January 29, 2020

LGBTIQA+ Better Together Conference: A space for voices to be heard

“We don’t have all the answers but we are creating a space to ask the questions” – Better Together Conference

Electra Ulrich, Co-chair of the Northern Health LGBTIQA+ Working Group, shares key learnings from her recent attendance to the LGBTIQA+ Better Together Conference – facilitating conversations about LGBTIQA+ rights in Australia.

Better Together explores issues facing the LGBTIQA+ movement, bringing together voices from Indigenous communities, people with a disability, the deaf community and multicultural and multi-faith communities.

“We all know advocacy is important, but what does this look like for the LBGTIQA+ community? In particular for those at the intersectionality of vulnerable communities,” Electra said.

“At Better Together, there was a plenary, where those who are part of the LGBTIQA+ community and have a disability spoke about the challenges they face at this particular intersectionality. Some clear messages came through to me, such as the importance of asking before helping, involving those at the intersectionality in any planning, and respecting that the person with the disability knows what they need –’nothing about us without us’. As one speaker put it – ‘it’s important to vocalise your support because we don’t assume it’s there’,” Electra said.

A panel discussion on ‘exploring the role of allies’ covered what a LGBTIQA+ ally looks like, not only as an individual but also as an organisation. Three main areas were raised – through visibility, policy and education.

“One ally spoke of the challenges she faced, saying ‘being an ally is a process, going through the conversations, gaining more armour – it’s a journey’,” Electra said.

Acknowledgement and visibility were also discussed during the conference. In many places now, the addition of brown and black to the rainbow flag acknowledges Indigenous People & People of Colour.

“Narrun Wilip-giin (Northern Health Aboriginal Support Unit) welcomes the acknowledgement of our people to the rainbow flag. Our unit supports the advocacy for our ‘sistagirls’ and ‘brothaboys’ and encourages Indigenous people to attend the Pride March,” said Karen Bryant, Northern Health Senior Aboriginal Liaison Officer.

“As co-chair of the LGBTIQA+ working group at Northern Health, it’s been great to work with our partners in the North to be marching at Pride March for the first time,” Electra said.

“Staff members and their family and friends are all encouraged to join us to march this Sunday.”

Click here to register today and take part in Pride March 2020!

For any questions around marching as part of Pride in the North, email PrideintheNorth@nh.org.au.

Featured Image (left to right): Electra Ulrich (Co-chair of the LGBTIQA+ Working Group, Northern Health) and Eugenia Castro (Member of the LGBTIQA+ Working Group, DPV Health)