LGBTQIA+ at Life Without Barriers.
Image: Life Without Barriers staff at the Newcastle office with rainbow flags.
The 2023 theme, Write Your Story, emphasises the importance of self-expression and individuality. For young people who identify as LGBTQIA+, the theme represents the importance of taking ownership of their narratives and sharing their experiences in their own voices.
Creating a safe place for visibility
Being visible requires vulnerability. Allies are instrumental in creating environments that support visibility and provide the foundation for the LGBTQIA+ community to be seen, heard and, ultimately, included. The visibility of the LGBTQIA+ community is vital to creating spaces where everyone can thrive.
Here are some ways you can create a safe place for visibility:
Be consciously curious. Learn more about the LGBTQIA+ community by attending a virtual event!
Include your pronouns in your email signature.
Image: Staff dressed in rainbow at a Melbourne office.
Here are some downloadable resources for you can use and share in the lead-up to Wear it Purple Day.
Language Matters, year-round
When referring collectively to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual communities, you can use the acronym “LGBTQIA+”. The '+' symbol has been added to the end of the acronym to represent all other identities within the community.
It is only recently that LGBTQIA+ communities and individuals have been able to develop their own positive definitions of who they are and how they live.
We recommend using LGBTQIA+ to be inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community in the broadest possible way, with the intention of supporting all people of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics. We acknowledge the limitations of LGBTQIA+ when speaking about the full breadth of people’s bodies, genders, relationships, sexualities, and lived experiences.
In some spaces, you may have seen the term “queer” when discussing the LGBTQIA+ community. The meaning of queer has changed a lot over the past few decades. From being used as a slur to being reclaimed by some LGBTQIA+ people and rejected by others, queer means different things to different people. Whether or not someone identifies with and uses the word queer is a personal decision, and it is best to ask their preferences before using this term.
Inclusive language conveys gender equality and is gender-neutral.
Replacing gendered language with something gender-neutral increases the number of people who can 'read themselves in' to your message. LGBTQIA+ people often 'read themselves out' if language is not explicit.
You can use “they” or “them” when you would have used a singular personal pronoun such as “he”, “she”, “him”, or “her”. You can use “partner” or “parent” when you would have used “husband”, “wife”, “mother”, or “father”.
Nouns that once ended in “-man” now have neutral equivalents that include both genders, such as “police officer” for “policeman” or “policewoman”.
When discussing a specific person, using their preferred name and pronouns is a simple yet crucial way to demonstrate respect and courtesy.
To demonstrate and promote pronoun inclusivity, you can:
include pronouns in email signatures and social media profiles.
proactively share your pronouns.
ask the person about their personal pronouns or use gender-neutral terms like they/them/their.
use the person's name and pronouns that match how the person identifies now when discussing a person's past unless they request otherwise.
Access further information and resources on personal pronouns by visiting pronouns.org.
Queer stories from Pride Without Barriers
Phi: Still me, still human.
"For me, I believe events, like Wear it Purple Day, are essential for us to show up and support our LGBTQIA+ Youth." Said Phi Theodoros, Resident Artist - Living Arts, Child, Youth & Families.
"Visibility is important because you cannot be what you cannot see, I encourage everyone who is safe to do so to express themselves loudly and proudly.
"I know I’ll be wearing rainbows, purple, pride pins and more every day because if we can authentically show up as our whole selves as workers who knows what conversations we may open for the young people we support to be able to write and share their story."
Image: Queen Estelle (R) and Phi (L) at Walyu Tutu, Life Without Barriers office in Unley.
Collin and George for Wear It Purple Day
Collin is a Disability Support Worker, George has an intellectual disability and identifies as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Collin recognised that George might need to be supported to stay safe in some environments.
"George can be the exact person he is because he is supported in a way that allows him to do that – it is so gratifying to see."
Image: Three men pose for a photo together. One wears a blue t-shirt and a glittery wig. The other two men are wearing black t-shirts with glittery accessories and eye make up.
Queer Conversations: Hear from Greg and Phi for Wear It Purple Day
To celebrate Wear It Purple Day, Greg Radford, Probity Officer, and Phi Theodoros, Resident Artist - Living Arts, Child, Youth & Families, sat down to talk about their experiences growing up queer, why sharing our stories is essential, and how to show up for those around us with kindness, care and love.
Life Without Barriers celebrates World Pride at Mardi Gras 2023
We are committed to our role in influencing the community to break down barriers. We know that people feel included if they are valued and respected for being themselves. Sharing this commitment, Deputy Chair of the Board, Gillian Calvert AO, attended the parade.
“I’m so proud of Life Without Barrier’s commitment to inclusion and diversity for all."
"It was a great night, spending time chatting with the people we support, their carers and staff, waving our rainbow and trans ribbons and seeing the crowd's support for the important work we do. Happy Mardi Gras and World Pride everyone,” said Gillian.
Image: Gillian Calvert AO and Leanne Johnson wearing black t-shirts and red accessories, smiling at the camera.
Support gender identity with Elliot
Elliot channels the support they wished they had into how they mentor young people.
“I allow them space to explore their gender diversity and what that means for them. All young people are developing their sense of identity, including their gender and sexuality. Children whose genders lie outside of the cisgender experience are likely to experience considerably less representation of people like them," said Elliot.
"I show them what that life will look like and how to cope with a world where they might face discrimination."
Image: A crowd at a trans rights march holding pride trans flags. SOPA Images/Getty Images
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