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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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 The Darlington 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.


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.


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.


Dr Julie Mooney-Somers

Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney

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.


Same-Sex Attracted Women in Sydney: the SWASH Study


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.


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?


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.


Putting SWASH Data into Action


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