On 5 May the National LGBTIQ+ Election Forum was held at the Melbourne Pride Centre and online. The Forum was co-hosted by LHA, Equality Australia, the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) and Intersex Human Rights Australia, and brought together Greens Senator Janet Rice, Labor Senator Penny Wong and Senator Andrew Bragg of the Liberal Party to answer questions from LGBTIQ+ people and community organisations. They were given an opportunity to pitch what their parties would do for LGBTIQ+ people should they win government.
The Forum showed how measured, responsible discussion can highlight what LGBTIQ+ communities are concerned about and create solutions to the serious health disparities that impact LGBTIQ+ people. Nicky Bath, CEO, (she/her) said, “There are no winners in the unrelenting and misinformed scare mongering that is continuing about trans and gender diverse people during this election. Rather than focus on what is important for trans and gender diverse people to address needs such as gender affirming care, as was the case at the Forum, the dominating messages are damaging and causing great harm.”
At the forum, Senator Bragg announced $4.2 million to be invested over three years for national services to support the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ Australians from the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Support Program grant round.
Senator Penny Wong committed Labor to spending $250,000 for LHA to undertake a national consultation with LGBTIQ+ communities and the Department of Health to feed into the development of a National LGBTIQ+ Health Action Plan, as well as a one-off investment of $400,000 funding for Qlife to enhance recruitment and training. QLife provides online chat and phone peer support to anyone who may have questions about their gender or sexuality. Labor also promised to reinstate funding to AFAO and the National Association of People with HIV Australia.
The Greens last week released fully costed policies to improve LGBTIQ+ health and wellbeing outcomes they would be taking into the next parliament.
Ms Bath said, “The announcements and commitments made at the forum are welcomed and a good step forward. It was clear from the Forum that there is a great lack of understanding of the needs of intersex people, and it is vital that we achieve a fundamental change in the way health and wellbeing investments are made so that all LGBTIQ+ communities can thrive.”
LHA has called for this change in its 2022 Federal Election Priorities, underpinned by a 10-year National LGBTIQ+ Health Action Plan and a specific office in the Department of Health to manage the implementation. LHA has highlighted nine key priority action areas parties and candidates need to commit to this election. Cooperation in parliament and investment from the government will help narrow the disparities in health and wellbeing.
LHA is again calling for an end to the harmful debates about trans and gender diverse people and for attention to be focused on what is urgently needed to end the significant health and wellbeing disparities for the remainder of the election campaign and beyond.
The Forum is now available as an episode of LGBTIQ+ Health Australia’s podcast, The Latest in LGBTIQ+ Health and Wellbeing, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and via the LHA website.
Please promote QLife in any coverage on LGBTIQ+ people, so that those who may be distressed by what is happening in the news know that support is available and how to access it.
QLife provides free peer support and referrals for issues around sexuality, gender, bodies and relationships.
QLife: 3pm to midnight, everyday | 1800 184 527 | qlife.org.au
Media Contact: Nicky Bath, CEO | Mobile: 0432 328 706 | Email: [email protected]