LGBTIQA+ Carers

LGBTIQA+ Carers

Carers Victoria recognise that all individuals and caring situations are unique and provide a range of services to support all carers.

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LGBTQIA+ people come from a range of backgrounds, faiths, occupations, locations, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and family types. Under the rainbow umbrella there are many LGBTQIA+ communities and groups who identify as Queer/Questioning, Pansexual, Asexual, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Diverse, Intersex and other identities.

Carers Victoria seeks to provide support specific to individual carer needs and acknowledges that although people in LGBTQIA+ care relationships face many of the same joys and pressures as any other carer, the LGBTQIA+ community has unique needs. LGBTIQA+ people may experience specific challenges related to invisibility, discrimination and exclusion. A lack of recognition of a person's experience, sexuality, gender identity or care relationship can add stress to carers in already challenging circumstances.

Many LGBTQIA+ carers may be isolated from others in their communities by distance, social isolation, financial disadvantage, stigma and/or demands related to their role. At Carers Victoria, our aim is to provide inclusive and affirming services which value, celebrate and support LGBTQIA+ carers and carers of LGBTQIA+ people.

Our Commitment

Carers Victoria is committed to LGBTQIA+ inclusion. This commitment is reflected in the work we have done in both advocacy and organisational change. We are currently working towards the Rainbow Tick Accreditation and in 2019 employed a dedicated ‘Rainbow Tick Project Officer’ to meet the accreditation by the end of the year.

Below is a summary of the work we have done that reflects our commitment to provide inclusive services which value, celebrate and support LGBTQIA+ carers and carers of LGBTQIA+ people.

Support available specific to LGBTQIA+ carers needs:

  • LGBTQIA+ carer support group in collaboration with City of Melbourne and Queerspace
  • Training provided for LGBTQIA+ identifying carers in areas such as mental health, support for self-advocacy and facilitator training
  • Opportunities to make connections with other LGBTQIA+ carers through social events such as movie screenings
  • Counsellors that specialise in working with LGBTQIA+ identifying clients
  • Specific resources for LGBTQIA+ carers such as infographics and flyers

Organisational commitment

  • Organisational commitment to developing LGBTQIA+ inclusive and culturally safe services through the Rainbow Tick program, which has support from the highest level of management and is now incorporated into strategic imperatives
  • Information sheets for people working with LGBTQIA+ carers
  • Diversity Committee including a LGBTQIA+ sub group
  • A staff Pride Network, through which we strive to be an employer of choice for the LGBTQIA+ community

Engagement in broader community work

  • Our broader community work includes sponsoring Melbourne Queer Film Festival films, supporting Pride March and Carnival as part of Midsumma Festival, celebrating International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and supporting the ‘yes’ vote during the marriage equality survey

Research

Carers Victoria regularly partners with external institutions to conduct research focusing on LGBTQIA+ carers to inform industry and aid in advocacy:

  • Carers of LGBTQIA+ people with mental illness (2017)
  • An Extra Degree of Difficulty: Older LGBTI carers (2015)

Advocacy

  • After campaigning to all parties on behalf of carers interests in the lead up to the 2017 Victorian election, the Andrews Government committed to $4 million for carer support groups, focused on carers in regional areas, and under-recognised groups such as young carers and LGBTQIA+ carers
  • Ongoing work with LGBTQIA+ organisations to represent carers needs, such as Val’s Cafe, Switchboard, Living Positive Victoria, Minus 18, National LGBTQIA+ Health Alliance. Our main collaborations have been:
  • Creating an eLearning module on young LGBTQIA+ carers for organisations to use
  • Creating a Carers Handbook with Living Positive Victoria with information and resources for older people living with HIV (PLHIV) and their care team (including carers, care workers, health professionals, and family and friends)
  • Present at conferences on LGBTQIA+ carers interests and needs
  • Representing LGBTQIA+ carers interests at government forums such as the National Ageing and Aged Care Roundtable which was convened to review the progress of the National LGBTQIA+ Ageing and Aged Care Strategy.
  • Participation in the National LGBTI Carers Network

Useful contacts

Switchboard Victoria - a partner of QLife
1800 184 527
www.switchboard.org.au

Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au

Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby Victoria
www.glrl.org.au

Living Positive Victoria
(03) 9863 8733
www./livingpositivevictoria.org.au

Zoe Belle Gender Collective
www.zbgc.com.au

Transgender Victoria
www.transgendervictoria.com

Bisexual Alliance
www.bi-alliance.org

OII Australia - Intersex Australia
oii.org.au