‘The unsaid says a lot’ campaign making Trans visible

Trans couple

The Victorian Government is proud to announce the launch of The Unsaid Says a Lot, a groundbreaking campaign aimed at raising public awareness about the everyday discrimination faced by trans and gender diverse communities and driving systemic change.

This campaign is the first government-led initiative of its kind in Australia and is a crucial part of Pride in our Future: Victoria’s LGBTIQA+ strategy 2022-32, which is dedicated to promoting equality and inclusivity for LGBTQIA+ communities across the state. The campaign highlights the often overlooked, non-verbal cues and microaggressions that contribute to a culture of discrimination and exclusion for LGBTQIA+ communities and takes place alongside the blatant physical expressions of discrimination and reduced opportunities that these communities endure.

The campaign is supported by research revealing that discrimination, stigma, and unequal treatment are commonplace for trans and gender diverse Victorians. Findings from a national survey by La Trobe University show that more than three in four trans and gender diverse people were treated unfairly because of their gender identity in the preceding 12 months. This discrimination contributes to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide among LGBTIQA+ people compared to the general population. Leveraging a series of creative campaign materials such as videos, posters, social media initiatives, and community engagement activities designed to foster empathy and inclusivity, the campaign aims to emphasise the significant impact that seemingly minor moments can have on the well-being and mental health of trans and gender diverse individuals.

Creative inclusive communications specialist agency Think HQ led the co-design approach, which included input from Victorian trans and gender diverse people. The campaign was brought to life by Victorian-based director, actor, writer, producer, and trans person Harvey Zielinski (he/him). Harvey expressed, “I think this campaign is really important and powerful and I’m really pleased to be involved, especially in light of the vitriol we’ve witnessed towards the trans and gender diverse community over the past year. I wish we didn’t need to campaign for respect. I believe acceptance and inclusion should be a given, a bare minimum societally. I hope campaigns like this help work towards this goal and improve the day-to-day lives of trans and gender-diverse people.”

Minister for Equality, Harriet Shing, stated that The Unsaid Says A Lot campaign would help people see the impact of everyday discrimination experienced by trans and gender diverse communities. She said, “This campaign is all about encouraging people to stop and think about how their actions towards trans and gender diverse people can make a huge difference – for better or for worse. We know that our interactions with others really matter, and this campaign is part of our ongoing work to reduce discrimination and stigma, and to contribute to more inclusive connections for trans and gender diverse people.” Minister Shing continued, “With this campaign we are inviting all Victorians to think about how they act and what they can do to help shape equality in our state.”

The campaign concept draws on the understanding that 93 per cent of communication is non-verbal – facial expressions, body language, gestures, eye contact, and space can say exactly what people think, without uttering a word. Inspired by real stories and experiences from the community, the campaign illustrates how these small moments of bias add up to a larger, pervasive culture of exclusion. The Victorian Government has invested in developing awareness-raising campaigns as an early action from Pride in our Future: Victoria’s LGBTIQA+ strategy 2022-32. Visit vic.gov.au/theunsaid to learn more about trans and gender diverse communities.