New LGBTQIA+ People With Disability Project Provides Support From ACON

Written by Staff Writers
Category: Agenda Published: Thursday, 31 December 2020 14:01

The focus of a new project from AIDS Council Of NSW (ACON) will be improving the health and wellbeing of Australian LGBTQIA+ people with disability.

The project is a dedicated unit tasked with providing support, advocacy, skill-building and visibility to sexuality and gender diverse people with disabilities across the country.

The launch comes with the unveiling of ACON's QueerAbility Toolkit, aimed at empowering and providing information for people wanting to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

ACON was funded to be able to develop the toolkit in order to enable queer people with disability to understand the NDIS and have the information necessary to make decisions and choices.

"We’re very excited to be launching this important work in supporting the members of sexuality and gender diverse communities who live with disabilities," ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill says. "We know there is a lack of research and information regarding LGBTQIA+ people with disability in Australia, as well as tailored, community-led support."

"I’m proud to have been part of the co-design process that created this important resource for LGBTQIA+ people with disability accessing the NDIS," project Co-Design Advisory Group Member Finn O'Keefe says.

"Starting your NDIS journey can be daunting at first, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. We wanted this toolkit to feel like a queer companion – a friend to help guide other LGBTQIA+ people like us through the process. With access to information, tips and success stories, I hope that ACON’s QueerAbility toolkit will help people stay resilient, fabulous and strong as they navigate the system and launch their own NDIS journey."

A study done by La Trobe University in 2018 revealed that LGBTQIA+ people with disability experience higher rates of discrimination, greater restrictions on freedom of sexual expression, reduced social support and connection, and reduced service access (particularly for transgender people), when compared with the broader disability community.

"When engaging with disability support services, we know that due to previous negative experiences and perceptions of lack of compassion, apathy, and prejudice, this can lead to distrust of service providers and expectations of poor quality care," Nicolas Parkhill adds.

"It can also result in an unwillingness to disclose sexuality and/or gender identity to care workers due to a fear of being rejected, stereotyped, stigmatised or being treated with a heteronormative bias."

The project is now live. Learn more here.

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