CONTENT WARNING: This story may contain distressing information for some people. If this story riases any issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or contact Qlife on 1800 184 527 or live webchat between 3pm and 12am AEST.

Our After Hours Primary Care team first met Kris* in late 2020 – they had been a regular face for our night nurses on the streets of Melbourne’s CBD for quite a while.

The team had encouraged and supported Kris to attend The Living Room on several different occasions to see a doctor, tend to some visible health concerns and access the very basics like a warm shower and nutritious food.

They remained calmly persistent, but seemingly to no avail.

At the peak of winter, Kris became acute unwell due to an untreated abscess and our night nurses were forced to call triple zero.

Kris was rushed by ambulance to the nearest emergency department. Just hours later, they were in surgery to remove the abscess and tend to the infection that had started setting in days beforehand.

During their recovery in hospital, Kris’s doctors advised for them to see a GP for follow ups and ongoing wound management. The day Kris was discharged from hospital, they visited The Living Room and requested to see a female doctor and health staff about their ongoing care. 

Kris later informed us that they were extremely reluctant to see a doctor or seek medical help for several years out of fear and judgement for being transgender. Kris had been living on and off the streets for several years since escaping a turbulent environment with their family after coming out.

“I hadn’t seen a doctor in years because I was so scared that they would judge me for being Trans.”

Kris had finally found a doctor at The Living Room that saw them as the very real person Kris really is – free of any judgement - and with genuine intent to help Kris improve their health and feel a greater sense of safety and belonging.

In the weeks that followed, Kris continued coming in for regular dressing changes and slowly began feeling comfortable asking our doctor and practice nurse to have a look at other health issues and concerns Kris had.

Our health team also discovered that Kris had been living with hernia for about 18 months but had become increasingly more painful in the past few months. After referring Kris to a specialist at one of our hospital partners, Kris was able to have the hernia safely removed. 

Kris was very pleased with the outcome of the removed hernia and expressed their sincere gratitude to our health team for creating such a safe and judgement free space. 

We don’t tend to see Kris at The Living Room as regularly now, but we do know that Kris’s health has drastically improved and that they feel a greater sense of safety and belonging whenever they do need to visit us for other issues that arise from time to time.


Our health services exist to provide high impact support, without judgement, for people experiencing homelessness. But we can’t do it alone, we need your support.

Please donate today so we can continue helping those who need us most.

*We've used a pseudo name out of respect for keeping this person's identity private