Amidst all of the challenges of 2021, we have been continually heartened by the growing commitment out in the community to meeting the health and wellbeing needs of LGBTIQ communities.
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on all of our lives, and there is growing evidence that LGBTIQ communities are impacted disproportionately in a range of areas including mental health, family violence, job security and housing.
This has spurred on the Rainbow Health Victoria team to push harder to deliver projects and activities that support knowledge and action to improve the inclusion of and outcomes for LGBTIQ communities.
Service capability and access
We’ve been lucky enough this year to have the Private Lives 3 and Writing Themselves In 4 reports in public circulation, and are continuing to partner with ARCSHS on a range of publications and supplementary research projects that focus in further on key issues for LGBTIQ health and wellbeing.
We have made the most of these robust and comprehensive research findings, pushing them out through presentations, training content, policy submissions and advocacy. In doing so, we’ve continued to build strong relationships and partnerships with government, peak bodies and service providers across a range of sectors.
This work has yielded significant progress in the last year, with growing formal recognition at both state and Commonwealth levels that LGBTIQ people require prioritisation in policy and funding frameworks across areas including mental health, family violence, ageing and aged care, and disability.
We look forward to building on this in coming years to make meaningful improvements in inclusive service delivery and service systems, in funded research and data systems that include LGBTIQ people, and in a focus on prevention and health promotion to ensure long-term improvements in outcomes for LGBTIQ communities.
Our collaborations with LGBTIQ community-controlled organisations have also grown stronger over the past year. The way in which these organisations have stepped up to meet community need has been awe-inspiring, but we’re also aware of the long-term and sustainable support they will need into the future, given the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.
We have continued to facilitate a range of networks and forums that bring together LGBTIQ community-controlled organisations with mainstream services and providers seeking to improve their inclusive practice. It is continuously demonstrated that these connections are vital to building robust and safe service systems into the future.
We’ve also continued to update and improve all our training programs, making them available across the country through new online modules. We’re pleased to have signed on a new accreditation body, the Australian Council for Health Care Standards, to assess organisations wishing to gain the Rainbow Tick.
We also launched an updated Rainbow Tick Framework and Guide to Accreditation in 2021. This guide will help any organisations considering undertaking Rainbow Tick accreditation, and has been re-designed as a framework and practical guide to action for any organisation at any stage of their journey towards greater LGBTIQ inclusion.
Changing our name
As the year draws to a close, we have also decided to make a subtle change to our name and branding. From 2022, we will begin using the name Rainbow Health Australia.
This change is being made in response to the expanding interest in and uptake of our training and accreditation programs across the country, and the growth in our national funding partners and stakeholder relationships. It also consolidates our role within ARCSHS as a nationally and internationally recognised research centre with a focus on LGBTIQ health and wellbeing.
We will continue to acknowledge the vital role of the Victorian Government in funding and supporting our work, and maintain a strong focus on delivering on the ground in Victoria. The name change formalises our aim to share and build upon this leadership to benefit LGBTIQ communities nationally.
Thanks to our partners and stakeholders for their commitment and engagement – it is wonderful to have achieved so much, and we look forward to building on this next year.