True Colours Medical Research Fund - Improving Transgender Health

  • Project Leader

    Dr Ada Cheung
    T: + 61 3 9496 2260
    E: tc-admin@unimelb.edu.au
    Location: Austin Health, Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital

Project Details

True Colours Medical ResearchAdvancing Healthcare for Trans and Gender Diverse Individuals

Transgender individuals receive a substandard level of healthcare, and we want to change this. As there is very little good quality medical research in the field to guide clinical care, our research aims to provide essential, evidence-based information on the psychological, social and physiological impact, as well as effectiveness and safety, of cross-sex hormones in the transgender population. The True Colours Medical Research Fund has recently been established to improve transgender health through medical research, education and advocacy, and is currently 100% crowdfunded by the public. We need your help!

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Why Study This?

Because we can prevent deaths, improve quality of life and allow transgender individuals to live to their true potential; to improve health, functioning and productivity in all aspects of life.

Cross-sex hormone therapy, can relieve the severe distress when someone’s physical appearance does not match their inner self identity (known as Gender Dysphoria).  It is this severe distress that is associated with an unacceptably high rate of depression and suicide in transgender individuals. As part of a number of treatments, hormones to masculinise (i.e testosterone) or feminise (i.e. oestrogen) play an important role to allow an individual to live to their true potential. But, how does hormone therapy improve psychological health? Which hormonal treatments work best? One drug or two? How fast? What are the side-effects? Is this safe?

Medical research can, and will answer these questions.

Gender is a spectrum and gender dysphoria (identifying as transgender) is biological. It is not a choice. It occurs from birth in approximately 1 in 1000 people from all walks of life. In Melbourne alone, over the last 2 years the number of transgender individuals seeking health services has sky-rocketed. We urgently need evidence-based treatments, backed by good research to treat these individuals, who often need this treatment lifelong, in the best way possible.

Who Are We?

We are a progressive team of researchers based at The University of Melbourne/Austin Hospital dedicated to promoting health and equality through leading medical research, excellence in clinical care, teaching and advocacy. Our vision is to improve transgender healthcare, and the True Colours Medical Research Fund has been set up to solely focus on this goal.  Our studies aim to document the safety of administering cross-sex hormones for gender transition, as well as evaluate its impact on mental health, psychological well-being, and metabolic or physiological parameters.

Our research group has an established track record in conducting well-designed clinical studies and basic science research in the use of testosterone and oestrogen, and are members of national and international Endocrine societies as well as the Australian and New Zealand Professional Association for Transgender Health.

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What are funds used for?

We are not-for-profit and 100% of funds go to direct research costs.

Our research themes include understanding cross-sex hormone therapy on

  • Psychological health and well-being
  • Cognition (i.e. memory, attention, thought processes)
  • Social functioning
  • Physical health including benefits and potential long-term side-effects such as osteoporosis, diabetes, aging and cancer.
  • Genomics

You can help make a difference

  • Donate now. Every cent counts and no donation is too small. All donations over $2 will be tax deductible.
  • Share this page on facebook, twitter and social media. Spread the word!
  • Volunteer to help fundraise.
  • Volunteer to be a research study participant. Interested in finding out how much body fat you have? Or how strong your bones are? We are seeking control participants without gender dysphoria from members of the wider community. Of course, we are also seeking transgender individuals who are commencing medical treatment to align their physical bodies with their gender identity and alleviate gender dysphoria and its associated negative effects, including anxiety, depression and substance abuse.Contact us at tc-admin@unimelb.edu.au

Thank you very much for your support.

Donate now

Researchers

Dr Ada Cheung, Endocrinologist and Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr Ingrid Bretherton, Endocrinology Advanced Trainee and PhD Student

Ms Olivia Ooi, MD Research Project Student

Professor Jeffrey Zajac, Director of Endocrinology and Chair of Academic Medicine

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Group

Endocrinology Research



Faculty Research Themes

Neuroscience

School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry, Integrated Critical Medicine



Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Medicine and Radiology