VALID has undertaken an exciting new project focusing on LGBTIQA+ disability, working alongside disability organisations and LGBTIQA+ community healthcare services. As part of this project, a survey was developed and distributed in partnership with Pride Foundation Australia, Inclusion Melbourne, Thorne Harbour Health, Switchboard and Carers Australia and self-advocates. The purpose of the survey was to understand individuals lived experiences and to find out how we can best promote self-advocacy within this intersection of our community.
Some emerging results from the survey point to a need for improved access to LGBTI services for people with a disability and support dealing with discrimination, abuse and violence. The majority of respondents reported a need for improved awareness of the issues that LGBTIQ people with a disability face and more advocacy for disability inclusion within LGBTIQ events, organisations and spaces.
People living in regional areas can face increased isolation, with one respondent reporting that “rural LGBTIQ is totally forgotten. No support around let alone meetings or socials for country folks.” Another echoed this feeling reporting that, “due to distance, I feel isolated.” More than 80% reported it was important to be able to freely express their sexual orientation and also gender identity. Most respondents feel comfortable sharing their sexual orientation with disability service providers.
As part of the project, VALID has set up a facebook group which is open to all LGBTIQA+ people with a disability in Victoria called LGBTIQA+ Disability Collective. VALID will soon be launching a self advocacy group which will promote mutually supportive relationships and build pride and resilience.