. I hope campaigns like this help work towards this goal, and
improve the day-to-day lives of trans and gender-diverse people.”

Minister for Equality, Harriet Shing, said The Unsaid Says A Lot campaign would help people
see the impact of everyday discrimination experienced by trans and gender diverse
communities, stating, “This campaign is all about encouraging people to stop and think
about how their actions towards trans and gender diverse people can make a huge
difference – for better orfor worse. We know that our interactions with others really matter,
and this campaign is part of our ongoing work to reduce discrimination and stigma, and to
contribute to more inclusive connections for trans and gender diverse people.”

Minister Shing continues, “With this campaign we are inviting all Victorians to think about
how they act and whatthey can do to help shape equality in our state.”

The campaign concept draws on the understanding that 93 per cent of communication is
non-verbal – facial expressions, body language, gestures, eye contact and space can say
exactly what people think, without saying it. The campaign is inspired by real stories and
experiences from the community, illustrating how these small moments of bias add up to a
larger, pervasive culture of exclusion.