ESSA May 2024 – Trans & Gender Diverse Exercise Opportunities

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Exercise for Trans and Gender Diverse Young People

Program Team: Felicity Austin, A/Prof Bonnie Furzer, Dr. Kemi Wright, Benjamin Quick, Greta Edwards, Kayleen Russell, Benjamin Kramer, Thriving Youth Advisory Committee and Team Thriving Exercise Instructors.

The need for inclusive and safe exercise environments is more pressing than ever, particularly for trans and gender diverse young people. The initiative “Move It for Trans and Gender Diverse Young Folk” spearheaded by our dedicated team aims to fill this gap by providing exercise opportunities that cater specifically to the needs of trans individuals.

Trans and gender diverse youth face significant barriers in accessing exercise spaces where they feel safe and affirmed. One in four trans young people limit their exercise participation due to their gender identity. Moreover, 82% of them would like to participate in physical activities but are hindered by individual, environmental, or social barriers. (see Trans Pathways Report)

The “Move It” program is designed to be safe, fun, and non-competitive, emphasising the importance of creating a gender-affirming environment. Involving trans and gender diverse role models and community members has proven essential in fostering a supportive atmosphere that encourages participation.

Exercise professionals participating in this program are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to address the complex needs of these youth. This includes specialised training in screening and assessment to ensure that each participant’s unique circumstances are considered (check out a recent scoping review of trans youth participation).

The initiative is supported by Healthway, WA Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, and Stan Perron Charitable Foundation.

Looking ahead, the Thriving education course on Inclusive Exercise Practice, set to be available in the second half of 2024, will further educate exercise professionals on accommodating not only trans and gender diverse individuals but also those who are neurodivergent.

This program is more than just about exercise; it’s about building a community that uplifts and supports its most vulnerable members, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to lead a healthy and active life.

The Thriving education ‘Inclusive Exercise Practice for Trans and Gender Diverse, and Neurodivergent Young People’ will be available in the second half of 2024. If you would like to find out more, register interest or make a referral, follow this link to get in touch: