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Report identifies way forward for LGBTI health

THE health of sex- and gender-diverse Australians came under the spotlight last night when a ground-breaking report was launched at Parliament House.

Titled Diversity in Health: Improving the health and well-being of transgender, intersex and other sex and gender diverse Australians, the report is a blueprint for law reforms that are seen as a critical move towards creating a “modern and inclusive” Australia.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gender and intersex (LGBTI) advocacy groups from across the country came together in June to create the ‘wish list’ of legislative changes. 

Organised by the National LGBTI Health Alliance, the round-table focused on identifying ways to make it easier for people to access the health and mainstream services they need.

Guest speakers at the event were Paige Phoenix, the 2011 X-Factor contestant and transgender activist, and Peter Hyndal, the Convenor of the DSG (Diverse Sex and Gender) Working Group within the National LGBTI Health Alliance.

The move has been welcomed by the Parliamentary Friendship Group for LGBTI Australians, which was formed last year to give Members and Senators the chance to hear first-hand about social, legal and health issues in the LGBTI community.

The group is chaired by Warren Entsch, Federal Member for Leichhardt and Chief Opposition Whip, teamed with the Federal Member for Moreton, Graham Perrett and Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Senator for South Australia.

“Coverage of LGBTI issues in the media is often sidelined by the ‘gay marriage’ debate, but this community faces a whole raft of discrimination every day because of laws that were never designed to take their needs into account,” Mr Entsch explained.

L-R Graham Perrett MP, Sen Sarah Hanson-Young, Warren Talbot (A Gender Agenda), Warren Entsch MP, Peter Hyndal (National LGBTI Health Alliance) and guest speaker Paige Phoenix.

“This report gives us a real opportunity to prioritise and address a number of serious issues that have impacted on this sector of Australian society.”

Mr Perrett said it was well-recognised that those in the LGBTI community often face high levels of stigma, violence and discrimination, leading to feelings of social isolation and depression and suicidal tendencies.

“I have met with numerous advocacy groups, organisations and individuals that support reform in this area and recognise the need for change,” Mr Perrett said.

“Australian people in the LGBTI community face discrimination on a daily basis and we here in Federal Parliament must do everything we can to stop that,” added Sen. Hanson-Young.

“Some of the things that many people take for granted, such as access to appropriate healthcare information and discrimination protections, are not available to everyone in the LGBTI community and the report being launched today is a step in the right direction to securing that.”

The report outlines five key areas where changes need to take place to ensure that transgender, intersex and SGD people have the same personal responsibilities and rights as all Australians in regards to the delivery of health and social services.

The Friendship Group acknowledged the sponsorship of Telstra and support of Paul Geason, Telstra’s Group Managing Director and Executive Sponsor of LGBTI Inclusion on Telstra’s Diversity Council. 

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