With COVID-19 restrictions easing across the country, we hope you have been out enjoying the sunshine and the opportunity to re-connect with friends, family, colleagues and community in recent weeks. At Rainbow Health Victoria we are both grateful for, and proud of, the strength of the public health response in Australia.
We have been heartened by how LGBTIQ organisations and community have stepped up to entertain, connect, advise and advocate during this time. Both LGBTIQ community-controlled organisations and LGBTIQ-inclusive mainstream services have stepped up to continue to provide essential health and support services.
We would also like to acknowledge the recent international outpouring of grief and anger in response to the death of George Floyd in the US and the ongoing impact of racism both in Australia and internationally. We stand with you. In particular, we are committed to working together to build a world where all LGBTIQ First Nations people and people of colour are celebrated and live free from violence.
In this newsletter, we have included a new resource
developed out of insights shared by practitioners at three recent LGBTIQ-inclusive practice communities of practice. These include reports on recent experiences with LGBTIQ clients and community needs, and lessons learnt in providing services in these new and challenging circumstances. We will be providing updated and ongoing support to organisations and individuals pushing forward with LGBTIQ inclusion and service delivery, including a new suite of training courses through both online and remote service delivery.
We’ve been really pleased that our recent resource on COVID-19 impacts on LGBTIQ communities
has been so well-received. The concerns and recommendations contained in this resource remain relevant despite some easing of restrictions. In any case, the impacts in terms of mental health, family violence and economic insecurity will continue for some time – and require specific policy and service responses.
A focus on older LGBTI people
In this issue our newsletter we want to draw attention to the ongoing needs of older LGBTI people. The points we made in our paper about increased risk for COVID-19-relevant health issues apply even more strongly to older people. Barriers to accessing health and community services because of actual or anticipated stigma and discrimination are also particularly relevant for older people, especially those needing to access high levels of health care, home care or residential aged care.
Many older LGBTI people continue to hide their identities from families or providers. Many will also continue to practice a higher level of social distancing due to health risks. These potentially make older LGBTI people more at-risk from the ongoing impact of social isolation.
However, older generations of LGBTIQ people also have specific experiences that can contribute to resilience. Many lived through the HIV epidemic and have developed knowledge, resources and coping mechanisms from which we all could learn. They can also be more connected to LGBTIQ community organisations.
We are asking our partners to make a special effort to promote services like those being delivered in Victoria by Thorne Harbour Health
. Our own Val’s LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care
has also been re-funded until 2021 and will play an important role in providing resources and supporting service providers in their ongoing journey towards LGBTIQ inclusion.
Online launch event
Finally, we have a launch coming up of an exciting new resource – Pride in prevention: a guide to primary prevention of violence experienced by LGBTIQ communities
. The resource will be launched on July 1 by the Victorian Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Gabrielle Williams, and Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality, Ro Allen. Register ASAP
for this online event as spots are limited!