PASH.tm was established in 2014 after four queer trans guys got to talking at the AIDS2014 conference in Melbourne about the invisibility of guys like us (trans men into other men – trans MSM) in the Australian HIV response.
We immediately set about developing a plan and this involved:
1 – finding more trans guys to join us
2 – getting our name out there
3 – creating education campaigns
4 – writing policy position statements
5 – contributing to the evidence base
In the last five years we’ve managed to achieve all of this. It’s been incredible, rewarding and super challenging. We have all worked hard as volunteers with full time jobs and/or full time study obligations.
As we look to the horizon of 2019, some of us are now working in the very few trans-focused positions in Australia, others are working in important health roles and others are continuing their studies, expanding their art practice or getting back into it after surgery and life adventures. We are also all continuing to undertake capacity development and advocacy, often in an unpaid capacity, with a broader focus than the sexual health and HIV needs of trans MSM.
With that in mind, it’s time now for the Peer Advocacy Network for the Sexual Health of Trans Masculinities, PASH.tm, to close.
From a group of motley dudes desperately trying to be seen as the gay men we are, to being a national voice across the HIV sector. We produced, and are so proud of, GRUNT, Australia’s first sexual health campaign and resources for trans men who have sex with other men. We also produced a PrEP campaign, gathered a fierce and predominantly trans-led investigative team for Australia’s first national trans and gender diverse sexual health survey with the findings presented during the opening plenary of the biggest HIV/AIDS and sexual health conference in the country. We have presented at so many conferences and meetings over the last five years. We wrote position statements and made submissions about data collection and PrEP, we advocated successfully for the inclusion of TGD people in the national HIV strategy, and we contributed to global discussions about trans men who have sex with other men claiming our place.
There is still so much work to be done, and we will continue the fight for the health and rights of all trans people, including gender diverse and non-binary people, alongside our sisters, siblings and brothers.
Although our work on PASH.tm specifically is coming to an end, this page will stay open as an ongoing educative and networking resource for our communities.
Thank you so much for all of your support.
Thank you to our HIV positive family, to all the trans men and trans mascs from Australia and abroad who worked with us, participated and contributed to the work, to our trans sisters and trans femmes who guided us and told us to keep going, to Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) for supporting us, and auspicing GRUNT, to all the AIDS organisations and councils, and LGBTQ organisations (NAPWHA, ACON, Thorne Harbour Health, AIDS Action Council, Queensland AIDS Council, WA AIDS Council, Northern Territory AIDS & Hepatitis Council, SHINE SA, SAMESHNational LGBTI Health Alliance and many others) for listening to us and shifting your practice (keep going!), to the HIV and sexual health researchers who stayed curious and interested, who listened and fought hard to adopt our data collection recommendations and who advocated successfully for the research project, to our intersex allies (Intersex Human Rights Australia) who also guided us and built our understanding (we will always fight for you, as you will for us) and finally to all the HIV-vulnerable and affected populations of Australia who have met, seen and supported us. To our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family, our sex workers, drug users and to all the gay, bi and queer cis men who have understood why it is so important that gay, bi and queer trans men are meaningfully, adequately and accurately included.
Lou Sullivan (1951-91), pioneering gay and trans liberation activist who was the first recorded trans man to die of AIDS related illnesses once wrote, “they said I couldn’t live as a gay man, but it looks like I’m going to die like one”. We hope we’ve made a difference so that guys like us can live proudly and safely as gay men.
Ted Cook – co-chair
Jeremy Wiggins – Jez Pez – co-chair
Aram Hosie – Hosie Bear
Max Mackenzie – MJ Beck
Bullying of gay venues
Remember that time when PASH.TM banded together to bully a gay venue for trying to cater to gay men? A number of women were going to a gay spa called Wet on Wellington. WoW sent out a survey to consult with patrons. The trans lobby did NOT like it.
The text of their demand letter is below for posterity.
TW: transphobia & trans exclusionary behaviour
We heard about what has been happening with Wet on Wellington and it was alarming enough to bring us out of hibernation. We wanted to share this community statement that has been created by members of the trans masculine community in response to recent incidents at Wet on Wellington (a sex on premises venue in Melbourne).
Transphobia is never okay. We stand with those who have been hurt by the decisions of the management team at Wet on Wellington and we urge people to read and share this post. This is a time for our cis allies to step up.
This is a call to action to do two simple things:
1. Please share this post and tag Wet on Wellington to raise your concerns about their actions. We call on all people, trans and cis to speak up in support of this statement.
2. Please contact Wet on Wellington direct by writing to their management to express your concerns about the harm that is continuing to occur and request that they listen and take this statement on board. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image description: The two images are photos of the statement, black text on a white background. The statement reads as follows:
Community Statement: regarding Wet on Wellington’s recent trans-exclusionary actions
On the 6th of April, 2021 a number of members of the trans masculine community from various backgrounds came together to discuss the impact of Wet on Wellington’s discriminatory actions related to the rejection of entry of some trans masculine people, the recent creation of a transphobic survey and their subsequent decisions to manage the consequences of the survey.
Those in attendance noted that trans masculine people have a long history of attending Wet on Wellington and other similar venues around Melbourne, but that the recent actions of Wet on Wellington’s management have directly led to making a previously enjoyable experience feel unsafe and inaccessible.
As a result of discussions at that meeting, those in attendance agreed on the following statements:
1. The Wet on Wellington survey was transphobic and caused significant harm to our community. It was unethical and discriminatory and we do not accept that it was a reasonable mechanism to build an inclusive environment. We request that the survey results be destroyed and for Wet on Wellington to discontinue referring to or sharing the results.
2. We do not accept Wet on Wellington’s recent online apology, especially given the following:
a. that trans masculine people have recently been ejected from the venue and are still being refused entry on the basis of being trans;
b. trans masculine people continue to be told that it is a venue for cis men only; and
c. that the venue continues to refer to and share the survey results.
3. We do not support the establishment of Wet on Wellington’s ‘Trans and Gender Diverse Inclusion Reference Group’ because it is unsafe for trans community, was not co-created with trans community, is not consultative, is not listening to trans advocates and is not being led by trans people. We will not participate in it and we call on cis allies and other organisations to stand with us on this.
4. We require a trans-led process, that first requires Wet on Wellington to respectfully listen to and meaningfully engage with trans people.
5. We expect Wet on Wellington to issue a proper apology that has meaning and is accompanied by concrete actions to improve, including the following:
a. Wet on Wellington management and staff to undergo training in both their legal obligations (from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission) and best practice trans inclusion more broadly (from Transgender Victoria)
b. Wet on Wellington to produce and publish a formal policy on trans inclusion specifically, as well as consent and safety policies for all patrons
c. Wet on Wellington to engage in a restorative process with individuals who have been directly impacted and discriminated against, if those individuals wish to engage.
The group also expressed thanks to the cis individuals and organisations who have stood as allies with the trans community on this issue. We respectfully request that going forward all allies support and advocate for the actions detailed in this statement, and refrain from enabling or participating in any processes, groups or activities that are not aligned with the those detailed above.
We would also like to pay respect and express gratitude to Sally Goldner AM for kindly donating her time to facilitate our meeting, and to express our solidarity with trans women and trans feminine and non-binary people who often experience similar exclusion and discrimination, including the recent experiences of those seeking to access the McIver Women’s Baths in Coogee.
• Aram Hosie (Member, Victorian LGBTIQ+ Taskforce; co-Founder PASH.tm; former Board Director Thorne Harbour Health)
• Chris Rohr
• Dee Chryssomallos (Founding Committee, FTM Shed; International Mr Transgender Leather, 2014; Awarded Special Service Award, Thorne Harbour Health, 2020)
• Felix Oni
• Florin Risley Douglas
• Gabe Curtis
• Jeremy Wiggins (Victorian LGBTI Person of the Year 2018, Churchill Fellow 2016, Co-Founder of PASH.tm)
• Jo McMahon
• Dr Julian Grace (Member, Australian Professional Association for Trans Health Education Committee)
• Lex Townsend (Queer Officer, University of Melbourne 2013 – 2015)
• Mary Fox
• N.K Madden
• Nevo Zisin (Author, Finding Nevo (2017) & The Pronoun Lowdown (2021); transgender awareness trainer)
• Ted Cook (Vice President, Australian Professional Association for Trans Health; co-Founder PASH.tm)
(A further 2 people who attended the meeting also support this statement but wish to remain anonymous.)