Gender diversity advocate hits the world stage

Published 5:00am 21 June 2023

Gender diversity advocate hits the world stage
Words by Jodie Powell

Woody Point gender diversity advocate Anton Cavali is headed to Rome in September to speak about oncology and gender diverse people.

Organisers of the 2nd World Congress for Integrative Medicine and Health accepted his abstract and invited him to attend.

Anton says speaking at the conference is an important opportunity to explain to top medical professionals from around the world the challenges faced by gender diverse people on their cancer journeys.

“It’s an opportunity to not only make a difference with gender diversity, but to take the message global and to share my personal journey with the international medical community,” he says.

Having survived an eight-year battle after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in his teens, Anton was diagnosed with terminal cancer three years ago.

“I had a mastectomy done five years ago for my transition and cancer was in (my breasts) but went undetected.

“Three years ago, I got diagnosed with cancer everywhere and tests revealed it was breast cancer and I had a hysterectomy.”

Anton says about 3000 delegates will attend the conference and thousands of others will tune in online.

“It’s definitely the biggest platform I have ever spoken on - it’s an amazing opportunity because I haven’t been working with the medical profession for very long.

Connecting with medical professionals

Gender diversity advocate hits the world stage

His advocacy journey began thanks to a friend who works at Brighton Health, who suggested Anton join their consumer council to bring a perspective from the LGBTIQA+ community.

When Brighton Health heard Anton’s story, they asked him to share it with doctors and nurses to help them deliver better service and support for patients.

Such was the success of the workshops – which have the title of ‘Anton’s story: A tale of two titties’ as a nod to his breast cancer journey - that he was invited to deliver similar programs at Redcliffe Hospital.

Those led to him being appointed to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s Community Advisory Council.

“I went to a consumer health forum on the Sunshine Coast and the Queensland state manager of AHPRA was there and asked me to apply for a position on the committee,” Anton explains.

“I’m there as a diversity advocate because I have extensive medical experience as a patient but I also have lived experience as a trans man.”

Inclusive treatment

While in Rome, Anton hopes to make a difference to the views of some of the medical professionals and the way they treat gender-diverse people.

“They should be giving the best treatment to save a person's life, no matter what their gender is.”

He’s also looking forward to fulfilling a promise he made to his Nona as a young girl.

“I’m going to throw an Australian coin into the Trevi Fountain.

“I am very excited about that - to fulfill that promise to my Nona is a really big thing.”

Anton, whose source of income is his coffee business, Cosa Nostra Coffee - which he created with the mentorship of coffee king Phillip Di Bella - is looking for sponsors to help pay for his journey to Rome. If you can help email [email protected].

He has also created a GoFund Me page to help cover the costs of his journey. To donate, click here.

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