May 20, 2019

IDAHOBIT: Celebrating diversity in our community

On Friday, Northern Health celebrated IDAHOBIT – International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia – a day where we stand with the LGBTIQ community.

Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, and Transphobia can occur online, face to face and affect everyone by creating spaces where people feel unsafe and like they can’t be themselves. Sexuality and gender identity or intersex status aren’t always visible, so creating a culture where everyone feels safe is so important.

At Northern Health, we encourage our staff to celebrate diversity and are committed to creating a safe space for staff, patients and members of the community.

As part of the IDAHOBIT celebrations this year, we hosted the Inaugural Genderbread Bake-Off. The joint winners were Karen Overall, Primary Care Liaison, and Sophie Rodier, Patient Experience & Consumer Participation Manager. Karen participated in this event as she feels, “it is important to support our diverse community to ensure equality for all regardless of gender, religious and cultural differences”.

Some of our ‘Gender Bake-Off’ entries

We also held two information sessions, delivered by a prominent GP/LGBTI Health Expert, Dr Ruth McNair.

Dr McNair specialises in lesbian and bisexual women’s health, transgender health, mental health and wellbeing, and is an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne, teaching LGBTI community research. Dr McNair talked to staff about being inclusive and strategies for improved health care in this space. She said, overall, creating a safe space for the LGBTIQ community will improve patient experience and help to further support staff. 

Anne Hastie, Project Officer People and Culture, said the lecture gave us practical hints to make people feel safe and included, and encouraged us to ask patients how best to engage with them around issues of gender, identity and sexuality:

“LGBTIQ is such a complicated acronym! The diversity of people, life situations and health impacts associated with it are complicated too. It can all feel a bit overwhelming. Dr Ruth McNair’s presentation at Northern Hospital helped us understand the terminology and engage more sensitively with LGBTIQ patients and their families.  Her reassuring approach gave us greater confidence for working with the LGBTIQ community,” she said.

On this day, 29 years ago, the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization approved the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD 10), which no longer listed homosexuality as a diagnosis.

IDAHOBIT launched in 2004 to celebrate LGBTIQ people globally, and have continued to use the day ever since to champion inclusion and build a better world for the LGBTIQ community.