The health, wellbeing and safety of LGBTIQ women in Australia will be in sharp focus at a national virtual conference to be held in November.
Experts, researchers, advocates, health professionals, service providers, and sexuality and gender diverse community members and allies from around the country will converge online for the LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference on Thursday 4 November to address health issues such as sexual and gender identity, sexual health, mental health, violence and safety, tobacco and drug use, alcohol consumption, cancer screening behaviours and more.
The fifth LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference is presented by two of Australia’s leading sexuality and gender diverse health organisations: ACON in NSW and Thorne Harbour Health in Victoria and South Australia. The event is the only conference held in Australia dedicated to exploring the health and wellbeing of women in LGBTIQ communities.
Karen Price, Deputy CEO of ACON, said the conference offers an opportunity for those involved in improving the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ women to participate in discussions, share insights, increase knowledge and learn more about contemporary responses to addressing key issues and challenges.
“Prior to the impact of COVID-19, ACON and our partner Thorne Harbour Health had been building important momentum with a regular, focussed opportunity for people to come together and put the spotlight on significant issues that impact LGBTIQ women’s lives,” said Price.
“These conferences were rich and inspiring, covering diverse content, health issues, bodies and lived experiences. We’re excited to be back in 2021 for our first virtual LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference, once again bringing health, social and other pressing issues impacting LGBTIQ women into focus.”
The program will reflect the conference’s theme – Our Health Matters – with the keynote presentation delivered by the research team behind UnLEASH, Australia’s first longitudinal cohort study exploring lesbian, bisexual and queer women’s health and wellbeing and the relationship with smoking, drinking and using drugs. At the conference, researchers will unveil findings from the first of the cohort surveys.
The conference will be presented in an online format, allowing for greater accessibility for delegates as well as higher capacity for presenters and speakers to participate in the program. Previous face-to-face conferences have attracted around 400 diverse attendees. This year’s virtual presentation will see the conference engage an even bigger audience and further broaden its reach.
“Our LGBTIQ women’s communities are rich and diverse. This national conference provides an important place for us to celebrate our communities, showcase contemporary research and best practice, and ensure the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ women are centred in our collective health responses. The fact that the conference is going online this year makes it even easier to participate,” said Carolyn Gillespie, Thorne Harbour Health Director of Services.
The LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference celebrates meaningful inclusion, diversity and access, aiming to create a safe space to strengthen the health and wellbeing of all LGBTIQ women, including Aboriginal women, Sistergirls, women of colour, intersex women, trans and gender diverse women and women with disabilities.
“Over the course of 2021, there have been plenty of discussions of systemic failures to advance women’s safety and equity. Diversity in these stories haven’t always been prominent, so it has never been more important for us to come together,” said Price.
“We know we need focussed opportunities that elevate lived experience, expertise, research and ideas to make progress with and for our communities.”
ACON and Thorne Harbour Health aim to make the conference as accessible as possible to everyone in our communities. The 2021 LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference is supported by the NSW Ministries for Health, Mental Health and Regional Youth and Women, Multicultural NSW, and Lesbians Inc.
The 2021 LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference will be held virtually on Thursday 4 November. Registrations are now open until 3 November. For more information and to register, visit: www.lbq.org.au for details.
Image: LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference 2018 – photo by Melissa Butters Photography