Gender Trailblazers

  • Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre Terrace 3, 1-25 Harbour St Sydney NSW 2000 Australia

Get with the conversation at Gender Trailblazers. 
Counsellor and gender specialist Dr Elizabeth Riley hosts a riveting night of Trans* community conversation with Andrea James (USA), Stephen Whittle (UK) and Dr Rob Lyons.
The evening will be introduced by Cate McGregor AM, and champion the courageous individuals taking Trans* rights from strength to strength.

The speakers will cross the spectrum of ages and experiences leading to a lively night of  discussion, ideas and outlook for our community.

Join us at the Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre in Darling Harbour for another night of inspiring talks.

Program Outline

Introduction by Cate McGregor AM

Andrea James joins Dr Elizabeth Riley to share her personal journey, thoughts on current issues and detailing her extensive advocacy work. The conversation will also include information and future plans for the TS Roadmap website resource.

Stephen Whittle and Dr Rob Lyons will lead a conversation that will span transgender rights over the last 30 years from an international and local perspective through to Stephen's inspiring personal journey and finishing with a discussion around furthering the legal recognition of Trans* identities.

Dr Elizabeth Riley talks to a special guest about their work with the Trans* community and their inspiring story.

All Panelists
Following on from the IQ2 debate and the issues presented there, a panel of all guests including Cate MCGregor will discuss the feminist and religious challenges to Trans* identities and how individuals such as Andrea and Stephen can make a difference.

Intermission Performance - TBC

+ more to be announced in the days ahead.

Stephen Whittle, OBE, FAcSS, DLaws hc, PhD, MA, LLB, BA

Stephen Whittle is Professor of Equalities Law at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Aged 19, Stephen helped set up the UK’s first local transgender support group in 1975, the same year he transitioned to living as a man. Throughout the 70s and 80s having lost numerous jobs because of being trans, he decided things would only change if trans people became lawyers. He qualified in law in 1990. In 1989. In 1992, Stephen was a co-founder of Press For Change (PFC),[1] the UK's transgender lobbying group. PFC successfully fought cases at the European Court of Human Rights to gain legal recognition for trans people in the Gender Recognition Act 2004. [2] In 2010, PFC also achieved full protection for trans people under the UK’s Equality Laws.[3]

Stephen has been an advisor to the UK, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Hong Kong and South African governments, the European Union, the Council of Europe and the European Commission. He advises lawyers, regularly writes court briefs, and is frequently an expert witness in courts across the world. He has received a great deal of recognition for is activist and academic work including, in 2005, being made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE, 2005), in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list,  for his work on transgender rights.

Stephen and his wife Sarah married in 2005 after Stephen gained legal recognition as a man, but have been together for over 36 years. They have 4 children by donor insemination; the 2 oldest are now both studying music at University.


[2] The Gender Recognition Act 2004

[3] The Equality Act 2010,

Andrea James 

Andrea James is an American writer, director, producer, and activist focusing on transgender issues. After graduating with a Master’s Degree in English from University of Chicago, she wrote ads for ten years at top Chicago agencies. Andrea recognized the importance of the internet for the transgender community in the 1990s. In 1995 she began publishing consumer information online, eventually creating the website to help others transition.

In 2003, she co-founded Deep Stealth Productions to counter the dismal depiction of trans people in the media with more accurate and positive portrayals. Andrea stars in the popular instructional video “Finding Your Female Voice” and has produced and directed videos on transgender beauty and coming out. She produced Deep Stealth’s sold-out V-Day LA 2004 benefit production of The Vagina Monologues, under the direct guidance of playwright Eve Ensler and mentor Jane Fonda. The event was featured in the documentary Beautiful Daughters.

Her work as a voice coach for trans women led to consulting with star Felicity Huffman for the feature film Transamerica, and Andrea is the opening shot of that film. Other film and television appearances include talk shows, the documentaries Middle Sexes and Bullied, and the competitive dating show Transamerican Love Story, the first to feature an out trans bachelorette.

She has directed several films and series including “Casting Pearls,” about transgender casting controversies, and “Transproofed,” about transgender dating and disclosure. She directed a concert film on LGBT foster-care and adoption titled Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy, currently airing on Showtime in America. She currently serves as a consulting producer on Transcendent, a docu-series on the personal and professional relationships of a group of trans cabaret performers.

She founded the nonprofit GenderMedia Foundation. Andrea has served on the Board of Directors for TransYouth Family Allies, an organization helping trans minors and their families,  and Outfest, an LGBTQ film festival engaged in filmmaker mentoring and film preservation.

Andrea has written academic papers and contributed to numerous publications. She served as an advisor for the Oxford University Press book Trans Bodies, Trans Selves and co-edited Letters for My Sisters, an anthology of collected wisdom by trans women, written for other trans women.

Dr Elizabeth Riley, PhD, MACouns, BSc

  • Counsellor, academic, clinical supervisor & specialist in gender identity for over 15 years.
  • PhD titled ‘The needs of gender variant children and their parents’.
  • Focus is gender identity needs for adolescents and support for families
  • Providing training in gender identity for schools and other service providers.
  • 7 published papers and 3 book chapters in gender identity
  • A founding member of the ANZPATH Board.

Dr Robert Lyons MB.BS (Hons) Sydney, FRANZCP, Dip Psychotherapy (Adelaide)

Private psychiatrist, CEO of Hewitt Services. 1984-present.The largest group of psychiatrists providing services in South Australia.

Head of the South Australian Gender Dysphoria Unit 1996-present.

Foundation President, the Australian and New Zealand Professional Association for Transgender Health. (Anzpath) 2009-2014.

Vice President Anzpath 2014-present.

Chair of the Anzpath Third International Conference, Adelaide 4-6, October 2014.

Committee member, Anzpath Conference, Brisbane Oct 31st, 2015.

Chair, Adelaide Diosesan AIDS Council 1992-3

Clinical advisor, AIDS Council of South Australia, 1984-1988.

Foundation member CAMP INC (evolving to Gay Lib) Sydney 1971.

Chair Homosexual Counselling Service (Camp Inc.1971-2) Seeded LGBTI Counselling Service and from there Q-life.

His practice has been entirely focused on the health needs of the gender and sexually diverse community since 2005. He was the only psychiatrist dealing with HIV/AIDS 1981-9 in South Australia.

He has been an avid collector of historic and contemporary Australian decorative and fine art and supported local artists with multiple commissions.

He has been a major donor to the Powerhouse Museum NSW, the Shepparton Art gallery VIC, the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Samstag Museum SA.

He sat on the board of the Anne and Gordon Samstag Museum of Art 2008-1014.

Event Date: Friday 4th March 2016
Event Time: 7.00pm - 9.30pm
Venue: Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre, 1-25 Harbour Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Running Time: 2.5 hours

Ticket Prices:

  • Mardi Gras Members Presale - $26.50 (incl. booking fee)
  • Concession - $16.30 (incl. booking fee)
  • General Release - $26.50 (incl. booking fee)