This is an ongoing research project designed to investigate the health and wellbeing experiences of the Australian trans and gender-diverse community.
STEP 1: Complete the TRANSform enrolment survey, which includes demographic information and your email address.
STEP 2: Keep an eye out for email invitations to participate in TRANSform surveys and interview-based studies. All these studies are voluntary - if you do not want to participate, ignore the email.
We like to keep everyone updated on the progress of the research they have participated in. Several times a year you will also receive research update emails from us. These will detail any publications and government or media engagement. You can opt out of TRANSform at any time, no questions asked.
We are recruiting individuals aged 16 years and above who have a gender that is different from what was presumed for them at birth, including (but not limited to) trans, gender-diverse, and non-binary gender identities, or have a cultural gender identity different to man or woman. All participants will go into a draw to win one of 50 x $100 Giftpay vouchers that can be redeemed at a variety of stores and services.
The purpose of TRANSform is to provide robust, accurate, relevant, and current information which will provide insight into the health needs of trans people across the lifespan and guide future policy and planning of gender-affirming and general health care services. As a trans-led project, TRANSform also raises the profile of community-led research and provides opportunities for trans researchers.
What Has Been Achieved So Far?
Since its launch in May 2020, four sub-surveys have been completed as part of TRANSform. We have run two surveys (2020, 2022) to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the trans community. Results have been published in the International Journal of Transgender Health, the Trans in the Pandemic Report, featured by ABC News and SBS, and presented to numerous LGBTIQA+ organisations and government representatives. Our study on pelvic pain in people using testosterone therapy has been published in LGBT Health, and an accompanying blog post has been shared widely by LGBTIQA+ organisations and support groups. Another study exploring estradiol dose and wellbeing outcomes is currently under peer review. Ongoing or future sub-studies of TRANSform focus on experiences and support around suicidality, the development of the first-ever gender euphoria scale, and barriers and facilitators to participation in sport and fitness.
We invite collaborating researchers who may seek to analyse existing data or to perform a new sub-study/survey as part of TRANSform to express interest via the Collaborate button. Expression of interest forms will be initially submitted to Sav Zwickl then reviewed by the investigative team to assess scientific validity and appropriateness of data use. All projects must directly contribute to improving the health or well-being of the community or contribute to the education or training of a trans researcher. Investigators will provide written feedback and subsequent ethical approval will need to be obtained.
Fitness and HRT Study
This world-first study will follow people over the first 12 months of gender affirming hormones to monitor muscle strength, fitness and power (based at the specialised elite sports facility at Victoria University in Footscray). Monitoring includes exercise testing, blood and muscle sample collections, and body composition scans over 1 year. It is estimated that participants will have to attend 6-9 sessions.
We are recruiting trans people who are about to commence full-dose gender affirming hormones (testosterone OR estradiol) from beginning (before starting) to 12 months. We are also recruiting people (trans and cis) who are not on any hormones as a comparison group.
Our goal is to understand the impact of HRT on muscle strength and fitness, to inform sporting policy guidelines internationally.
Benefits for Participants
Free fitness tests and body composition.
Micronised Progesterone Study
Study visits will be conducted at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital in Heidelberg, Victoria. Participants will continue their usual estrogen therapy, but will be asked to temporarily stop any testosterone blockers for 2 months. For 1 month, participants will be randomised to either receiving high-dose micronised progesterone (300mg) or placebo in addition to their usual estradiol therapy. For the 2nd month, participants will be given the other option (placebo or micronised progesterone). After 2 months, participants will resume their usual treatment. Micronised progesterone or placebo capsules will be supplied without charge during the study.
We are seeking trans people, assigned male at birth, who are already using gender-affirming hormone therapy. We need research participants who have been on hormone therapy for a minimum of 6 months, are happy to stop their testosterone blocker (antiandrogen) for 2 months during the study, and have not previously used micronised progesterone before. That includes Prometrium and others.
We are aiming to assess the effectiveness of micronised progesterone. We will be studying the effect of high-dose micronised progesterone on sleep, psychological distress, and testosterone levels.
Minoxidil for Hair Study
This study involves at least 6 face-to-face visits over 24 weeks at Sinclair Dermatology in East Richmond, Victoria. Participants will be randomly allocated to receive sublingual minoxidil or placebo while they continue their testosterone therapy. At each study visit, they will be required to have photos of their scalp taken with a camera as well as magnified photos of their hair at the front and back.
We are seeking trans individuals, assigned female at birth, who are already on testosterone therapy and have hair loss/hair thinning from their testosterone treatment. Participants can continue their testosterone during this study. Participants should feel comfortable with having a small temporary tattoo dots (1mm size) placed on their scalp and a small part of the back of their scalp (size of 20 cent coin) clipped.
We are wanting to assess the effectiveness of minoxidil, taken under the tongue, in improving hair density and quality of life for trans people who suffer from patterned hair loss/hair thinning due to their testosterone treatment.
Benefits for Participants
Free photographs of the scalp to monitor hair loss/hair thinning, assessment of scalp hairs using computerised artificial intelligence and potential sublingual minoxidil free of charge.