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STARTING THE CONVERSATION: ACON regional outreach service team leader Teddy Cook was in Wagga to talk about trans and gender diverse health. Picture: Les Smith

STARTING THE CONVERSATION: ACON regional outreach service team leader Teddy Cook was in Wagga to talk about trans and gender diverse health. Picture: Les Smith

Teddy Cook spends his days travelling from town to city to coastal abode educating people about HIV and LGBTIQ health.

He is happy to say the rainbow flag flies brightly and proudly in Wagga.

But there is still a long way to go towards educating the community about the transition process.

Mr Cook is the regional outreach team leader for ACON, which specialises in HIV prevention and support and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and questioning (LGBTIQ) health.

He was in Wagga this week to speak as part of Thursday night’s health care pathways panel of experts about trans and gender diverse health.

“The demand for this forum has been made loud and clear,” he said.

“People want to be able to access the care in their home towns, which is really reasonable.

“It alleviates and strengthens someone who is trans to fully engage in their life.”

The panel educated general practitioners about what transgender health care looks like in Wagga, including providing hormone treatments or counselling services for people in transition and their families.

Mr Cook said a lack of access to health care and support needed for people could affect their mental health.

Mr Cook will also be at today’s Queer Conversations as part of the Museum of the Riverina’s We Are Here: Riverina LGBTIQ Stories exhibition.

The event will showcase local LGBTIQ experiences.

“Queer Conversations is such a wonderful opportunity for LGBTIQ and allies to come together to nut out important social and cultural issues that have been presenting themselves over a while,” he said.

“They are a marginalised population that bear the brunt of some shocking and cruel myths … but Wagga has an incredible community of rainbow people who maintain this incredible resilience.

“There’s a really strong, connected and resilient trans community in Wagga.”

Queer Conversations will take place at the Museum of the Riverina’s Historic Council Chambers site from midday to 4pm on October 15.

The afternoon will consist of films, panels, discussion, expert speakers and question and answer sessions.

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