Apr 28 2019
As Director of the RCH Gender Service, Michelle has been instrumental in its development and expansion since 2012. She is a strong advocate for legal change and improved access to medical and mental health care for transgender and gender diverse children and adolescents in Australia.
Michelle has helped redefine standards of care, lobbied for legal change, and worked tirelessly to improve the access to medical and mental health care for transgender and gender diverse children and their families. Listen to JOY FM’s Clayton and guest host Jo Hirst interview Michelle to learn more about her work and the Australian Standards of Treatment and Care for Trans Children and Adolescents.
Image: Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne
Feb 10 2019
“As the new school year begins, GLAAD is highlighting kids and family resources that accelerate acceptance for LGBTQ people. Jo Hirst’s recent children’s book, A House For Everyone, offers an inclusive perspective on teaching children about gender expression, gender identity, and gender acceptance. Hirst, a former primary teacher based in Melbourne, is an active advocate, supporting families of gender diverse children all throughout Australia. Her latest book brings together a group of friends who challenge the traditional gender binary at such a young age.”
Read more of GLAAD’s response to “A House for Everyone”..
Dec 17 2018
“First Day follows main character Hannah as she finishes primary school and begins her secondary schooling. Hannah experiences all the excitement and fear associated with this transition, but her first day of high school is even more significant: it’s the first day she will wear a girl’s uniform to school and go by her chosen name, rather than the boy’s name she was given at birth.”
image: Australian Children’s Television Foundation
The producers of this acclaimed movie have released a Teacher’s Toolkit, a Free Download.
Nov 28 2018
“Like other parents of transgender children, I support my child because I love him and I want him to be happy. Also like other parents, I support and affirm him on the advice of my child’s paediatrician and psychologist. They give this advice because they have knowledge that is based on years of solid research, experience and evidence.”
Seeking an explanation for the rejection of Safe Schools and support for transgender children in our schools. Read more..
Nov 7 2018
GLOBE Community Awards nominee for Ally of the Year and author of children’s book The Gender Fairy, Jo Hirst, drops in for a chat at JOYFM. You can hear the conversation here..
Nov 4 2018
Growing up Transgender” reviews A House for Everyone and chats to Jo about the book and how it was crafted to reach out to diversity beyond stereotypes.
“Jo Hirst’s book, A House for Everyone, is a revelation. The picture book tells the story of a group of friends who are gender diverse. Together, they build a tree house and each child is introduced to the reader in turn. It is a simple and short book with delightful art. There is a strong and fast girl who has short hair and never wears dresses, a trans boy, a non binary child, a boy who loves dresses, and a boy with long hair who likes art, flowers and sport.”
Read this review and the interview with author Jo Hirst
Oct 14 2018
“Benjamin speaks with Jo Hirst, a former primary school teacher who wrote the Australian picture book for transgender children, The Gender Fairy, followed up by A House For Everyone. He explores her story and her views on raising transgender children.”
Sep 11 2018
We do need to let our kids be kids – and embracing young trans and gender-diverse children in their school environments is doing just that.
Our brand new Prime Minister weighed in Trump-style on the subject of young trans kids at school this morning and, to be honest, I could not agree with him more.
His comments were made in response to a Daily Telegraph article about supporting young trans and gender diverse children; he suggested we simply “let kids be kids”.
Sep 11 2018
When asked to write an article about what it’s like to parent a young transgender child, I’m tempted to say it’s easy.
And in a way, it is. You love and accept your child for who they are. It’s what most of us as parents do.
That’s why I’m frustrated when people say to me “you are such a wonderful mum for supporting your trans child”.
While it’s often said to parents of trans kids with the best of intentions, it does somehow insinuate that it’s harder to love a trans child or that supporting them wouldn’t be the natural instinct of any loving parent.
It’s not a parenting choice I’ve made, it’s just the reality of who my child is. He happens to be transgender and he’s gorgeous.
Jul 30 2018
Join Jo Hirst, JOY FM’s Clayton and Dr Michelle Telfer of the Melbourne Royal Children’s Hospital Gender Service as they discuss the Australian Standards of Treatment and Care for Trans Children and Adolescents.
You can find the podcast on the JOY FM podcast page..
May 22 2018
This is the second book from Jo Hirst, author and mother of a trans child. She is a board member of the group Parents of Gender Diverse Children and a well-known trans advocate in Australia, where she lives. Here, she reflects on the importance of having books like ‘A House for Everyone,’ that break down gender stereotypes and encourage children to be who they want to be.
All children deserve to see themselves reflected in picture books. It helps all of us to feel connected to our community and our wider world when we see ourselves included in media, films and books.
May 22 2018
Australian mother and children’s book author Jo Hirst is taking her message of gender diversity and acceptance to the masses, releasing the follow-up to her much-discussed first picture book, The Gender Fairy.
“Because we now have a lot more information that shows supporting transgender and gender diverse kids is the right to thing, we are seeing more schools and teachers and kids crying out for these resources,” Hirst, who has a transgender child, tells SBS Sexuality.
She continues: “But because of our local political climate, nobody’s able to create them.”
May 18 2018
When author and mum of a trans child, Jo Hirst, wrote the groundbreaking book, The Gender Fairy, she wanted to teach kids about gender diversity, but little did she know the impact her book would have.
For years after the book’s release, Hirst and her book became the target of conservative politicians and religious lobby groups. Homophobic commentators would constantly roll out her book as a propaganda tool for the ‘gay agenda’.
Despite the attacks on her character and her work, Hirst, has remained a formidable advocate for gender diverse children in Australia. She’s a board member of the group Parents of Gender Diverse Children and has been published in many respected publications including, The Guardian and Archer magazine.
May 16 2018
As the mother of a transgender child, when I read Nevo Zisin’s autobiography Finding Nevo recently, this line really resonated.
The shock Zisin’s mother experiences when Zisin first reveals they are transgender is a familiar story. I’ve heard it from the mouths of hundreds of other parents and experienced it myself.
If there was one thing I thought I knew for certain about my child and their future, it was their gender. I was wrong.
May 13 2018
Growing up in the 70s, I thought everyone’s mum fixed the mower when it broke down. Mine did. It seemed perfectly natural to me that our fruit bowl always contained a few nuts and bolts and that there was always a spanner or two on our kitchen bench.
From 1975 my mother ran Melbourne’s only handy-woman service. She dressed in paint stained overalls and old brown work boots, and every day she went out to fix doors and windows and wallpaper and paint houses all over the suburbs of south eastern Melbourne. She even converted garages into one bedroom flats. She would arrive to pick us up from school covered in paint and oil stains, shoving us into the back of her beat up old silver work van with her paint cans, tools and ladder. Her van had no windows in the back or seats, let alone seat belts, and had an internal exhaust fan that made us feel sick on the short trip home. She was the happiest mum I knew.
May 8 2018
The words to Macklemore’s ‘Same Love’, being performed during the rugby league grand final telecast, resonated across Sydney Airport. They were cheered on with pride, joy and hope by Australians from all walks of life, united in defence of equality.
En route back to Melbourne, I watched surrounded by other parents of transgender kids, tired yet exhilarated after having spent the weekend at the biennial Australian and New Zealand Professional Association for Transgender Health (ANZPATH) conference.
This year, the conference focused, for the first time, on transgender children and adolescents. Experts from around Australia and beyond congregated to discuss the latest research and evidence on how best to support transgender youth.
Then, bang – an advertisement promoting a ‘No’ vote in the Australian marriage equality postal survey, using as ammunition the children’s book I had written, The Gender Fairy, which centres on two transgender characters.
Nov 3 2016
Right Now: How does your book fill that gap in available resources?
Jo Hirst: There was nothing that represented real children apart from I Am Jazz [an American reality television series] and that was about a girl. My son felt it did not reflect him. Also there was nothing that tackled the questions that most transgender and gender diverse kids have. “Am I normal?” “Am I the only one?” “Can I use the right toilet?”
There was a great need for a book with notes for parent and teachers, as this is still such a little understood area. The feedback is that the book and the notes have been really helpful. I get some beautiful messages from parents and educators.
I’ve had lots of older transgender teenagers tell me that they wish The Gender Fairy had been around when they were younger as it would have given them the language they needed to express themselves to their parents and get help earlier.
Nov 1 2016
While the nation’s eyes have been on federal parliament bickering over the marriage equality plebiscite this week, another critical LGBTI debate began in the Victorian Legislative Assembly.
It won’t mean much to most Victorians, but to an estimated 4 per cent of the population it means everything. It’s certainly significant for my little boy, who’s transgender. He recently told me it would mean more to him than food.
Sep 30 2016
RIGHT now, in homes all over Australia suburban mums are waging an almighty street fight. One day, someone will probably make a feature film about it. But for now, they are fighting in schools, courts, medical clinics, sporting clubs and even in the corridors of power in Canberra.
These are the mothers of transgender children.
The way they see it, there’s no other choice. The futures of their kids hang in the balance and society must change to accept them.
Mar 6 2016
Australia is the only Western country where transgender people under the age of 18 must seek court permission to start taking cross-sex hormones. At best, experts say, the delay causes emotional trauma and financial stress. At worst, it’s a matter of life and death.
Dec 1 2015
A new picture book for children is helping kids and their families deal with the issues around gender dysphoria.
Some parents of transgender children believe there is a lack of information to help them deal with their child’s gender issues and for young children, resources are even more scarce.
Explore the site of the highly acclaimed children’s book “The Gender Fairy”. Experts have praised this work and it’s potential help and educate transgender children, their peers, educators and parents.