Transfamily is a peer support group for parents, siblings, children, extended family, partners, and friends of trans and gender diverse people.
We offer a warm and understanding environment for friends and family of trans and gender diverse people to share experiences, ask questions, seek advice and support.
Transfamily is based in Melbourne, Victoria where the group meets monthly, however support is extended and offered to the wider Victorian and Australian population whenever possible.
Provide peer support for family, partners, friends and loved ones, as they journey with trans and gender diverse people.
Transfamily is a compassionate, inclusive and embracing community which provides peer support in a safe environment, for family, partners, friends and loved ones as they journey with their trans and gender diverse people. Transfamily is an agent of empowerment via education and advocacy.
I found Transfamily meetings a safe, accepting and supportive place for me to share experiences while our transgender son began his transition journey. I learnt more about trans and gender diverse experience through other families and gender health practitioners. It was helpful to know that our family was one of many travelling a similar path, and that this would lead to positive outcomes for our son. Hearing directly from trans and gender diverse people and becoming aware of their community activities was valuable. Speaking about our son and using correct pronouns was an important skill that I could practice at regular meetings.
Advice given on this website is a general nature. Consider whether it suits the specific circumstances of you and your loved ones.
Transfamily Inc is incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (Vic) IAN A0109182G ABN 12106109501. We are run by an elected committee of 9. Our rules are located further down this page.
Guidelines for Transfamily Support Group
To maintain confidentiality and safety we ask that no-one mention the names or specific identifying details of anyone in the group to anyone outside the group. ‘What we say here; stays here.’
It is important that everyone feels the group time is a shared time, and that no one person or situation monopolises the group time. Please keep sharing to about five minutes, if there are many people attending.
It is useful to try to be aware of where other people are at emotionally, or in their life situation. What works for one person may not work for another.
Avoid giving advice
Rather than offer advice, it can be more useful to share experiences with each other, using ‘I’ statements, for example, ‘I found that what worked for me was…’
The 'default setting' is to not give advice. The exception is where a participant expressly states 'I would like some advice' in which case, give as needed.
Respect and Acceptance
We ask all members to treat each other with respect and acceptance regarding diversity in sexuality, lifestyle choices, relationship choices or any other perceived differences.
We also value everyone’s story. This refers to whether trans and gender diverse person and loved one are going well, struggling or any point in between.
Emotional Safety and Responsibility
It is the intention of the group to create a safe and supportive space for each other. If something is said that you find offensive or emotionally unsafe, we ask that you take responsibility for yourself and speak up. A possible way to bring this up is to ask the group how it feels about the comment, in order to open up discussion and create a culture of mutual support. It can also be helpful to speak about it with someone in the group, later on.
Creed for Transfamily Support Groups
We are a group of people with a common bond, sharing our troubles, experiences, understanding, strength and wisdom.
We listen, explore options and express our feelings.
We do not give advice.
We are accepting and non-judgemental to group members.
We know what we share is confidential. We have the right to remain anonymous if we choose.
We have the right to take part in any discussion or not.
We each have the right and opportunity to equal talking time and the right to remain silent. It is important that we actively listen when someone is talking and avoid side conversations.
We encourage ‘I’ statements, so that everyone speaks in the first person.
We each share the responsibility for making the group work. Having benefited from the help of others, we recognise the need for offering our help to others in the support group.
The story of Transfamily really begins in the late 1990s when co-founder Lynette’s adult-aged child needed to affirm her gender identity. Lynette looked everywhere for a group to support family members but the only one she found was in Sydney. In those long-ago days of dial-up internet and expensive flights that wasn’t an option.
All the same, Lynette held to her vision of a Melbourne-based group and it finally began to take shape during 2013. Lynette discovered the fabulous Opening Doors social inclusion and strengths-based learning program and enrolled in it for 2013. In the meantime, Sally Goldner (AM) was working at a Melbourne community organisation with Sarah Burton who had completed the course in 2012.
One day, while both Sally and Sarah were in the office, a visitor dropped in: Opening Doors program co-ordinator Alex Mills (whose initials A M definitely stand for altruistic mischief). He suggested Sally undertake the course in 2013. Sally followed her gut and did so although she had no idea why until lunch on the first day of the initial three-day retreat.
A lovely lady, yes... Lynette McDonald (#adoptedmum), came up to her and said, “You’re Sally?” “Yes….” “I’m Lynette…I’m the mother of a trans woman". Alex had been playing community matchmaker! The rest is pretty much history. Carolynne took over from Lyn in 2016 and Transfamily continued to grow. In 2020, due to further growth, Transfamily incorporated under Victorian law.
Acknowledgement of Country
We acknowledge the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung, Taungurong, Dja Dja Wurrung, and Wathaurung peoples of the Kulin Nation as Australia’s First People and Traditional Custodians of the land where we work.