A person holding up their phone to view the TRANSform enrolment page.

Ongoing Research

 

TRANSform

 
Banner advertising the longitudinal gender study called TRANSform.
 

What is Involved?

TRANSform is an ongoing research project designed to investigate the health and wellbeing experiences of the Australian trans, gender diverse and non-binary (TGDNB) community. Participants will first complete an enrolment survey, which includes demographic information and your email address. Occasionally you will be invited by email to participate in a survey that is relevant to you (for example, people using testosterone for gender affirmation may be asked to participate in a survey about testosterone use). All surveys are optional and voluntary – if you do not want to participate you ignore the email. We will also occasionally send you research updates, including details of any publications and government or media engagement, so that you can see the outcomes of your research involvement. You can also opt out of TRANSform at any time.

Participants

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.

Aims

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. Studies exploring estradiol dose and well-being outcomes, and pelvic pain in people using testosterone therapy are currently under peer review. Ongoing or future sub-studies of TRANSform include an interview-based exploration of experiences and support around suicidality, and a survey exploring gender identity formation, disclosure, and affirmation.

Collaborations

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

 
A person standing outdoors with a towel around their neck
 

What is Involved?

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.

Participants

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.

Aims

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.

 
 

Hair and HRT Study

 
A hairdresser using a hairdryer and a brush on a customer's hair.
 

What is Involved?

Hair is a really important part of gender expression and identity and can be significantly affected by hormone therapy. It is thought that testosterone therapy will cause a degree of male-pattern hair loss and that estrogen hormone therapy will regrow scalp hair. This study involves two visits (at baseline and then after 6 months) for novel computerised hair photography which measures hair counts and density. Participants will see a dermatologist for the assessments without charge at Sinclair Dermatology in East Melbourne.

Participants

We are recruiting trans people newly starting gender affirming hormone therapy (or have started within the last 4 weeks).

Aims

Our goal is to describe the impact of gender-affirming hormone therapy in transgender individuals on hair growth on the scalp and face.

Benefits for Participants

Hair assessments.