The 2017 program is available as a PDF HERE.

See all keynote speakers bios & abstracts.

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SPEAKERS & ABSTRACTS   

Kath Albury

School of Arts and Media UNSW, Associate Professor

Kath Albury’s research focus includes media representations of gender and sexuality; mediated cultures of self-representation; digital and online sexual cultures; sexuality education, and digital health promotion. She is commencing a new role as Professor Media & Communication at Swinburne University of Technology in late July 2017.

PRESENTATION: 

What’s in a name? Strategic identities, identity plus and sexual health practice 

This paper reflects on research conducted with 100 ‘sexually adventurous’ NSW adults. It considers the disconnections between ‘sexual identity’ as it appears a demographic category in sexual health policy and practice, and the ways that clients understand their lived experiences of sexualities.

Rei Alphonso

Rei Alphonso is an AOD clinician and project co-ordinator currently working at VAC. Rei has a multidisciplinary background in social work, consumer advocacy and community arts and development.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: 

Trans and Gender Diverse (TGD) Inclusion into bed based Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Services

VAC and VAADA have recently developed key Policy and Practice Recommendations for AOD providers working with the TGD community. This keynote will present these recommendations to participants and offer both theoretical knowledge and practical skills that support the development of more inclusive practice. This will include a more nuanced understanding of the particular issues relevant to Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer (LBQ) identifying TGD women accessing (or needing to access) an AOD service. In addition this presentation will examine experiential group work, case studies, and the dissemination of resources, inviting clinicians to reflect on their practice and develop specific strategies to evolve their inclusive practice in a supportive environment.

From the handbook, Policy and Practice Recommendations for Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Providers supporting the Trans and Gender Diverse (TGD) Community: “Learning to appreciate and affirm diverse identities means engaging in a slow personal process of unlearning much of what our society teaches us about gender. But the challenges inherent in this process are rich with potential for developing transformative practice models that benefit clinicians and consumers alike. Inclusion does not evolve in a vacuum – by working towards more accepting and affirming environments for TGD consumers we end up providing more therapeutic care for everyone.”

Cal Andrews

University of Melbourne, Project Worker

Cal is a Project Worker/Researcher on the Gay and Lesbian Foundation of Australia’s LGBTIQ Homelessness Research Project (coordinated by Dr Ruth McNair), and also for the Victorian-based Trans and Gender Diverse Homelessness Pilot Project (a collaboration between the Gay and Lesbian Foundation of Australia, Transgender Victoria, Drummond Street Services, Launch Housing, and the University of Melbourne).

PRESENTATION: 

Risk factors for LGBTIQ homelessness and service gaps: Towards inclusive practice guidelines

(with Ruth McNair )

Co-authors: Ruth McNair, Sharon Parkinson, Deborah Dempsey.

This presentation will provide a brief overview of specific risk factors for LGBTIQ people with respect to becoming homeless, particularly discrimination, poor mental health, and trauma, and family conflict. Discussion will then focus on current gaps in service provision, ongoing challenges, and examples of where improvements have been made. Presenters will draw on data from various sources, such as semi-structured interviews with selected service providers and clients, a secondary data analysis of the national Journeys Home study, and some reflections on a model of care for trans and gender diverse people that has been piloted at a major mainstream homelessness service provider. This will lead into a brief discussion about national best practice guidelines.

Brenda Appleton

Transgender Victoria, Chair

Brenda retired in 2009 after 35 years working in the corporate sector and is now heavily involved volunteering with a wide range of community groups, including the LGBTI communities in Melbourne (for nearly 20 years). She is the Chair of TGV and is co-chair of LGBTI Taskforce set up by the Victorian Government and a member of the Victorian Mental Health Expert Taskforce. She was inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2017. Brenda is passionate about using her lived experience in an effort to improve the health and wellbeing of trans and gender diverse people across Victoria.

PANEL: MENTAL HEALTH & LBQ WOMEN

LBQ women who identify as Trans and Gender Diverse

Does the trans and gender diverse community experience the worst mental health of any community in Australia? Is enough bring done to redress this situation?

 

Sally Auld

Sally joined J.P. Morgan in September 2008 and is Chief Economist and the Head of Fixed Income and FX Strategy for Australia and New Zealand. Sally is responsible for views on the Antipodean economic and policy outlook as well as strategic and tactical trade recommendations in Antipodean interest rate and FX markets. Her research is targeted at a variety of institutional clients, both domestic and offshore. Previously, Sally was Co-Head of Economics and Interest Rate Research at ANZ. Sally started her career as an interest rate strategist at Credit Suisse. She holds a Bachelor of Economics with First Class Honours and the University Medal from the University of Sydney and a D.Phil in Economics from Oxford University. Sally is a member of the Governing Council of The Women’s College, within the University of Sydney.

PANEL: 

The Great Debate: LBQ Women @ Work and Wellbeing 

Should we be asking senior women to come out in order to increase the visibility of LBQ women within executive positions for the overall health and wellbeing of our LBQ millenials in the workplace?

Kathy Bond

Mental Health First Aid Australia, Research Officer

Dr Kathy Bond is the research officer at Mental Health First Aid Australia. She led the Delphi study that was conducted to develop the guidelines for considerations when providing mental health first aid to an LGBTiQ person. She has worked for Mental Health First Aid Australia since 2012 and has been involved in the development of a number of Mental Health First Aid Australia guidelines including helping someone with financial difficulties and mental health problems, and gambling problems. She has also conducted studies to evaluate the impact of several mental health first aid courses.

PRESENTATION: 

Considerations when providing mental health first aid to an LGBTIQ person

The aim of this presentation is to let the audience know about a recently developed resource that they can be used to support those from the LGBTIQ community who are experiencing mental health problems. This presentation will outline the development of the guidelines that were developed by Mental Health First Aid Australia and the University of Melbourne, with assistance from the National LGBTI Health Alliance, MindOUT project. The guidelines outline what a person needs to consider when providing mental health first aid to an LGBTIQ person. It will briefly review the literature on mental health problems in LGBTIQ people, describe the research methodology used to develop the guidelines and then summarise the advice given in the guidelines. This includes:

  • The importance of using appropriate, non-stigmatising language when supporting an LGBTIQ person.
  • How to talk and ask questions about LGBTIQ experiences.
  • How to show and provide practical support to an LGBTIQ person experiencing mental health problems, including specific advice when the person experiences discrimination and stigma, discloses their LGBTIQ experience or ‘comes out’, or is an adolescent.
  • How to encourage treatment seeking.

 

Nicole Brennan

Nicole is an Executive Manager of Retail Banking Services Productivity at the Commonwealth Bank, where her focus is on driving a sustainable productivity culture and capability through project delivery, advisory services and coaching leaders to deliver better outcomes for bank customers and the business as a whole. She was recently appointed as Co-Chair to Unity, the Commonwealth Bank’s LGBTI employee network that has won AWEI Network of the Year for 2 years running and has a strong focus on LGBTI community engagement and support.

PANEL: 

The Great Debate: LBQ Women @ Work and Wellbeing 

Should we be asking senior women to come out in order to increase the visibility of LBQ women within executive positions for the overall health and wellbeing of our LBQ millenials in the workplace?

Tony Briffa

Organisation Intersex International Australia & AIS Support Group Australia, Co-executive Director

Tony Briffa is a Co-executive Director of Organisation Intersex International Australia and Vice President of the AIS Support Group Australia; the two leading intersex organisations in Australia Tony has been a public intersex activist for the last 18 years and has appeared in numerous television programs magazine and newspaper articles and radio programs discussing intersex human rights Tony is also a former Mayor in Melbourne’s west a current Bail Justice and Justice of the Peace and is currently completing a Law Degree Tony’s biological intersex variation is called Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome In Tony’s case doctors recognised Tony had an intersex variation when she was born Tony was named Antoinette and raised as a girl.  She struggled with issues of infertility and the stigma of being different growing up and lived as a woman until learning about being intersex at the age of 30 when she started taking testosterone and lived as a man for several years.  Having tried living as a man Tony now feels comfortable having accepted that both her biology and gender are simultaneously part female and part male albeit more female than male.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: 

Intersex Women and Our Role and Experience in the LBQ Community

Women with intersex variations are seldom public about being intersex due to the shame, stigma and widespread misunderstanding about what intersex is.  Many still think intersex is a sexual orientation or gender identity, or that it is the same as being trans or gender diverse.  Others think it means being a hermaphrodite.  I will discuss the large spectrum of intersex variations that intersex women may have, the array of different health needs, sexualities, experiences, where we fit within the ‘LGBTI Community’, common misconceptions about us, the impact of stereotypes and heteronormativity, and what can be done to overcome our challenges.

Bonny Briggs

WORKSHOP:

Aboriginal Women & Wellness

Bella Broadway

Connection And Wellbeing Australia (CAWA), Founder/Principal Consultant

Bella Broadway has been working in the Disability, Training, Mental Health, Trauma Support, Behaviour Intervention, Child Protection, Education and Advocacy sectors for over 18 years. Bella is the former Manager of Living Proud LGBTI Community Services and former Western Australian Coordinator for the QLife Teleweb Counselling, Information, Support and Referral Service. A key advocate and trainer for delivering suicide awareness and intervention trainings to the West Australian LGBTIQ community and for striving to create best practice amongst Livingworks ASIST and safeTALK trainers to ensure that their practices are inclusive, Bella founded a Social Enterprise to continue her work in the form of Connection And Wellbeing Australia (CAWA). Bella sees CAWA as a vehicle to provide suicide awareness and intervention training that is inclusive and delivered in safe spaces and to ensure that individuals working in suicide prevention demonstrate culturally informed practice and strive to ensure that their approach is inclusive of all Australians. Bella ensures that CAWA is driven by Lived Experience Peer Perspectives (LEPP) and values this approach above all. She believes that combining research driven, effective programs with the voice of LEPP provides an exchange which is both meaningful and powerful in its capacity to create change.

PRESENTATION: 

Creating Safe Spaces to talk about suicide

Focusing on safeTALK suicide awareness training and ASIST suicide intervention training experiences this workshop will examine how we can help create a suicide safe community by examining;
• How we talk about suicide in community and public spaces and why this needs to change
• Why community members are the key to providing front line responses to suicide in LBQ communities
• What builds a safe space to enable LBQ women to talk about suicide
• Insight into how individuals can work together to transform lived experience into the creation of hope for the future.

Jax Jacki Brown

Disability & Queer Rights Activist

Jax Jacki Brown is a disability and LGBTI activist, writer, speaker and disability sexuality educator. She holds a BA in Cultural Studies, focusing on the intersection of disability rights and LGBTIQ rights. Her work provides a powerful insight into the reasons why society needs to change, rather than people with disabilities.

PANEL: LBQ FAMILIES & BIO-ETHICS 

Eugenics in the IVF industry: Screening out disability and intersex variations

As LBQ women we often turn to IVF to start a family, however all donor sperm in Australia is screened for a variety of disabilities, and Pre-Genetic screening is routinely recommended for IVF, which includes screening out Intersex variations. We are effectively participating in an industry where it is mandated to screen out parts of human diversity, and a part of the LGBTIQ community. Often people are not aware of these practices, there has been minimal public discussion and yet these tests are undertaken as a matter of course, without public debate of the personal and political ramifications. How do we start to have discussions within our communities and with the Assisted Reproductive Technologies industry about what is essentially eugenics? Queer people as well as people with disabilities have been historically marginalised and pathologised by the medical profession, how do we advocate for a future where human diversity is valued?

Lexi Buckfield

Lexi is currently employed at Central and Eastern Sydney PHN as a Drug Health Program Officer, as well as a Health Education Officer at the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre. Lexi has previously worked in Drug and Alcohol research with the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and the School of Medicine and Public Health (University of Newcastle); and in sexual health as a community health promotion officer at ACON. Lexi’s current role aligns with her passion for achieving positive outcomes for underserviced populations, working to increase the capacity of Drug and Alcohol treatment services and ensuring an integrated, inclusive and culturally appropriate primary health system.

PRESENTATION: 

The power of partnership: CESPHN and ACON working together to tackle LBQ women’s substance use

(with Raquel Lowe)

International and domestic research identifies alcohol and other drug (AOD) use as being higher amongst Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer (LBQ) women than for their heterosexual counterparts (Sydney Women and Sexual Health (SWASH) survey, the National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report, the ALICE study, Australian Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health, National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing to name a few).
Figures from the SWASH survey found that almost half (48%) of the 2014 sample had used an illicit drug in the preceding six months and it is for this reason that LBQ women’s AOD use has long been a priority area for ACON to address.
In line with this research, Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network (CESPHN) conducted a regional needs assessment which identified LBQ women and the LGBTI population more broadly as a priority group. This has enabled ACON to partner with CESPHN to explore effective population health interventions and to develop a social marketing campaign to enable the community to better identify AoD issues and provide education and resources to support people who use alcohol and other drugs with a focus on methamphetamine.
This presentation will showcase the results of a scoping exercise that ACON is undertaking to better understand what digital interventions are most effective amongst the LGBTI community and introduce ACON’s exciting upcoming AOD digital social marketing campaign.

Kim Burns

UNSW, Researcher

Kim Burns is a research psychologist at the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre (DCRC) at the University of NSW. Kim has a background in psychogeriatric nursing and has worked in the area of dementia research since 2004, with a focus on the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). The BPSD research team at DCRC has an interest in collaborative projects to develop resources for those providing dementia care to people from special needs groups. The focus of this project is the development, national implementation and evaluation of an eLearning resource to inform those supporting LGBTIQ peoples with dementia who present with changed behaviours. The target audience for this resource is care staff and health professionals working in acute, community, primary and residential care settings Australia wide.

PRESENTATION: 

Supporting LGBTIQ peoples with changed behaviours in dementia

More than 47 million people worldwide live with dementia. This includes more than 415 thousand Australians with dementia of whom 55% are women. Approximately 135 Australian women are diagnosed with dementia daily; these numbers are projected to increase as populations age. Changed behaviours or behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) occur in up to 90% in people with dementia during the course of the condition. A person with dementia’s personal history, physical health and living environment are important factors in the presentation and management of changed behaviours. BPSD include aggression, agitation, anxiety, apathy, disinhibition, depression, delusions and wandering.

Australian women currently outlive their male counterparts by approximately four years suggesting that LBQ elders are likely to be the most numerous group under the LGBTIQ umbrella seeking aged care services. Older LBQ women have lived through a time of rigid gender roles when being ‘invisible’ was a necessary protection against discrimination and violence. They may have experienced stigma, victimisation, family rejection, sexual assault and/or social isolation. Hiding their sexual orientation or gender identity was often a strategy to stay safe, particularly in their dealings with health professionals. LBQ women with dementia may suffer further discrimination and isolation in care settings when they can no longer conceal information they have previously guarded closely.
The effective management of BPSD is a WHO global health priority, including the training of those providing care. While awareness of the special needs of LGBTIQ people with dementia is increasing, aged care remains largely heteronormative in its approach emphasising the need for staff education in this area. The principles of managing changed behaviours apply to all people with dementia however an awareness of their unique needs is essential when caring for those with a traumatic history such as LBQ women. This project developed an eLearning resource to inform care staff and health professionals working in all care settings. The importance of family of choice, lived experience, LGBTIQ invisibility, identity, ‘minorities within minorities’, care environment, reactions of staff and others, unique health factors, respectful communication and valuing diversity in relation to changed behaviours is included in the resource.

Awombda Codd

VAC

Awombda Codd is an AOD counsellor at VAC. She has worked in the community sector for sixteen years specifically in AOD, mental health, homelessness, women’s service and with the LGBTIQ community. She had designed and developed training and therapeutic groups as well as one on one counselling and case management. Her passion is facilitating change through therapeutic interventions and social justice.

PRESENTATION:

Drink Limits

VAC offers a specialist LBQ therapeutic program (Drink Limits) that combines evidence based approaches to alcohol use and anxiety focusing on harm reduction techniques within a clinical treatment group setting. The model adapts existing best practice substance use interventions to the unique needs of the target community. Evaluation demonstrates the efficacy of the Drink Limits program with significant reductions in substance use and psychological distress, measured by the DUDIT, AUDIT and K10 respectively, from baseline to post treatment. It was observed that the group participants presented with a range of clinical complexities such as self harm, trauma history and eating disorders.

Drink Limits is based on The Stages of Change model and uses various therapeutic frameworks such as motivational interviewing, CBT, Arts Therapy, DBT skills development, mindfulness and psycho-education in its approach to the group.

Rachel Cole

University of Sydney

Rachel Cole is a PhD student in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Rachel is researching a history of the Australian media classification system which has been shaped by public attitudes to controversial content such as sexual violence.

PANEL: 

Teaching Discomfort Productively

(with Kerryn Drysdale and Grace Sharkey)

Perennially a concern for those of us who teach, a careful balance needs to be struck between the need to engage with confronting themes around gender and sexuality in academic debate, and remaining sensitive to the mental health needs of those individuals who may have lived experience of gendered and sexual violence in our classrooms. Early debates surrounding ‘trigger warnings’ (that is, warnings that certain material can be considered emotionally distressing) take their cue from student-centred approaches to teaching that facilitates the pursuit of emotional protection and choice. At the same time, such approaches have been subject to harsh critiques of political correctness, feminist sensitivity and harm to the mission of education. In interrogating how violence shapes our intimate, cultural and political lives, we seek to realign debates around trauma and consider the value and limitations of pedagogical spaces as ‘safe spaces’.

How do we initiate critical debate into the role of violence on lived experience without also displacing trauma and compelling self-exclusion? Using a case study of a recent unit taught at the University of Sydney, we examine how feelings of discomfort serve as vital pedagogical tools for critical discussions of homo-, trans- and queer-phobic violence, gendered and sexualised assault, and online violence towards women. In this panel, we offer three perspectives from those of us working with concepts of violence to engender a discussion on how to teach discomforting topics productively.

Teddy Cook

Teddy Cook has worked at ACON since April 2012 in a variety of roles including his current role of Manager, Regional Outreach Development. Prior to this, he was the Team Leader, Regional Outreach Service and began his career at ACON in the Anti-Violence Project. Teddy represents ACON, the sector and LGBTI communities in numerous forums. In addition, he has participated on numerous NGO boards, is an affiliate member of the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) and International AIDS Society (IAS), a founding member of the Peer Advocacy network for the Sexual Health of Trans Masculinities (PASH.tm) and campaign lead for GRUNT.

PRESENTATION: 

The Labrys Project: Exploring the health and wellbeing of lesbian, bisexual, queer and same sex attracted women living in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions

(with Emma Rodrigues)

The Illawarra and Shoalhaven region of NSW is home to a vibrant and geographically diverse community of lesbian, bisexual, queer (LBQ) and same sex attracted women. This regional and rural area served as a unique setting for the Labrys Project, a research partnership initiative between ACON and Women’s Health – Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) carried out between 2014 and 2015. The Labrys Project extended objectives from the Sydney Women and Sexual Health Survey (SWASH) to generate a regional/rural perspective and data snapshot of LBQ women’s health and wellbeing across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven to inform local service delivery and future service planning. Between October 2014 and March 2015, 107 LBQ women completed the Illawarra Shoalhaven Women’s Health and Wellbeing Survey; in addition, two focus groups were held in Warilla and Nowra involving 7 LBQ women.

Survey results from this study reflect the wider body of research concerning lesbian, bisexual, queer and same sex attracted women in Australia, such as higher rates of alcohol and illicit drug use, experiences of anti-LGBTI abuse and self-reported health status in addition to a significant gap between knowledge and testing behaviours regarding Pap smears as a preventive screening measure. While some patterns mirror urban LBQ data sets, there are several points of distinction in key health indicators and risk factors between urban and regional/rural data warranting attention, namely in mental health, obesity, homelessness, community engagement, and service access and response. Results from this study also highlighted a concerning prevalence of domestic and family violence as well as low levels of reporting these incidents to police.

Delivered as a collaborative endeavour between Regional Outreach, ACON and Women’s Health ISLHD, this presentation will communicate key findings of the research whilst also ensuring regional LBQ women’s health priorities are elevated and remain on the agenda for conference participants.

Louise Cooper

Drummond Street Services, Queerspace, Child & Family Practitioner

Dr Louise Cooper is a Counseling Psychologist and Child & Family Practitioner in Drummond Street Services’ Queerspace team. Queerspace provides affirmative counselling services delivered by LGBTIQ identified and queer friendly mental health practitioners. Louise has a particular interest in family dynamics and has worked extensively with parents and young people to help manage anxiety within the family system. She supports both queer parents and children as they navigate developmental tasks and the challenges of school and community.

PRESENTATION: 

Supporting LBQ parenting

Over the two years of this conference and numerous and diverse presentations there has as yet been no talk of parenting. Is there something unspoken in discussions of queer parenting?

Research indicates that lesbian mothers raise children that achieve at or over the expected levels of well-being and well over expected levels of empathy and commitment to social justice. What is it like to be a queer woman and know this and to be struggling with mental health issues that we know are likely to have an effect on parenting? How is this likely to affect an LBQ parent’s seeking support and how they present their parenting issues in a clinic?

Drummond Street Services offers services to the LGBTI community based on a whole of family model and this includes meeting the presenting needs of LGBTI parents. We are therefore well positioned to shed light on the experience of queer parenting and particular circumstances that require support.

This paper presents findings from Drummond Street data on the presenting needs of LGBTI parents. Of greatest concern is how we are able to support the intersections between parenthood and high prevalence presentations such as mental health and drug and alcohol issues amongst LBQ women.

Cyndi Darnell

Cyndi Darnell is one of Australia’s leading sex and relationship therapists, spearheading progressive sex, wellbeing and relationships seminars for adults. She has shared her work to acclaim across Australia, UK & the USA including the prestigious Omega Institute in New York, The School of Life. In 2015 she was the only sexologist named on MindBodyGreen’s Top 100 Women to Watch. Her approach spans the clinical to the esoteric with degrees ranging from a bachelor in adult education to Masters qualifications in sexology and psychotherapy.
A regular at Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre, she is a writer and media commentator whose opinion is frequently sought for TV, radio and print including ABC’s Luke Warm Sex, The Project, The Huffington Post, Sydney Morning Herald & much more. Cyndi has been a featured guest on USA podcasts Sex Out Loud & Sex Nerd Sandra.
In 2015 she released The Atlas of Erotic Anatomy and Arousal a pioneering educational video series designed to give upfront adult information about sex, the body and most importantly, pleasure! She counsels individuals & couples, offers training to professionals on sex and the human condition, and offers insight into the quandaries of the erotic to transform fear into freedom.

PRESENTATION: 

Anatomy, Desire & Difference: Adult Sex Ed for Diverse Sexualities

‘The Atlas of Erotic Anatomy & Arousal’ is a 5 part video series created to deliver sex-positive, pleasure-based and inclusive education about sex, arousal and anatomy to an adult audience (16+). As a sex and relationship educator and therapist, I was driven to create this online resource as a way to address glaring absences in traditional sex education, which often result in ongoing health issues for many people, but particularly for women and people assigned female at birth.

This presentation will include a discussion about anatomy, ignorance and shame regarding genitalia, drawing on my experience working with clients as a sex therapist and educator. For women and people assigned female at birth in particular, genital anatomy is often shrouded in misinformation, ignorance and fear. This has negative implications for a range of health issues, including a reluctance to seek medical help for genital symptoms and psychological stress and/or trauma regarding sex.

For LGBTIQ people, these issues can be compounded by cultural elisions regarding sex, sexuality and desire. ‘Traditional’ sex education tends to be based on heteronormative understandings of anatomy and a focus on ‘reproductive sex’. This lack of knowledge, combined with experiences of discrimination and feelings of invisibility – reinforced when many health professionals lack culturally sensitive and accurate information regarding LGBTIQ sex, sexual health and sexuality – means that LGBTIQ people need access to clear, accessible and inclusive sex education.

This presentation will discuss the evolution, challenges and process of creating and disseminating ‘The Atlas of Erotic Anatomy & Arousal’, including an overview of each of the modules, and a screening of ‘Vulvapalooza: Everything you need to know about the vulva from a sex and pleasure perspective.’ The discussion will focus on my work as an educator and therapist, the role of online resources in sex education, and the ongoing need for accessible, inclusive information for people of diverse sexualities and bodies.

Amy Davis 

University of Wollongong, PhD Candidate

Amy Davis is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts at the University of Wollongong. Amy’s thesis research examines the erasure of bisexuality as a category within contemporary Western discourses with a focus on compulsory monogamy, queer temporality and the life narratives of bisexual individuals.

PANEL: MENTAL HEALTH & LBQ WOMEN

Bisexual erasure & mental health: Challenging the stigma around women with non-exclusive sexual attractions

Bisexuals and other women with non-exclusive sexual attractions face a number of health-related disparities, including higher rates of suicidality, intimate partner violence and drug and alcohol use than their lesbian counterparts. Yet non-exclusive attraction, and bisexuality in particular, continues to be viewed with suspicion. In this workshop we will explore current research on bi-phobia, bi-invisibility and bi-erasure within both mainstream society and the LGBTIQA+ community, and the effect this this has on women with non-exclusive attractions. In light of this we will discuss the barriers to representing and including this population and brainstorm strategies for supporting women with non-exclusive attractions in our work.

Tina Dixson

Australian Women Against Violence Alliance

Tina Dixson comes from a human-rights background, having worked in the areas of LGBTIQ, refugee and women’s rights. In 2011, she drafted and presented the Shadow Report at the UN in Geneva for human rights violations of homosexual, bisexual and transgender women.
Tina has worked for the longest running refugee legal centre RACS (Refugee Advice & Casework Service), social art exhibition project Stories about Hope and currently for the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance in Canberra.
She has extensively contributed to the public discourse on people from refugee backgrounds in particular queer women, raising issues of intersectionality, ethics and representation. Currently, Tina is a member of the Doctoral program in Social and Political Thought at the Institute for Social Justice at the Australian Catholic University. Tina’s Doctoral thesis is focused upon the lived experiences of queer refugee women viewed through the lens of trauma theory and concepts of agency.

PANEL: MENTAL HEALTH & LBQ WOMEN

What does it mean to be a queer women in exile: on trauma, belonging and well-being

‘What does it mean to be a queer women in exile’ is a PhD thesis which focuses upon the lived experiences of queer women who sought asylum viewed through the lens of trauma theory and concepts of agency. The research is undertaken from point of view of the personal experience in collaboration with other refugee women. It aims to investigate the ways women negotiate their identities and express their agency.

By connecting layers of gender, sexuality and experiences of seeking asylum, I aim to understand how the multiplicity of identity implicates the self and impacts one’s life. I will unpack the effects of trauma on both the sense of belonging and general well-being. I will place particular focus on belonging by discussing what contributes to feelings of belonging/not-belonging, availability of services and community support. I will conclude by suggesting what society can do to make sure that it is not excluding and further retraumatise those who have already survived.

Kate Dolan

UNSW, Professor

In 1986 Dr Dolan along with several others started the first needle and syringe program in Australia the third in the world She evaluated the needle and syringe program in the UK for six years Dr Dolan received her PhD from the University of NSW in Sydney in 1997 In 2003 Kate established the Program of International Research and Training The Program’s aim is to build capacity among researchers and clinicians in HIV prevention and treatment for drug dependence in developing countries She has undertaken 34 projects and received 2.7 million in funding A key project was the establishment and evaluation of the first methadone clinic for female drug users in Iran there are now five such clinics in South Tehran She conducted rapid assessments of HIV transmission and drug use in Indonesian prisons and in the Mongolian community She supervised a research centre in Myanmar to evaluate HIV prevention programs for drug injectors in the Golden Triangle Her areas of research include drug treatment for prisoners HIV prevention for injecting drug users drug treatment for women and the transmission and prevention of hepatitis C among prisoners She had undertaken consultancies for UNODC HAARP WHO the Centre for Harm Reduction.

PRESENTATION: 

HIV and Hepatitis C Virus Infection and Risk Behaviors Among Heterosexual, Bisexual, and Lesbian Women Who Inject Drugs in Australia

Women who inject drugs (WWID) are vulnerable to a range of harms, including exposure to sexually transmitted
and blood-borne infections, abusive relationships, physical and sexual violence and mental health issues. Lesbians
and bisexual women are at greater risk than heterosexual women for substance use disorders. This
study aimed to compare a large sample of heterosexual, bisexual, and lesbian WWID and to identify correlates
of sexual orientation. The Australian Needle and Syringe Program (NSP) Survey is an annual cross-sectional survey.
People who inject drugs (PWID) who attend NSP services are invited to complete a brief self-administered
questionnaire and provide a capillary dried blood spot. Of 22,791 survey respondents between 2004–2013, one
third were women (n = 7,604). Analyses were restricted to the first participation record for each respondent. Of
the 5,378 individual women, 4,073 (76%) identified as heterosexual, 1,007 (19%) identified as bisexual, and 298
(6%) identified as lesbian. HIV prevalence was low ( < 1.0%). More than half (56%) had been exposed to hepatitis
C virus (HCV), with prevalence highest among bisexual women (59%). In adjusted analysis, bisexual
women had significantly greater odds of initiating injection at a younger age, and reporting public injection and receptive sharing of drug preparation equipment. Bisexual women and lesbians had significantly greater odds of reporting sex work than their heterosexual counterparts.
Results contribute to the literature on HIV and HCV transmission risk among WWID. Analysis of the relationship between sexual orientation and risk behavior identified bisexual orientation as independently associated with increased risk. Services that target PWID need to recognise and address a broad range of sexual identities and behaviors. Future research should explore reasons for increased risk in sexual minority women.

Kerryn Drysdale

University of Sydney

Dr. Kerryn Drysdale teaches courses on violence, in its myriad forms, at the University of Sydney. Her interests lie at the intersection of feminism, cultural studies and queer theory, and her passion is in the documentation and preservation of otherwise ephemeral LBGTIQ social spaces.

PANEL: 

Teaching Discomfort Productively

(with Rachel Cole and Grace Sharkey)

Perennially a concern for those of us who teach, a careful balance needs to be struck between the need to engage with confronting themes around gender and sexuality in academic debate, and remaining sensitive to the mental health needs of those individuals who may have lived experience of gendered and sexual violence in our classrooms. Early debates surrounding ‘trigger warnings’ (that is, warnings that certain material can be considered emotionally distressing) take their cue from student-centred approaches to teaching that facilitates the pursuit of emotional protection and choice. At the same time, such approaches have been subject to harsh critiques of political correctness, feminist sensitivity and harm to the mission of education. In interrogating how violence shapes our intimate, cultural and political lives, we seek to realign debates around trauma and consider the value and limitations of pedagogical spaces as ‘safe spaces’.

How do we initiate critical debate into the role of violence on lived experience without also displacing trauma and compelling self-exclusion? Using a case study of a recent unit taught at the University of Sydney, we examine how feelings of discomfort serve as vital pedagogical tools for critical discussions of homo-, trans- and queer-phobic violence, gendered and sexualised assault, and online violence towards women. In this panel, we offer three perspectives from those of us working with concepts of violence to engender a discussion on how to teach discomforting topics productively.

Jordan Fenton

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

Jordan is a human rights advocate and researcher. She currently works on policy and research projects at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and serves on the board at Proud2Play. Her recent work includes a guide for media on gender identity and a guideline on trans and gender diverse inclusion in sport.

PRESENTATION: 

The power of a blank box: How to best ask about gender in surveys

Many surveys and questionnaires include basic demographic questions, but there’s no standard best practice out there for ‘What is your gender?’ Some of the common ways of asking about gender can actually be problematic, but you can easily get it right, and a lot of the time, it’s as simple as a blank box.

Karen Field

Drummond Street Services, CEO

Karen has 25 years’ experience in developing, managing and delivering a range of evidenced based programs and services to communities, families, parents, young people and children. Her work has involved a range of sectors including health (primary and mental health) and welfare, education and employment, and justice sectors within government and community based organisations. Her knowledge base, employment experience and contribution spans the public health spectrum including promotion, prevention and early intervention, tertiary end treatment programs, and recovery and continuing care services. Karen has 25 years experience in working with the LGBTIQ communities in clinical practice, advocacy and research.

WORKSHOP:

iHeal

Current but limited research into the nature and prevalence of family violence in LBQ women’s relationships shows either similar if not higher rates than their heterosexual peers. Despite this, mainstream family violence service responses have been inadequate – either re-traumatising for our community through insensitive responses and or are crisis driven and short-term in nature. The recent Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence highlighted more broadly the system failures to support victim survivors in long-term recovery and to understand and therefore respond to complex trauma and its impacts. Based on 12 years of LGBTIQ family violence service delivery, through queerspace – q-Respect family violence recovery service, this workshop will provide an overview of the family violence impacts on LBQ women, their pathway to experiencing family violence, and service models critical to supporting recovery. This includes an overview of the critical features of lived experience peer support and casework as a key component of recovery. In recovery oriented programs, the victim survivor leads the definition of what recovery means to them and develops their own recovery plan. Clinical expertise and lived experience peer case workers support the survivor towards achieving recovery goals. The iHeal model is coproduced in partnership with survivors and creates a family violence workforce which includes LBQ lived experience survivors with a pathway to accredited qualification and employment.

 

Christine Forster

Councillor Christine Forster was elected to the City of Sydney Council in September 2012, and re-elected in 2016. Prior to joining Council, Christine had a long history of involvement in her local community, participating in a wide range of volunteer and charity work since the early 1990s, including more than a decade in elected leadership roles managing a community-based childcare facility. She remains an active volunteer in community-based organisations within the inner city. Christine has a degree in economics and worked as a journalist covering the Australian petroleum and mining industries until 2016. She is currently employed in the corporate affairs department of Woodside, Australia’s largest independent oil and gas company. She is also a regular commentator on politics and current affairs in a variety of print and broadcast media. Christine is passionate about Sydney and committed to helping make it the world’s best place to live, work and visit. She believes local government must respect and listen to all its constituents and deliver sustainable infrastructure and services that help communities to thrive and prosper. In 2016, Christine was elected as a metropolitan director on the board of Local Government NSW. She is currently the Chair of the City of Sydney’s Floodplain Risk Management Committee, the City’s representative on the Southern Sydney Region of Councils, an Ambassador for Pride in Diversity’s Sapphire Program for lesbian, bisexual and transgender women in the workplace, and an Ambassador for the Waterline Challenge Foundation, which raises funds for a range of charities. She is also a Director of the Bairo Foundation in NSW, which supports the Bairo Pite Community Healthcare Clinic in Timor-Leste. Christine has four children and lives with her long-term partner Virginia in Surry Hills.

PANEL: 

The Great Debate: LBQ Women @ Work and Wellbeing 

Should we be asking senior women to come out in order to increase the visibility of LBQ women within executive positions for the overall health and wellbeing of our LBQ millenials in the workplace?

Carolyn Gillespie

CASA House (Centre Against Sexual Assault), Coordinator

Carolyn Gillespie is a social worker and clinical family therapist who has worked with and spoken widely about sexual assault for many years – both in Cambodia and Australia. She has been the Coordinator of CASA House (Centre Against Sexual Assault) in Melbourne since 2012 and is the current Convenor for CASA Forum, the peak body for the Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault.
Starlady was appointed as the youth project officer at Zoe Belle Gender Collective (auspiced by Cohealth) in 2016. Starlady relocated to Melbourne after seven years living in central Australia delivering youth focused hairdressing and fashion workshops in remote Indigenous communities. Whilst living in the Northern Territory she played a key role in advocating for LGBTIQ communities and the development of organisational inclusive practice. She has a strong passion for intersections between culturally linguistically diverse CALD and same sex attracted intersex gender diverse SSAIGD communities.

WORKSHOP: 

Breaking the Silence: Trans Women, Feminine Non-binary People and Sexual Assault

(with Starlady)

Increasingly, both health professionals and the broader community are becoming aware of the extent of sexual violence that exists in our society. It is well-established that experiences of sexual assault do not discriminate, with women from all backgrounds overwhelmingly the victims. For trans women and feminine non-binary people – who are often not recognised, and their experiences often not understood as nuanced and personal – the impacts of sexual assault can be more complex. Trans women and feminine non-binary people are not immune to the pandemic of sexual assault, however, due to experiences of discrimination, or fear of discrimination, they may delay or not seek support at all after sexual assault. This workshop will examine how practitioners can address these issues, utilising both general inclusive principles and those specific to responding to sexual assault.
This workshop will demystify sexual assault, as well as equip participants to feel confident in understanding and responding to sexual assault as it is experienced by trans women and feminine non-binary people. The workshop will explore the intersection between trans women and feminine non-binary people’s day-to-day experiences and the ways in which sexual assault manifests in their lives. The workshop will also explore the cultural overlay and narratives that govern the ways in which trans women and feminine non-binary people are perceived. Feelings of shame, fear of judgment, or of not being believed, contribute to poorer physical and mental health outcomes following sexual assault. This workshop will explore how practitioners can proactively mitigate against this reality.
Discrimination and stigma can, and does, influence trans women and feminine non-binary people’s integration of their experiences of sexual violence and consequently contributes to creating additional barriers to help seeking. Taking time to understand trans women and feminine non-binary people’s relationships, dating experiences, and experiences of sexual assault, enables us to promote respectful relationships, safety and recovery from any harms experienced, and ensure best-practice service provision.

Ruby Grant

University of Tasmania, PhD Candidate

Ruby Grant is a queer, feminist tomboy and PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania. Her research interests and areas of expertise include feminist sociology of gender, health and the body, lesbian studies, and queer theory. Her current research explores queer women’s embodied experiences of gender, sexuality and sexual health in Tasmania.

PRESENTATION: 

Towards Inclusive Futures: Providing Inclusive Sexual Healthcare for Rural Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Young Women

Evidence suggests that lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ) young women experience a number of specific sexual health concerns that are further exacerbated in rural areas. Yet these needs are under-researched and routinely excluded from public health promotion, policy, and practice. With some of the lowest rates of routine preventative care access among the LGBTQ community, LBQ young women would significantly benefit from mainstreamed LGBTQ-inclusive medical practice. This study explores LBQ young women’s experiences seeking sexual healthcare in rural Tasmania and evaluates general practitioners’ approaches to inclusive practice. Methodology: In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 15 LBQ young women and 6 general practitioners in Tasmania. Key Findings: Rural LBQ young women value practitioners who are non-judgmental, use gender-neutral inclusive language, and who are willing to self-educate where necessary. In line with these accounts, the practitioners approached inclusive practice with the following strategies: 1) visual inclusivity, 2) inclusive language, 3) confidentiality, 4) education, training, and awareness. Implications for Research and Practice: This research addresses an important gap in LGBTQ health research by focusing on young women’s health experiences in rural areas. By combining accounts from patients and practitioners, this research provides evidence-based directives for delivering inclusive sexual healthcare in general practice settings. Significantly, this research demonstrates the need for improved medical education and vocational training opportunities to support LGBTQ-inclusive medical practice.

 

De Greer-Yindimincarlie

Yindi Artz

From Wiradjuri Nation, now residing in Sydney, De Greer-Yindimincarlie is a woman who is not shy of having a go.  During her career, she has worn labels such as Professional musician, Chef, Graphic designer, Registered nurse, Aboriginal artist, Photographer, Textile designer, Music producer, Talent manager, Youth worker, Product designer & developer, workshop facilitator, University lecturer, Music teacher, Film editor, Recording studio owner and more…

De has run her Aboriginal arts business, Yindi Artz, for the past 11 years on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, which incorporates a multitude of creative mediums, and she is just about to launch her new Sydney based business of plus size activewear, XcessFIT, of which De is garment and textile designer of all collections.

De has worked, performed, and exhibited with some of the best in the industries such as QLD health, National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, First Nations Foundation, Dan Sultan, Wolfmother, Archie Roach, Neil Murray, Andrew Farris, Toledo Museum of Art and the National Art Gallery of Australia. De is very proud that a piece of her artistic creations, whether that be a painting, a product, or her CDs, can be found on every continent in the world.

PRESENTATION:

Big bad business

With sixty per cent of the population considered to be ‘plus size’ and women flexing more economic muscle than ever before, why do major active wear manufacturers insist on catering largely to the other forty per cent?  How societal demands on women to look and be a certain way is a big bad business.

www.yindiartz.com.au

Amy Harper

Twenty10

Amy is a psychologist and has been working as a youth counsellor for Twenty10 inc GLCS NSW for the past two years. Prior to this Amy worked for many years in adult recovery-oriented mental health services. Amy’s approach is largely conversational and collaborative; honouring the person’s experience, perspective and strengths. Amy believes in a holistic, compassionate and non-pathological practice that is informed by social justice principles. She is very interested in topics around community connection, identity and healing.

PRESENTATION:

Uncovering Games of Truth: An exploration of therapeutic work with transfeminine young people

(with Rebecca Howe)

Amy’s role as the sole counsellor, and Rebecca’s role facilitating social support services provide considerable crossover in supporting transfeminine young people accessing Twenty10 inc GLCS NSW. Drawing on a creative collaboration with service users, we consider how the more recent visibility of transfeminine experiences reinforce normative ‘games of truth’? Amy and Rebecca present an exploration of their therapeutic work with transfeminine young people.

Our work with young people asks, in what ways do the narratives of oppression, marginalisation, and medicalisation limit the options and expressions that are available to gender diverse people? In this discussion, Amy and Rebecca utilise Foucault’s concept ‘games of truth’ as a tool, whereby the ‘game’ is not about uncovering, but defining the rules and the subsequent power relationships, by which a person’s ‘truth’ is constructed. Influenced by the the practice of valued colleague Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett, and the writing of nonbinary transfeminine artist, Alok Vaid-Menon, our exploration shines a light on how games of truth both limit, and create the way that transfeminine young people come to observe, recognise, experience and relate to themselves. Through this exploration, we invite you to shine a light on how these games of truth effect and limit your own practice and the systems you work within.

Bonnie Hart

Bonnie Hart is an intersex advocate, XY woman and the President of the AIS Support Group Australia (AISSGA), a peer-based support and advocacy group for intersex people and their families.  Bonnie first publicly outed herself as being intersex in the autobiographical documentary she made with her sister – Orchids: My Intersex Adventure.  She is also an  avant-garde interdisciplinary artist and self-professed ‘acca-dacca-demic’ currently completing post graduate Psychology studies.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: 

The Darlington Statement: Capacity Building for the Intersex Community and Human Rights Movement in Australia

The intersex community in Australia has been divided by language, pathologisation, space, stigma, trauma, silence and the diversity of our bodies and identities.  Consequently representation and unity have been problematic for intersex people. In March 2017, 22 individuals, representing 6 intersex organisations from Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand and the United States met in Darlington, Sydney to hold an Intersex Community and Human Rights Retreat. This historic retreat was the first of its kind in Oceania and addressed issues such as intersex human rights and legal reform; health and wellbeing; peer support, allies; and education and awareness. At the close of the retreat a 56 point consensus statement was drafted outlining the scope of our concerns and our demands for social and political change. The drafting of TheDarlington Statement was an exercise in capacity building for our emerging leaders and sought to address the volume of work needed to ensure empowered access to appropriate quality health services whilst honouring the unique support needs of this is fragile community.  As our struggle is collective and our practices reflexive, this session aims to elucidate how communities united around social justice and health can be nurtured and fortified.

 

Manda Hatter

Manda is a passionate television industry professional who started 30 years ago as one of the first female camera operators in NSW and since then has worked across all facets of TV, including project managing morning TV, general broadcasting, production and the past 15 years spent in senior leadership roles.

Outside of her leadership roles in the television industry, Manda has been involved in the LGBTIQ community for almost two decades.

Since 1997, Manda has held the roles of Secretary, Ride Leader and President (2014 to 2016) of Dykes on Bikes, championing its focus on diversity and inclusiveness. She has worked with various organisations to help grow Dykes on Bikes through her connections within the community. In recent years, Dykes on Bikes has expanded its membership, supporters, allies, friends and impact.

PANEL: 

Building LBQ Women’s Health & Wellbeing Through Visibility and Engagement

Mandy Henningham

Coming from a background in public health, sexual health, and education, Mandy Henningham is a final year PhD student in Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Sydney and teaches in Behavioural and Social Sciences in health at the same university. Currently, Mandy is completing her own mixed-method research project (Born This Way: The psychosocial implications of surgical intervention during infancy on individuals with intersex variations). She is a strong LGBTQIA rights advocate, and has research interests in LGBTQIA health, adolescent health, psychosocial sexology, sexual health, and mental health.

PANEL: LBQ FAMILIES & BIO-ETHICS

Born This Way: The psychosocial implications of surgical intervention during infancy on individuals with intersex variations

Surgical intervention on infants with intersex variations is done largely for social reasons to create a “typical” boy or girl at an age where the individual cannot yet express their gender identity. The literature review identified that individuals who have had non-consensual surgical interventions to their sex characteristics as infants were more likely to experience mental distress, and poor quality of life in adulthood. These individuals may also experience sexual dissatisfaction and dysfunction as a result of surgical interventions. Sex assignments may create social issues, subjecting them to potential discrimination, creating difficulties in obtaining identification documentation and access to some health services. This study explored the long-term psychosocial repercussions of surgical interventions on intersexed infants.

 

Jakk Hodson

Dykes on Bikes, Sydney

Merchandise Officer for Dykes on Bikes Sydney, well known for bringing some retro design style to their current branding and website.

PANEL: 

Building LBQ Women’s Health & Wellbeing Through Visibility and Engagement

Rose Hogan

StandBY Response Service, Manager

Rose Hogan lives, plays and works in the Northern Rivers. A community service provider of many years within a range of agencies, including project work with ACON Northern Rivers. An educator and passionate advocate for the rights and wellbeing of women and children, Rose works within a trauma informed and strength based approach. A staunch advocate for collaborative practice among service providers, acknowledging it takes many to support a healthy, vibrant and diverse community.
Since 2013 she has been the Manager of StandBy Response Service North Coast NSW, a postvention response to the health and wellbeing of people bereaved through suicide.
Rose is a proud lesbian feminist, in her spare time makes sculptures from paper and glue and burns these at the turn of the season. A civil and end of life celebrant, she knows the significance of honoring the days and nights of our lives and all the special and ordinary bits in between.

PANEL: MENTAL HEALTH & LBQ WOMEN

The Invisibility of LBQ women in Regional NSW

Regional NSW, in towns not half a days drive away from Sydney, heteronormative, homophobic and mainstream conservatism is in full throttle. Our community has travelled a long way in recent decades, but for young LBQ women, “growing into their skin” and finding identity, their journey is just beginning. Invisibility equals exclusion– resulting in isolation and disconnection from family, social interactions, education, health and other networks. Disconnection from place impacts on identity, healthy sense of self and a motivation to contribute, often resulting in mental health issues. With restrictions in choice, young LBQ women either leave the region heading for the city and dream of acceptance, or they remain and suffer in fear and silence. For some, overwhelmed with a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, they suicide. Any chance of growing into their true self, to contribute positively to society, is erased. How far we come is still not far enough. It is not good enough. We cannot be complacent about any real or perceived gains, when LBQ women are over represented in our suicide rates. The truth is, for regional youth, it may as well be 1978, where there were no rights or freedoms. Visibility is a risk. Invisibility is an even great risk to their mental health and well being. And the well being of our youth is vital to the rich and diverse country we aspire to.

Philomena Horsley

La Trobe University, Research fellow, Senior Trainer

Philomena works as a Research Fellow and Senior Trainer at Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, based at ARCSHS, La Trobe University. She currently manages the Family Violence program and sits on a number of government committees related to the rollout of the recommendations from the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence. She is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne where she lectures on gender, health and sexual violence and has previously coordinated its ‘Gender, Health and Violence’ and ‘Gender and Health’ Masters-level subjects. Her recent research includes a national research project on older women’s experiences of sexual assault (the ‘Norma Project’), and a focus on family violence issues involving the LGBTI community. Philomena has extensive expertise in the area of research ethics, with a particular interest in communities marginalised by disability, ethnicity and sexual and gender diversity. She is currently a member of the Human Research Ethics Committees of both the Victorian Department of Justice & Regulation and Scope Victoria. In 2001, she was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll for Women and awarded a Centenary Medal for her work in women’s health, disability and HIV/AIDS.

PRESENTATION:

Opening doors (and minds) to LBQ women in the Family Violence sector

In Australia the identification and response to family and domestic violence has focussed on addressing the unequal power relations between heterosexual men and women and their children. However this approach continues to largely ignore or marginalise the experiences of LGBTI people in relation to intimate partner violence as well as the violence we experience from family members and carers.
The final report of the 2016 Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence specifically addressed the needs of the LGBTI communities. It made significant recommendations with regard to LGBTI-specific resources, research and programs, as well as mandated the implementation of LGBTI-inclusive practice in the Family Violence sector (via specialised training and Rainbow Tick accreditation). In response to these challenges, as well as the documented needs of other at-risk groups (such as women with disabilities and immigrant women), the State Government is endeavouring to develop a more intersectional approach to violence.
This paper presents offers a progress report on where we are at in Victoria, including some the recent initiatives to ensure that the State’s Gender and Violence strategies are inclusive of our community. GLHV, for instance, is funded to both assist regional Women’s Health Services to develop an intersectional approach to preventing violence against women, and to develop and trial a statewide training module on LGBTI FV for the family violence sector. In particular, I discuss some of the the challenges ahead for the FV/DV sector as it strives to integrate sexual orientation and gender diversity with the “gender inequality” frameworks it relies upon for its prevention and intervention work. Ultimately, we are working to ensure that the rights of LBQ women (and GBQ men) to be safe at home are not considered an ‘optional extra’ for the FV sector.

Rebecca Howe

Twenty10

Rebecca has 15 years of experience in the youth homelessness sector, 8 of those at Twenty10 inc GLCS NSW. Rebecca’s role as facilitator of social support services enables in a theoretically grounded, constantly evolving practice that incorporates fierce youth advocacy with a critical queer intersectional lens, while at the same time responding to a constant flow of questions from young people she works alongside.

PRESENTATION:

Uncovering Games of Truth: An exploration of therapeutic work with transfeminine young people

(with Amy Harper)

Amy’s role as the sole counsellor, and Rebecca’s role facilitating social support services provide considerable crossover in supporting transfeminine young people accessing Twenty10 inc GLCS NSW. Drawing on a creative collaboration with service users, we consider how the more recent visibility of transfeminine experiences reinforce normative ‘games of truth’? Amy and Rebecca present an exploration of their therapeutic work with transfeminine young people.

Our work with young people asks, in what ways do the narratives of oppression, marginalisation, and medicalisation limit the options and expressions that are available to gender diverse people? In this discussion, Amy and Rebecca utilise Foucault’s concept ‘games of truth’ as a tool, whereby the ‘game’ is not about uncovering, but defining the rules and the subsequent power relationships, by which a person’s ‘truth’ is constructed. Influenced by the the practice of valued colleague Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett, and the writing of nonbinary transfeminine artist, Alok Vaid-Menon, our exploration shines a light on how games of truth both limit, and create the way that transfeminine young people come to observe, recognise, experience and relate to themselves. Through this exploration, we invite you to shine a light on how these games of truth effect and limit your own practice and the systems you work within.

 

Bex Hulands

Dykes on Bikes, Sydney

The current Treasurer of Dykes on Bikes Sydney, Bex is a proud Femme used to busting stereotypes people might have about the riders in the club. She’s been a committee member for the past six years, helping wrangle over 200 riders each year in the Mardi Gras parade.

PANEL: 

Building LBQ Women’s Health & Wellbeing Through Visibility and Engagement

 

 

Jet Hunt

Headspace Wollongong

Jet is a Peer Facilitator at Rainbow League in Wollongong, as well as a youth worker and case worker. They have experience running training for youth workers as well as developing and facilitating programs for young people. They have a focus on sexualities education and sexual health, specifically for marginalised young people. They believe that all young people have the right to access sexualities education that is relevant, respectful and sex positive.

PRESENTATION: 

Rainbow League: Engaging Young People in Wollongong

(with Erin Masters)

This presentation will explore Rainbow League, a group for sex and gender diverse young people in Wollongong, created through a partnership between Headspace Wollongong and Wollongong Youth Services, and facilitated by two peer facilitators. Rainbow League provides both health and wellbeing education and social support for young sex and gender diverse women in Wollongong. Erin and Jet will reflect on their  relative experiences in Rainbow League, and the impacts for participants.

 

IndigiLez Women’s Leadership and Support Group

Aunty Dawn Daylight, Tanya Quakawoot, Rebecca Johnson (Founders)

Founders Rebecca Johnson and Tanya Quakawoot formed IndigiLez Leadership and Support Group in 2008. Both women are passionate advocates for improving the lives of Indigenous lesbians and same sex attracted women. The women’s personal experiences of growing up in their respective small country communities in the Wide Bay-Burnett and Central Queensland areas have encouraged them to make a difference in the Indigenous community and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community. As young adults Rebecca and Tanya encountered extremely challenging obstacles because of their identity: Aboriginal, women and lesbian.

WORKSHOP:

The Yarning Circle

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lesbians encounter a range of problems including discrimination (racism, sexism, homophobia), domestic violence, homelessness, victimization and mental health symptoms (to name a few). As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people we rely heavily on strong connections to country and family. This is an integral role in the well being of us. We also rely heavily on this connection to help us overcome a lot of obstacles throughout our life.

Emma Jane

UNSW, Senior Research Fellow/Senior Lecturer

Dr Emma A. Jane (previously known as Emma Tom) is an award-winning scholar, author, and former journalist who once replaced the Moscow Circus lady in the Globe of Death on a dare from a newspaper reader. She has written nine books, 681 tweets, and a few dud cheques.

PRESENTATION: 

“Return my vagina at once”: on cancer, chronic illness, and queering the Medical Industrial Complex

In 2014, I was diagnosed and treated for two types of cervical cancer. Since then, I’ve had three surgeries, two post-cancer chronic illness diagnoses, and a cuntillion of medical appointments and procedures. Lowlights of the latter include: (1) having my vagina renamed and repeatedly referred to by specialists as a “vault” because it no longer ends in a cervix; (2) having to endure really horrible, kill-me-now-type pain in my private lady parts during medical procedures when there have actually been plenty of analgesic options available; and (3) having to endure really horrible, kill-me-now-type pain in my private lady parts during medical procedures because various medical professionals had no idea what they were doing and in one particularly memorable case had to stop half way through while my friend Googled the procedure to try to help everyone work out why the hell I was screaming and bleeding so much (#truestory). In this presentation, I will discuss: how these experiences have taught me to become a fierce advocate for my health; how to enlist and train friends and loved ones as medical co-pilots; and how it is possible to both deeply distrust yet also make good use of medical-type professionals when medical-type catastrophes arise. I will also explain how, for me, queering the Medical Industrial Complex goes beyond simply turning up at the hospital as a queer patient with queer found family members as support folk, in that it also involves problematising “normal” medical protocols (such as the way doctors tend to ignore the impact of and complications posed by women’s pre-existing mental health issues, history of abuse and trauma etcetera) and normalising “problematic” requests (for instance, my demand that specialists quit it with the vaulting and return my vagina at once).

Jen Johnson

Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, BBV Program Coordinator

Jen has 18 years of diverse work experience within the community, health and research sectors in Victoria, with particular expertise in HIV and viral hepatitis. Currently in her role as Blood Borne Virus Program Coordinator Jen leads on a range of knowledge translation and research to practice initiatives which support the HIV and hepatitis workforce in Victoria. She also coordinates a range of training programs and workforce practice networks focusing on priority and emerging issues for communities affected by or at risk of HIV and viral hepatitis. Jen is an experienced project manager and has very strong networks and relationships within the Victorian BBV sector.

PRESENTATION: 

Home insemination and HIV prevention among same-sex attracted communities in Victoria

Changes in Australian laws and social attitudes have resulted in more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people having children. Increasing numbers of lesbians and gay men are bypassing clinical fertility services and entering into private arrangements to conceive children by inseminating fresh donor sperm at home.

This presentation will describe findings from a project which explored the nature of, and evidence for, HIV and STI risk in the context of home insemination. Data was collected from interviews and focus groups with 28 clinical and community based key informants who work with LGBT prospective parents and donors. Inductive, thematic analysis was undertaken to explore the knowledge, perceptions and experiences of participants.

Six themes related to home insemination were identified: reasons for choosing home insemination, limited donor options, the lack of support for HIV positive prospective donors, the barriers to talking openly about sexual practice and risk, access to services and stigma, and time constraints related to fertility. Many LGBT people choose home insemination as it is more intimate and cheaper than using fertility services. However, there are several barriers to open and comprehensive discussions between donors and prospective parents about HIV/STI risks. These barriers include lack of awareness of STI risks, desire to minimise or ignore risk due to fear of loss of fertility, limited options for becoming parents by other means, and assumptions made by women about the donor’s sexual practices.

This presentation will also explore ways of supporting LGBT prospective parents, donors and service providers to accurately assess and minimise the risks associated with home insemination. It will also explore some considerations for prospective donors who are living with HIV.

Jessica Kean

University of Sydney, Scholarly Teaching Fellow

Dr Jessica Kean is a Scholarly Teaching Fellow in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Her research and teaching interests include queer theory, sexuality and intimate relationships. She is currently working with Relationships Australia and ACON to develop domestic and intimate partner violence intervention programs tailored for LGBTIQ people.

PRESENTATION: 

Rethinking Domestic Violence Intervention Models

The experience of domestic or intimate partner violence (DV/IPV) within some relationships between LBQ women raises conceptual and practical challenges for DV/IPV intervention programs. Traditional feminist explanations of DV/IPV in heterosexual relationships frame the phenomenon as (at least in part) a consequence of individual sexism and/or systemic gendered inequalities. These logics are deeply embedded in intervention programs for perpetrators and survivors, and remain the primary way that broader social forces are acknowledged and critiqued within service models which largely individualise responsibility for change.

Stretching this gendered model to explain DV/IPV in queer relationships is appealing insofar as it promises coherence with received feminist knowledge. Attempts to do so, however, have often struggled to capture the specificities of DV/IPV experiences and risk factors for LBQ women, the complexity of ‘gender’ as conceptualised in queer theory, and the way gender intersects with other patterns of marginalisation and privilege. Developing separate models to explain DV/IPV in queer relationships is appealing insofar as it appears to offer a way to acknowledge and respect difference while leaving existing heterosexual curricula unchanged. Despite its practical appeal, this approach risks obscuring the overlap in experiences of DV/IPV across these groups, and, perhaps more significantly, misses the opportunity to update and refine the traditional models for explaining DV/IPV in heterosexual contexts.

This paper will conclude by imagining what a truly intersectional conceptual framework for DV/IPV would look like: a framework capable of retaining coherence across specific populations and experiences, while being flexible enough to acknowledge differences between them.

Jaya Keaney

University of Sydney

Jaya Keaney is a PhD candidate and sessional tutor in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Her research explores the role of race in the experiences of queer parents who use third party reproduction technologies (donor-assisted conception and surrogacy) to conceive children.

PANEL: LBQ FAMILIES & BIO-ETHICS

LBQ families and race in donor-assisted conception

This paper explores the role of race in LBQ women’s experiences of selecting sperm donors when conceiving children through donor-assisted conception in Australia. LGBT people are a growing clientele for IVF clinics and reproductive technology industries in Australia, as seen in the recent opening of a Sydney branch of ‘Rainbow Fertility’ clinic in 2016. When selecting a sperm donor through a clinic, ‘race’ is a primary category through which available donors are catalogued and chosen by intending parents. And yet, questions of racial and ethnic diversity are underexplored in current academic literature: there is little discussion of how racial identity impacts parents’ experiences or difficulty in accessing diverse donors, and and no clinical guidelines around race currently exist. In this talk, I will discuss some of the findings of my PhD research, which is based on qualitative interviews with queer parents about their experiences of race in donor-assisted conception. I will explore the ways race is currently talked about in donor-assisted conception, the practice of ‘race matching’ (selecting a donor of similar racial appearance to the parent who will not contribute their oocyte), the growth of “unmatched” or multiracial families, and the need for greater awareness, clinical guidelines and support for LBQ parents around issues of race in donor-assisted conception.

Edda Lampis

ACON

Edda Lampis is a Community Health Promotion Officer at ACON Northern Rivers, based in Lismore. She works with the local LGBTIQ community delivering health promotion programs, community development and adult education initiatives with an focus on working with lesbian, bisexual, queer women. Edda holds a Master’s Degree in Trauma and Healing from Southern Cross University.

PRESENTATION: 

Opening Doors – transgender and gender diverse peoples access to domestic and family violence services

The aims of the Northern Rivers NSW “Opening Doors” project are to raise awareness of healthy and unhealthy relationship dynamics in the local transgender and gender diverse community and to promote the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people within domestic and family violence services. This small resource development project has produced a service poster and innovative community referral resource featuring the faces and words of local Northern Rivers NSW transgender and gender diverse people. Both resources have been the result of significant consultation with the local community and local domestic and family violence services.

The project hopes to increase the capacity of community members to identify and seek support for experiences of domestic and family violence and also to support service providers to keep working towards building their confidence and competence to offer appropriate and inclusive services to everyone who needs them. As a result of the “Opening Doors” resource project, ACON’s partnerships with Northern Rivers’ service providers has strengthened as ACON, other service providers and community members worked together to mark out a clear and visible space for gender diverse people within traditionally gendered services. This work continues on with upcoming training for Northern Rivers services and plans to continue this collaboration with community on future projects.

In this presentation Edda will outline the challenges reported by regional transgender and gender diverse people in accessing domestic and family violence services. She will share the recommendations that came directly through the extensive community consultation of this project about how to open the doors of domestic and family violence services to transgender and gender diverse people.

Dr Vanessa Lee

Senior researcher in social epidemiology within the discipline of Behavioural and Social Sciences in the Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Sydney, chair Public Health Indigenous Leadership Education Network and a director on the board of Suicide Prevention Australia.

Dr Vanessa Lee (BTD, MPH, PhD) is from the Yupungathi and Meriam people, Cape York and the Torres Strait.  Apart from holding a number of expert advisory positions, Dr Lee has contributed to public health policy as the first National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Vice President of the Public Health Association of Australia focusing on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and social justice issues.  In her capacity as a director for Suicide Prevention Australia, Vanessa is engaged in national and international policy development, discussions and strategies to address Indigenous health and wellness of sexuality and gender diverse people and women’s health for suicide prevention.  Dr Lee recently received public acknowledgement for her contribution towards closing the gap in Indigenous life expectancy, from Prime Minister Turnbull. Vanessa is a social epidemiologist with extensive experience in public health research, curriculum development, and public health policy development and evaluation.  Dr Lee’s overarching goal is to improve the health and wellness, determinants of health, efficacy and linkages of services towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s life promotion.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS:

Suicide and Mental Health of LBQ Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Women

The disparity in health between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-Indigenous people is not a new phenomenon. Current mainstream data sets for mental health or social emotional well-being and suicide have long since highlighted the statistical evidence between family and domestic violence and other forms of harm such as sexual violence, bullying and interpersonal violence more broadly. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LBQ or sexuality and gender diverse women the stereotyping within communities often links sexuality and gender diversity to a disease rather than a cultural identity. This type of societal reaction can cause anxiety, depression and at times suicide. National data shows that 29% of the deaths for the 15 – 34 age groups are caused by suicide and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women between the age of 20 and 24 years are five times more likely to commit suicide than other women (ATSISEP, 2016).  The national data on sexuality and gender diverse people shows that 34% hide their sexuality and gender when accessing services and anxiety disorders are more prevalent in LGBTIQ identified suicides (AHRC, 2014). There is currently minimal data identifying the levels of mental health or social emotional well-being and suicide that identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LBQ or sexuality and gender diverse women experience. Without substantial data there are insufficient and culturally inappropriate services addressing this issue. The aim of this presentation is to promote life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LBQ or sexuality and gender diverse women by addressing identifiable measures of social and emotional well-being or mental health and to reduce suicide.

Raquel Lowe

ACON

Raquel has previously worked at Odyssey House long term rehabilitation centre and is currently working as a Community Health Promotion Officer in ACON’s alcohol and other drug team, a role which she has been in for 2 years. Raquel’s current role aligns with her passions for both harm reduction and working with the LGBTI community.

PRESENTATION: 

The power of partnership: CESPHN and ACON working together to tackle LBQ women’s substance use

(with Lexi Buckfield)

International and domestic research identifies alcohol and other drug (AOD) use as being higher amongst Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer (LBQ) women than for their heterosexual counterparts (Sydney Women and Sexual Health (SWASH) survey, the National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report, the ALICE study, Australian Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health, National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing to name a few).
Figures from the SWASH survey found that almost half (48%) of the 2014 sample had used an illicit drug in the preceding six months and it is for this reason that LBQ women’s AOD use has long been a priority area for ACON to address.
In line with this research, Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network (CESPHN) conducted a regional needs assessment which identified LBQ women and the LGBTI population more broadly as a priority group. This has enabled ACON to partner with CESPHN to explore effective population health interventions and to develop a social marketing campaign to enable the community to better identify AoD issues and provide education and resources to support people who use alcohol and other drugs with a focus on methamphetamine.
This presentation will showcase the results of a scoping exercise that ACON is undertaking to better understand what digital interventions are most effective amongst the LGBTI community and introduce ACON’s exciting upcoming AOD digital social marketing campaign.

Fiona Magee

Stimulant Services, St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, Counsellor and Social Worker

Fiona Magee works as a counsellor in Stimulant Services at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney which provides outpatient counselling and brief interventions to psycho-stimulant drug users. She completed a Bachelor of Social Work with First Class Honours at the University of New South Wales in 2014 and is currently studying a Masters of Social Work (Counselling) at the University of New South Wales. Fiona has a background of working in drug and alcohol and hospital social work, as well as previous experience working in youth services and local government. She is passionate about working with and advocating for clients of diverse genders, sexual orientations and intersex variation; and conducting research of how health service provision can be improved for this client population. Today she will present her Social Work Honours Thesis that was recently published in Australian Social Work Journal, ‘Coming out of the therapy closet’: women’s disclosure of same-sex attraction in counselling.

PRESENTATION: 

Coming out of the Therapy Closet: Women’s Disclosure of Same-sex Attraction in Counselling

In a heteronormative society like Australia, “Coming out” is a process that same-sex attracted people undergo if they choose to acknowledge it to others. Same-sex attracted people can be required to come out to anybody they interact with throughout their lifetime, including health professionals, to avoid heteronormative assumptions being made about them. Disclosure of sexual orientation by same-sex attracted clients in healthcare settings confers the advantage of better treatment outcomes, enabling clinicians to provide greater holistic care. Non-disclosure of sexual orientation to professionals may result in missed opportunities for the client, such as receiving culturally appropriate health interventions and referrals.

Minimal research exists examining the coming-out experience for same-sex attracted women in counselling settings. This qualitative study addressed the gaps in existing research by exploring counsellors’ perceptions of factors influencing same-sex attracted female clients to disclose their sexual orientation to a counsellor. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 counsellors from diverse clinical backgrounds.

In their view, the main factors influencing disclosure were the perceived lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBQ) friendliness of a service or counsellor; the presence of LGBQ symbols within services, such as rainbow stickers and brochures advertising LGB services; using gender-neutral language; and the level of a client’s self-acceptance of their sexual orientation prior to entering counselling. These findings suggest that the utilisation of culturally affirming models by counsellors working with same-sex attracted female clients that celebrates and normalises diverse sexual orientation, is optimal so a safe environment for disclosure of same-sex attraction can be created. Practical suggestions of how to implement the findings of this study into generalist healthcare settings will also be explored in this presentation.

 

Erin Masters

Wollongong City Council Youth Services

Erin is a Youth Development Worker at Wollongong City Councils Youth Services. Erin has 15 years’ experience working in Youth Work and has developed two programs aimed at working with young same sex attracted and gender diverse people.

PRESENTATION: 

Rainbow League: Engaging Young People in Wollongong

(with Jet Hunt)

This presentation will explore Rainbow League, a group for sex and gender diverse young people in Wollongong, created through a partnership between Headspace Wollongong and Wollongong Youth Services, and facilitated by two peer facilitators. Rainbow League provides both health and wellbeing education and social support for young sex and gender diverse women in Wollongong. Erin and Jet will reflect on their  relative experiences in Rainbow League, and the impacts for participants.

Viv McGregor

ACON, Coordinator, Women’s Sexual Health Project

Viv McGregor has a PhD in Gender and Cultural Studies from the University of Sydney and has taught gender studies, queer theory. sexuality studies and feminist theory at USYD & UNSW. She is currently the Community Engagement Coordinator of the Lesbian and Same Sex Attracted Women’s Sexual Health Project at ACON.

PRESENTATION: 

Queering Safe Sex: Creating New Narratives for STI Prevention for LBQ Women

Sex between women and “lesbian” safe sex is absent from dominant sexual scripts – where “safe sex” is immediately equated with using a condom for penile-vaginal or penile-anal intercourse – which means that other forms of protection and other forms of sex are rendered invisible, and are actually removed from the category of “real sex” altogether (a heteronormative erasure any same sex attracted woman is only too familiar with).

This paper will discuss the concept of ‘sexual scripts’ in regards to safe sex practices, and the lack of narratives and language available to women who have sex with women, and how the CLAUDE project attempts to make visible and other forms of safe sex for queer women (and the broader LGBTIQ community).

CLAUDE is an online sexual health resource and art project for WSW and an initiative of ACON that attempts – through the use of creativity, humour and art-based online outreach – to focus on sexual practice over sexual identity, while creating space for new narratives of ‘queer safe sex’ to emerge.

This paper will discuss the success of the online resource, with a focus on one art-based collaboration with feminist cabaret group Lady Sings it Better: analysing how the music video Closer (CLAUDE x Lady Sings it Better) actively engaged with the structures of meaning that render sex between women invisible in the first place. The referential quality of the work engages with – and represents – ‘lesbian’ sex acts while at the same time undermining and mocking the power structures that rendered those acts invisible in the first place: creating space for new narratives of safe sex to filter into language and sexual cultures.

Ruth McNair

University of Melbourne

Ruth is a GP academic specializing in LGBT health. She has interests in mental health, substance use, health care access, and parenting. She is leading a large LGBTI homelessness study at Melbourne University. She chairs the LGBTI health advisory group to the Victorian government and was inducted to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2017.

PRESENTATION: 

Risk factors for LGBTIQ homelessness and service gaps: Towards inclusive practice guidelines

(with Cal Andrews)

Co-authors: Ruth McNair, Sharon Parkinson, Deborah Dempsey.

This presentation will provide a brief overview of specific risk factors for LGBTIQ people with respect to becoming homeless, particularly discrimination, poor mental health, and trauma, and family conflict. Discussion will then focus on current gaps in service provision, ongoing challenges, and examples of where improvements have been made. Presenters will draw on data from various sources, such as semi-structured interviews with selected service providers and clients, a secondary data analysis of the national Journeys Home study, and some reflections on a model of care for trans and gender diverse people that has been piloted at a major mainstream homelessness service provider. This will lead into a brief discussion about national best practice guidelines.

 

Chelsea McPhail Rosenberg

Chelsea is a passionate advocate for LGBTI equality within the workplace. Whilst on the Woolworths Graduate Program Chelsea co-founded Proud, the Woolworths LGBTI Network.  With the support of colleagues, she grew the Proud Network from 50 to over 1000 members and the Woolworths group has incorporated LGBTI strategies into all banners of the business.  In 2017, Chelsea was recognised for her work to date by Out For Australia winning the Young Professional Role Model of the Year award.

PANEL: 

The Great Debate: LBQ Women @ Work and Wellbeing 

Should we be asking senior women to come out in order to increase the visibility of LBQ women within executive positions for the overall health and wellbeing of our LBQ millenials in the workplace?

Julie Mooney-Somers

University of Sydney, Senior Lecturer

Dr Julie Mooney-Somers is a social researcher at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, School of Public Health, University of Sydney. Her research examines equity in health and health services in relation to sexuality, gender, indigenous status, and youth. She is the joint coordinator of SWASH, the lesbian, bisexual and queer women’s health survey.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS:

Same-Sex Attracted Women in Sydney: the SWASH Study

WORKSHOP: 

Smoking and quitting among LBQ women in Australia – an interactive workshop

(with Ruth Praegar)

Australia is a tobacco control success story, with some of the lowest rates in the industrialised world. Yet smoking has remained high among lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) women; twice the rate of heterosexual women. Our recent work looked at smoking interventions designed for LGBT people. But there is little research on how LBQ women perceive mainstream anti-smoking campaigns. We know that certain formats, messages and imagery may not work – and may increase inequality – for different groups (Passey 2013). We draw on focus groups conducted with LBQ smokers and ex-smokers in NSW to consider how well mainstream anti-smoking campaigns work for LBQ women.

Mainstream messaging overwhelmingly failed to resonate with our participants. Messaging and imagery were un-relatable: they saw old men, unhealthy people, no one like them. Women, when featured, only quit smoking to fulfil family responsibilities. LBQ women were suspicious about health agencies telling them what to do or trying to scare them. For them, quitting was about self-determination.

In contrast, they found people/characters in popular culture who smoked were highly relatable. They were real, romantic, passionate, troubled, badass, sexy and alternative. Characters who smoked were dealing with rage, pain, angst, and devastating situations. And they were having fun.

LBQ women wanted to see anti-smoking campaigns featuring relatable people who don’t smoke but are having a great social life. Messaging should be present not future focused. They wanted to be reassured that quitting is achievable for women like them, and that without a cigarette, they’d still be themselves. Overall they wanted campaigns to normalise not-smoking for LBQ communities.

If we are to tackle the shocking persistent disparity in smoking rates, we need to design campaigns that speak to LBQ women and reflect their lives. We need to pay attention to what smoking represents and think creatively about re-fashioning these representations to make resonant and effective campaigns to support LBQ women in their efforts to stop smoking.

Co-authors: Johann Kolstee, Manager Research & Grants Development, ACON & Samar Haidar, currently Master of Public Health candidate, UTS; previously Senior Project Officer, LBQ Women’s Tobacco Reduction Project ACON.

Richelle Menzies

QUAC, Training and Development Coordinator

PRESENTATION: 

Queer Women Have Their Say in Qld: the yearly ZEST survey

ZEST (previously the Lesbian Health Action Group LHAG) has been engaging LBQ women in their health since 2008, every year their work is informed by a self-reported health and wellbeing survey of women at various events. ZEST has learnt many lessons over the years of conducting a survey of QLD queer women, each year health promotion and events are based on the top three issues women report. For the past several years domestic violence (DV), mental health and relationships have been the top 3 issues reported. This presentation will explore what queer women in QLD have to say about these issues and how this has informed the work of ZEST in the past and for 2017.

Kirstie Parker

Kirstie Parker, a Yuwallarai (pron: yoo-wal-ah-rye) woman from northern NSW, has been CEO of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern, Sydney, since October 2015. She was formerly a Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and, through that role, also co-chaired the Close the Gap National Steering Committee and the Change the Record Coalition.

Kirstie is also a Director of Reconciliation Australia and the Indigenous Remote Communications Association (IRCA). She has a long and distinguished career in Indigenous affairs and especially media. Among other roles, she was editor of the Koori Mail newspaper for seven years, the inaugural executive officer of the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC), and Director of Public Affairs for ATSIC.

Kirstie’s efforts have been acknowledged by multiple awards, including an Australian Peacewoman Award presented by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in May 2015. In October 2012, she was honoured in the inaugural Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards. She was a joint winner of the print media category of the 2008 Australian Human Rights Awards, and in 2000 received a Centenary Medal for her contribution to the Indigenous community and Australian life.

www.kirstieparker.com

KEYNOTE ADDRESS:

Same same but different and that’s okay

Identity and intersectionality from the perspective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer women. Vulnerability and strength, and how they co-exist within us. What role can LBQ women of non-Indigenous backgrounds play in achieving a fairer and more just future for the First Australians? We’re going to need your help – can we count on you?

 

Mish Pony

Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association, Trans sex worker representative

Mish Pony is the trans sex worker representative for Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association, as well as the administration manager and national training and assessment project coordinator. They are a queer trans woman sex worker from Sydney with about nine years experience in the sex industry. Mish also sits on the board for AFAO. Mish has facilitated numerous workshops and presented at conferences on trans, queer and sex worker issues around Australia and internationally, and has a long history of queer, trans and sex worker activism.

WORKSHOP: 

Are trans women being left behind?

This workshop will work with participants to brainstorm the barriers that LBQ trans women face in accessing LBQ women’s health services, and work together to come up with strategies to address these barriers within programs and holistically within a broader organisation. It will also look at how trans women’s positioning within health organisations has moved from being within an MSM space to now not being addressed consistently across Australia and largely un-/underfunded.

Jennifer Power

Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Senior Research Fellow

Jennifer Power is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University. She works in the areas of HIV, sexual health and sexuality, in particular looking at fertility, reproductive choices and parenting among LGBT people.

PRESENTATION: 

Reproductive choices among Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women in Australia

Parenting among lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) women is not a new phenomenon. Planned queer parenthood emerged in the context of the women’s health movement of the 1960s and 70s and has, until relatively recently, existed in opposition to mainstream medicine, which was perceived as male dominated and deeply heterosexist. However, the recent removal of legal barriers to lesbian couples and single women accessing fertility clinic services and the lucrative market the LGBT communities represent to fertility clinics, have had a significant impact on fertility practices amongst LGBT Australians. In this paper, we will present findings from a project which examines how the combined forces of law and medicine have transformed planned parenting within Australia’s LGBT communities. In particular, we will look at the reproductive choices of LBQ women in Australia, including choices to become a parent or not, women’s pathways to parenthood and the experiences of LBQ women within clinical fertility services.

Ruth Praeger

University of Sydney, MPhil Candidate

Ruth Praeger is an MPhil candidate with the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health. Her project aims to understand tobacco use and cessation strategies in lesbian, bisexual and queer women in Australia and internationally. With a background in medical laboratory science, she has a keen interest in health in minority populations.

WORKSHOP: 

Smoking and quitting among LBQ women in Australia – an interactive workshop

(with Julie Mooney-Somers)

Australia is a tobacco control success story, with some of the lowest rates in the industrialised world. Yet smoking has remained high among lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) women; twice the rate of heterosexual women. Our recent work looked at smoking interventions designed for LGBT people. But there is little research on how LBQ women perceive mainstream anti-smoking campaigns. We know that certain formats, messages and imagery may not work – and may increase inequality – for different groups (Passey 2013). We draw on focus groups conducted with LBQ smokers and ex-smokers in NSW to consider how well mainstream anti-smoking campaigns work for LBQ women.

Mainstream messaging overwhelmingly failed to resonate with our participants. Messaging and imagery were un-relatable: they saw old men, unhealthy people, no one like them. Women, when featured, only quit smoking to fulfil family responsibilities. LBQ women were suspicious about health agencies telling them what to do or trying to scare them. For them, quitting was about self-determination.

In contrast, they found people/characters in popular culture who smoked were highly relatable. They were real, romantic, passionate, troubled, badass, sexy and alternative. Characters who smoked were dealing with rage, pain, angst, and devastating situations. And they were having fun.

LBQ women wanted to see anti-smoking campaigns featuring relatable people who don’t smoke but are having a great social life. Messaging should be present not future focused. They wanted to be reassured that quitting is achievable for women like them, and that without a cigarette, they’d still be themselves. Overall they wanted campaigns to normalise not-smoking for LBQ communities.

If we are to tackle the shocking persistent disparity in smoking rates, we need to design campaigns that speak to LBQ women and reflect their lives. We need to pay attention to what smoking represents and think creatively about re-fashioning these representations to make resonant and effective campaigns to support LBQ women in their efforts to stop smoking.

Co-authors: Johann Kolstee, Manager Research & Grants Development, ACON & Samar Haidar, currently Master of Public Health candidate, UTS; previously Senior Project Officer, LBQ Women’s Tobacco Reduction Project ACON.

Karen Price

Deputy CEO, ACON

Karen Price has over 17 years experience working at senior levels in the Australian health sector.  In Federal and State Government roles as well as in the not for profit and university sectors, Karen has led significant health program areas including mental health, ageing and aged care, drug and alcohol and anti-doping in sport. With professional qualifications in both education and health, Karen’s interests are in the translation of evidence into programs and services that support people living well in communities.

More specifically, Karen has extensive experience in evidence based policy and program development; community engagement; effective health messaging; partnerships – especially between communities and governments; health inequities, structural determinants of health and working with marginalised communities. Karen has experience contributing to governance and advisory boards, research committees, and was a member of Australia’s delegation to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Currently, Karen is the Deputy CEO of ACON – Australia’s largest community based organisation specialising in HIV prevention, care and support, as well as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer health.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS:

Putting SWASH Data into Action

Caroline Ridler

Switchboard Victoria, Project Coordinator

I’m the coordinator for the Everybody Under the Rainbow project at Switchboard Victoria (a peer based LGBTIQ phone counselling and referral service: http://www.switchboard.org.au). I self-identify as a queer desi woman of colour and have been involved with LGBTIQ, Women’s and People of Colour organising within Melbourne for many years.

WORKSHOP: 

Racism, white supremacy and settler colonialism within LGBTIQ service providers, organising and communities

This workshop is about racism, white supremacy and settler colonialism within LGBTIQ service providers, organising and communities. The discussion will first define what white supremacy, racism and settler colonialism is and provide case studies or examples of how it plays out in LGBTIQ communities. I’ll look to the history of LGBTIQ advocacy in this country and how it has attended to the needs of First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous people of colour.  Then I will look at the values and assumptions embedded within LGBTIQ advocacy and narratives: of coming out, of chosen family, of marriage equality, of sex positivity, and how this includes (or excludes) Indigenous and/or people of colour and people of faith. I will then move onto a section focused on anti-racist strategies for LGBTIQ organisations and communities for addressing this inequality. This will look into more formal frameworks like ‘Affirmative Action’ and Racial Literacy training but also personal and emotional strategies like empathetic listening, becoming mindful of the spaces we take up or the comfort/discomfort we feel. I will then  focus on strategies of survival and self-care for LGTIQ people of colour and discuss what that could tangibly look like, for example- participating in qtpoc community support.

Helen Riseborough

Women’s Health In the North, CEO

Helen Riseborough is the CEO at Women’s Health In the North (WHIN for short), the regional women’s health service covering Melbourne’s northern metropolitan suburbs. WHIN is committed to addressing gender inequities in health that arise from the social, economic and environmental determinants of health. WHIN takes a gendered approach to health promotion work that focuses on reducing inequalities and improving the health outcomes for women. Our priorities include preventing violence against women, sexual and reproductive health, integration and coordination of family violence services and systems, financial capability, disaster management and environmental justice. Prior to working at WHIN, Helen has worked for twenty-five years in the areas of homelessness and housing services, community health, local government, and a short stint in state government.

PRESENTATION: 

LGBTI people’s experiences of disaster & emergency management (EM) in Victoria

This presentation reports on the findings from the first Victorian research into the experiences and needs of LGBTI communities in emergencies. It follows earlier research in NSW and Queensland, and confirms that LGBTI people may face additional problems in an emergency and encounter increased barriers in accessing support. The research was led by the Gender and Disaster (GAD) Pod & GLHV@ARCSHS, La Trobe University. It was funded by Dept. of Premier & Cabinet, Victoria, and findings are intended to inform the development of Emergency Management (EM) policies and procedures to ensure they reflect LGBTI-inclusive practice. The project methodology included a web-based survey of EM personnel and a workshop of senior leaders in the EM sector. Responses to the survey for LGBTI people were limited, and as a result, four in-depth interviews with lesbian and bisexual women were conducted by the GAD Pod to supplement the data. The context of LGBTI people’s lived experience of discrimination is fundamental to understanding the LGBTI responses to this survey as discrimination against LGBTI people in the everyday is profound. The survey of LGBTI people in relation to disaster situations found that the historical and current discrimination against LGBTI people contributes to a reluctance to approach institutions or organisations. The survey of EM personnel found that there have been recent achievements in some emergency service organisations and, despite the limited availability of education on the topic, a significant proportion of EM respondents demonstrated a commitment to considering the needs of LGBTI people in emergencies. However, there were several EM respondents strongly hostile to the surveys and a substantial proportion who mistakenly believed ‘treating everyone the same’ to be good practice. EM respondents discussed the role of strong leadership in instigating change and the need for cultural change to support bystander intervention. Some of the recommendations from EM respondents included training; peer support; charters, policy reminders and statements of management commitment; and policy based on knowledge. Recommendations were refined during the workshop with more than 30 senior EM leaders, and will be part of this presentation.

Emma Rodrigues

Emma Rodrigues is a mum, partner, women’s health professional and community advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community of the Illawarra. Completing her undergraduate degree in registered nursing in the 1990’s, Emma has since expanded her professional and academic portfolio to match her social conscience with the goal of improving local health service delivery for people of diverse sexuality and gender,  and intersex people. Emma has undertaken postgraduate studies in adult education, clinical service redesign and health leadership and management, was a finalist in the ACON Honour Awards in 2014 and currently works with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District in Women’s Health and as co-lead of the ISLHD Violence Abuse and Neglect (VAN) Service/Sexual Assault Service Redesign Project.

The Labrys Project: Exploring the health and wellbeing of lesbian, bisexual, queer and same sex attracted women living in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions

(with Teddy Cook)

The Illawarra and Shoalhaven region of NSW is home to a vibrant and geographically diverse community of lesbian, bisexual, queer (LBQ) and same sex attracted women. This regional and rural area served as a unique setting for the Labrys Project, a research partnership initiative between ACON and Women’s Health – Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) carried out between 2014 and 2015. The Labrys Project extended objectives from the Sydney Women and Sexual Health Survey (SWASH) to generate a regional/rural perspective and data snapshot of LBQ women’s health and wellbeing across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven to inform local service delivery and future service planning. Between October 2014 and March 2015, 107 LBQ women completed the Illawarra Shoalhaven Women’s Health and Wellbeing Survey; in addition, two focus groups were held in Warilla and Nowra involving 7 LBQ women.

Survey results from this study reflect the wider body of research concerning lesbian, bisexual, queer and same sex attracted women in Australia, such as higher rates of alcohol and illicit drug use, experiences of anti-LGBTI abuse and self-reported health status in addition to a significant gap between knowledge and testing behaviours regarding Pap smears as a preventive screening measure. While some patterns mirror urban LBQ data sets, there are several points of distinction in key health indicators and risk factors between urban and regional/rural data warranting attention, namely in mental health, obesity, homelessness, community engagement, and service access and response. Results from this study also highlighted a concerning prevalence of domestic and family violence as well as low levels of reporting these incidents to police.

Delivered as a collaborative endeavour between Regional Outreach, ACON and Women’s Health ISLHD, this presentation will communicate key findings of the research whilst also ensuring regional LBQ women’s health priorities are elevated and remain on the agenda for conference participants.

Mellem Rose

Bi-Alliance Victoria, Secretary

Mx Mellem Rose is the Secretary of Bi-Alliance Victoria, new member coordinator and former Alto section leader of Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus, active member of Transgender Victoria, and an advocate and activist for the autism community. Mellem has been heavily involved in volunteer work and giving back to community since their teenage years, from disability and aged care work at Interchange Western and the Lions Club, to now sitting on the Victorian Government’s LGBTIQ Family Violence Working Group, Victoria Police LGBTI Portfolio Reference Group, and Moonee Valley Council LGBTIQ Working and Reference Group.

PRESENTATION: 

Spectrum Intersections: A personal look into Autism Spectrum Disorder in Diverse Gender and Sexuality

Autism is a subject which seems to be discussed more frequently in media, communities, and homes around the world, if not equally to stories involving LGBTIQA+. More studies show increasing numbers of people who are on the Autism Spectrum have diverse gender expressions and sexualities. The aim of this presentation is to educate and provide opportunity for insight and introspection through lived experience and community connection. My personal story as a Non-binary, Bi/Pan and Autistic person navigating a monosexual, binary, neurotypical world has been challenging and exciting, let me take you on a journey which is multifaceted yet interconnected in its themes. Discussion topics include: How gender stereotypes have and continue to hinder accurate diagnosis of ASD in female assigned at birth people; the ongoing ableism presented in the form of anti-vax culture and the direct impact on people with ASD; how Socio-economic status impacts support availability for people with disabilities and LGBTIQA+; how body image and body dysmorphia is impacted by higher sensitivities and intolerances to food;  the impact of invisibility and erasure for Bi/Pan and Non-Binary and ASD people, and how this affects sexuality & gender expression in ASD spaces and disability acceptance in LGBTIQA+ spaces; how the LGBTIQA+ community can support the ASD community & vice/versa, what supports would be helpful for individuals and communities.

Ruth Rosenhek

Psychotherapist

I am a psychotherapist working at Interrelate (Lismore, NSW) with clients who have survived institutional childhood sexual abuse. In my private practice and at Interrelate, I have many clients who are members of the LGBTQ community and I work largely with trauma, both familial, social and systemic institutional. I work in a relational manner with a preference towards somatic, here-and now approach. I personally identify as queer and I have been passionately engaged in social justice and environmental activism since the early 90’s.

WORKSHOP:

Reflections on Resonance: Power Dynamics in the Room

In this session we will reflect on the power differential that is inherent in the context of therapist-client interaction specific to work with LBQ community members. We will explore the use of collaborative language and ways to nourish the ground for resonance to thrive between therapist and client. We will reflect together on body language, acknowledgment of socio-cultural factors, privilege, personal disclosure, humor, session structure….what else?Come to this session for something a bit different, a couple of experiential exercises, a few laughs, some time for brainwaves, reflection, dialogue and who knows what else might emerge?

Respect. Meaning. Resonance. Intuition. Creativity. Collaboration. Empathy. Humor. Trust. Silence. Healing.

Grace Sharkey

University of Sydney

Grace Sharkey is a PhD candidate and casual tutor in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Her thesis is focused on alternative pornography and queer theory. Grace is especially invested in pedagogy and the role of tutors in the classroom.

Teaching Discomfort Productively

(with Kerryn Drysdale and Rachel Cole)

Perennially a concern for those of us who teach, a careful balance needs to be struck between the need to engage with confronting themes around gender and sexuality in academic debate, and remaining sensitive to the mental health needs of those individuals who may have lived experience of gendered and sexual violence in our classrooms. Early debates surrounding ‘trigger warnings’ (that is, warnings that certain material can be considered emotionally distressing) take their cue from student-centred approaches to teaching that facilitates the pursuit of emotional protection and choice. At the same time, such approaches have been subject to harsh critiques of political correctness, feminist sensitivity and harm to the mission of education. In interrogating how violence shapes our intimate, cultural and political lives, we seek to realign debates around trauma and consider the value and limitations of pedagogical spaces as ‘safe spaces’.

How do we initiate critical debate into the role of violence on lived experience without also displacing trauma and compelling self-exclusion? Using a case study of a recent unit taught at the University of Sydney, we examine how feelings of discomfort serve as vital pedagogical tools for critical discussions of homo-, trans- and queer-phobic violence, gendered and sexualised assault, and online violence towards women. In this panel, we offer three perspectives from those of us working with concepts of violence to engender a discussion on how to teach discomforting topics productively.

Carolina Simpson

Carers NSW, Policy and Development Officer

Carolina has worked at Carers NSW for the past five years, in a range of roles encompassing frontline service delivery, program co-ordination and systemic advocacy.  Carolina currently works within the Policy team, and her advocacy is focused on carer wellbeing and the health and mental health sectors.  Carolina is particularly interested in carers rights, the gendered nature of care and diverse carer groups including LGBTIQ carers. Prior to joining Carers NSW, Carolina completed her degrees in social work and arts, and undertook research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and social housing tenants.

PRESENTATION: 

The health and wellbeing outcomes of LBQ carers: a case for recognition of women who care

Many lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) women provide unpaid care and support to a partner, friend or family member who has a disability, mental illness, drug and/or alcohol dependency, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail. Despite evidence to suggest that caring may be more common within LGBTI communities, consideration of the specific needs of LBQ women who care is often absent from carer focused policies, research, and service provision. Whilst a significant body of research conclusively demonstrates the lower health and wellbeing outcomes of carers compared to the general population, few studies have specifically addressed the health outcomes of LBQ carers. However, there is a small, but growing, body of research which highlights the challenges faced by LBQ carers, and the findings of Carers NSW 2016 state-wide Carer Survey add to this growing body of evidence. This presentation will draw attention to the health and wellbeing of LBQ respondents to our survey, and consider these findings in light of existing research. Results demonstrate the challenges that LBQ carers often face, including lack of social and legal recognition of identity and relationships, experiences and fear of discrimination, and loss of traditional support networks. Raising awareness of the needs of LGBTI carers and shaping inclusive services is a task facing all policy makers and support organisations working with carers, and the research asserts that this is indeed essential to improve health outcomes for all carers.

Starlady

Zoe Belle Gender Collective (Cohealth)

Starlady was appointed as the youth project officer at Zoe Belle Gender Collective (auspiced by Cohealth) in 2016. Starlady relocated to Melbourne after seven years living in central Australia delivering youth focused hairdressing and fashion workshops in remote Indigenous communities. Whilst living in the Northern Territory she played a key role in advocating for LGBTIQ communities and the development of organisational inclusive practice.

WORKSHOP: 

Breaking the Silence: Trans Women, Feminine Non-binary People and Sexual Assault

(with Carolyn Gillespie)

Increasingly, both health professionals and the broader community are becoming aware of the extent of sexual violence that exists in our society. It is well-established that experiences of sexual assault do not discriminate, with women from all backgrounds overwhelmingly the victims. For trans women and feminine non-binary people – who are often not recognised, and their experiences often not understood as nuanced and personal – the impacts of sexual assault can be more complex. Trans women and feminine non-binary people are not immune to the pandemic of sexual assault, however, due to experiences of discrimination, or fear of discrimination, they may delay or not seek support at all after sexual assault. This workshop will examine how practitioners can address these issues, utilising both general inclusive principles and those specific to responding to sexual assault.
This workshop will demystify sexual assault, as well as equip participants to feel confident in understanding and responding to sexual assault as it is experienced by trans women and feminine non-binary people. The workshop will explore the intersection between trans women and feminine non-binary people’s day-to-day experiences and the ways in which sexual assault manifests in their lives. The workshop will also explore the cultural overlay and narratives that govern the ways in which trans women and feminine non-binary people are perceived. Feelings of shame, fear of judgment, or of not being believed, contribute to poorer physical and mental health outcomes following sexual assault. This workshop will explore how practitioners can proactively mitigate against this reality.
Discrimination and stigma can, and does, influence trans women and feminine non-binary people’s integration of their experiences of sexual violence and consequently contributes to creating additional barriers to help seeking. Taking time to understand trans women and feminine non-binary people’s relationships, dating experiences, and experiences of sexual assault, enables us to promote respectful relationships, safety and recovery from any harms experienced, and ensure best-practice service provision.

Alex Stefan

Colo High School, PDHPE Teacher / GSA Coordinator (StandOut)

Alex is an impassioned health and wellbeing professional, currently working as a PDHPE teacher and Head of Welfare at Colo High School in Sydney’s Greater West, who has spent the last 12 years working across a diverse range of industries that focus on the health and welfare of young people. Alex has played a lead role in the development of Sydney Olympic Park’s “Get Active” program for kids, and partnered with Nickelodeon in the facilitation of their “Let’s Just Play” program and the “Camp Orange” TV series. In recent years, Alex has turned her focus towards LGBTQI+ young people and their welfare, particularly in schools. Since the successful creation of LGBTQI+ diversity mentoring group “StandOut” in 2014 at her own school which she also convenes, Alex now assists other schools in the adoption and implementation of similar initiatives for students within their own schools. Alex is also working alongside the board of Wear It Purple, whose aim is to encourage schools and workplaces to create safe places for their students and employees. She continues working with local councils and policy makers in support of marriage equality. Alex will be joined by former Colo High School student leaders Prudence Cullen, Isla Sammut and Zoe-Rose Werle.

WORKSHOP: 

The Importance Of Creating Safe Spaces for Queer Students in Schools

This will be a multi-faceted presentation incorporating a direct presentation approach, video presentation, and facilitated panel discussion.

Part One: The Facts
This will look at what the current statistics of our young LGBTI+ students are experiencing in schools. These statistics will then be affirmed/debated through a video presentation pre-filmed through a discussion/group session with high school age students from a variety of schooling experiences (private and public of varying ages and identities). This will include personal stories of homophobia witnessed from a teacher perspective. This aims to give the audience an insight into what our young LGBTI+ people are currently experiencing in their daily school life.

Part Two: How can schools/community create safe spaces/and foster their young LGBTI leaders?
– Co-presenters (3 former female Colo HS student leaders have indicated they will attend and present to this topic. Each identify somewhere on the LGBTI spectrum and were paramount in the success of Colo High School’s own Gay Straight Alliance group (StandOut) Please see attached document for details of StandOut.
– As they are all now 18yrs+ there is no age restriction issue for speakers, but they are still age appropriate enough to be relevant to be speaking to this topic and the needs of this age group.
Topics covered:
– How to create safe spaces (GSA groups)
– The importance of inclusive language
– Support (teacher, welfare, student)
– Leadership opportunities

Part Three: Facilitated Panel Discussion
Guided panel discussion that asks the relevant questions on the personal experiences of young queer individuals at school and how being part of an LGBTQI+ mentoring program has helped or hindered their life after school and provided opportunities for leadership. Audience questions will be welcome.

 

Lin Surch

Relationship Manager, Pride in Diversity, ACON

Lin is an experienced consultant, facilitator and trainer, specialising in LGBTI workplace inclusion. Lin has presented at the Australian Human Resources Institute, Association of Graduate Employers & Pride in Practice Conferences, and has been engaged to inform organisations on leading practice in LGBTI inclusion across Australia, Hong Kong, Tokyo and South Asia. In her role as Relationship Manager with Pride in Diversity, Australia’s national LGBTI employer support program, Lin assists with the review and changes to policies to ensure they are LGBTI inclusive; provides ongoing strategic support in building an LGBTI inclusive culture; delivers training in LGBTI awareness ; helps to connect Australian employers and organisations to build and define best practice ; provides access to resources including Pride in Diversity’s annual publications, benchmarking data and research and has a wealth of specialised experience in gender affirmation and transition support in the workplace. Lin is also the Convenor of Sapphire, for LBTQ women at work, an initiative of Pride in Diversity that seeks to increase the number of out female role models across industries and engage more LBQ women in LGBTI employee resource groups across the country.

PANEL: 

The Great Debate: LBQ Women @ Work and Wellbeing 

Should we be asking senior women to come out in order to increase the visibility of LBQ women within executive positions for the overall health and wellbeing of our LBQ millenials in the workplace?

 

Tracy Taylor

Tracy is Managing Director, Accenture Technology, leading a team of >200 Oracle Practitioners across Australia & New Zealand. Tracy has over 20 years’ experience in managing complex transformation programs across Europe, US & APAC.

Tracy lives in Avoca on the Central Coast, and is married to Claire. Tracy and Claire have 3 children. Tracy is an Ambassador of Sapphire, Pride in Diversity’s initiative for LBTQ women in the workplace, and is the recent recipient of the Sapphire Inspire Award, a well-deserved win which reflects Tracy’s phenomenal work as an out female role model, and her ongoing commitment to the Sapphire Program and LBTQ workplace inclusion.

PANEL: 

The Great Debate: LBQ Women @ Work and Wellbeing 

Should we be asking senior women to come out in order to increase the visibility of LBQ women within executive positions for the overall health and wellbeing of our LBQ millenials in the workplace?

Joy Townsend 

UNSW, PhD Candidate

Joy is a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales and her research project, titled Her Sexual Self, looks at the work young hetero and non-hetero women do to be better versions of their sexual selves. Joy lives on the South Coast of NSW with her partner and two children. She has been researching female sexuality for a few years now and believes it to be an integral part of every woman’s life. Joy employs a narrative approach, collecting women’s stories and then retelling them in her research.

PRESENTATION: 

Her Sexual Self

Her Sexual Self is a qualitative study that utilises a post-structuralist conceptual framework to investigate young women’s sexual subjectivities. It is based on 26 life history style interviews with young heterosexual and non-heterosexual women aged between 18 and 31. The thesis explores how the young women’s sexual selves can be understood both as agentic – ‘choosing their way to be’, and as subjectified – constituted and constrained by discourses. It’s an exploration of the active and deliberate efforts the young women go to to better their sexual selves in accordance with the technologies of subjectivity by which they are constituted. Using Foucault’s work on care of the self, the thesis identifies the technologies of subjectivity by which the young women are subjectified and the technologies of the self that the young women agentically employ to transform themselves over time. What results is a nuanced portrait of the fluid, determined and agentic elements of these young women’s sexual self-formation.

 

Sam Turner

Head of Inclusion & Diversity

Sam Turner is the Head of Inclusion & Diversity for the Westpac Group. She is the previous Chair of GLOBAL, Westpac’s LGBTI Employee Action Group, during which time she led Westpac to be named Employer of the Year for LGBTI Inclusion. She is passionate about equality and believes that everyone has the right to feel comfortable and included in work-life conversations and culture, and that organisations have a responsibility to foster an inclusive environment. Sam has been with Westpac for three years, prior to her current role she was the Business Manager for NSW Regional and ACT Retail banking and has also held various senior roles at NAB, BHP, and Deloitte.

PANEL: 

The Great Debate: LBQ Women @ Work and Wellbeing 

Should we be asking senior women to come out in order to increase the visibility of LBQ women within executive positions for the overall health and wellbeing of our LBQ millenials in the workplace?


Amie Wee

ACON, Cervical Screening Project Officer

Amie Wee is the Cervical Screening Project Officer at ACON and is currently leading on the development of the company’s Australian-first cervical screening campaign for LGBTIQ people – At Your Cervix. Passionate about health promotion for LGBTIQ people, Amie also works on ACON’s sexual health resource and art project, “Claude”.

PRESENTATION: 

At Your Cervix: LGBTIQ barriers and experiences with cervical screening

Cervical Cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, yet studies show that LGBTIQ people are less likely than the general population to attend cervical screening. Data from the Sydney Women and Sexual Health Survey (SWASH) 2014 shows that 20 percent of LBQ women in Sydney have never had a Pap test and 40 percent of young LBQ women have not had the HPV vaccine or taken the full dose. US research on the health of trans and gender diverse people through the National Transgender Discrimination Survey highlights similar disparities.

Research that focuses LGBTIQ people who have or have ever had a cervix in Australia is minimal to non-existent.

In 2016 and 2017, ACON released two community consultations that focussed on Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer (LBQ) women and Trans and Gender Diverse (TGD) people’s experiences with cervical screening. These consultations identified many of the unique barriers these communities face when it comes to accessing cervical screening and STI testing.

The results from these consultations will be used to inform ACON’s Australian-first LGBTIQ-inclusive cervical screening campaign – At Your Cervix, which will educate our diverse communities about the changes coming to National Cervical Screening Program on 1 December, while addressing some of the key barriers these communities face.

This paper/presentation will discuss the results of the two community consultations, with a focus on identifying the unique barriers to cervical screening these communities face, and outline some key concepts regarding the upcoming campaign.

Lana Woolf

Sparking Change, Creative Director

Lana Woolf is a community development arts worker who has extensive experience in developing consumer participation and inclusion programs and projects within community mental health services including the Consumer Participation unit at Queensland Alliance. She is currently the Creative Director of Sparking Change that uses StoryWork methodology to support action orientated social change within marginalised and oppressed communities particularly queer communities, disability communities and communities that experience gendered discrimination and racism.

PRESENTATION: 

Project Re-Vision

Representations of queer women who experience mental-health issues / psychological disabilities are often depicted as ‘mad, bad or sad’. Project Re-Vision attempts to resist this singularity by creating and centering, without normalising, representations that have been relegated to the margins. We explore the dynamic ways that positionality illuminates LBT women with mental-health issues and open a discussion about what’s at stake when these stories are let loose into the world. Situating the project in relation to theories of representation and of bodies/embodiments. Moving away from normative ideas of what disability is, we present stories that carve out new meanings of mental illness and queerness that proliferate mad voices, that transgress disabled/non-disabled binaries, that disrupt any singular theoretical account of disability, and complicate and expand ideas of a what is a queer community and how it functions. The intention is to create space for open-ended readings without delimiting meanings, and exploring dynamic ways that positionality illuminates SSG differences in relation to how we view and experience emotional distress and the stories that are ushered in when we open up to the edges of representation.

Asha Zappa

Registered Art Therapist

Asha is a Registered Art Therapist, who has worked creatively with the Queer community for close to 20 years. She has presented on Gender and Mental Health, Body Positivity, and Fat Activism, and has published on Art Therapy and Gender, and Expressive Therapy with Children.

WORKSHOP: 

Femininity and Mental Health: Art Therapy and Creative Approaches to Working with Trauma and Patriarchy

This workshop will look at the feminine approach inherent in art therapy, and the ways art therapy challenges patriarchal approaches to trauma. Participants will take part in a number of interactive exercises which demonstrate a practical response to cultural trauma, and the empowerment of owning femininity in a society which deems femininity as deficit. The exercises will incorporate art-making, play, drama, and mindfullness, and draw on women’s long-standing traditions of community healing through creativity. The workshop will be informed by Queer theory, and will aim to be a safe place for all women, particularly Women of Colour, trans women, and feminine-identified gender non-conforming people.

The group will open with a brief introductory exercise, aiming to create safety and community.
There will then be a brief introduction to the concepts which will be explored.
The second exercise will look at grounding participant’s sense of self through art and narrative therapy techniques.

The group will then move into creative approaches to trauma, through a combination of didactic and expressive exploration.

The group will close with a grounding, closing exercise, and there will be a chance for informal Q and A after.

You can check out last year’s program here.

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