A safe and inclusive conference

Safety and inclusion are central to the work of the National LGBTI Health Alliance, its Members, and the Health in Difference Conferences. Together we can aspire to create spaces where every person can feel supported, respected, and safe to participate.

While recognising the often personal challenges involved, the practices of inclusion are an opportunity for ongoing mutual learning for everyone involved. We invite you to approach each other, and the topics of this conference, with friendly curiosity and informed by the wisdom of your personal lived experiences.

The Support Team

We recognise the themes and conversations of this conference have a strong personal dimension. The Support Team are available in case you feel distressed or wish to discuss/debrief about any that has been raised during the conference. The Support Team can be identified in person by the green coloured stickers on their name badges. You can also contact the Support Team by telephone on 0429 175 045.

Anonymous support is also available via QLife each evening from 5:30pm-10:30pm on 1800 184 527 / qlife.org.au.

Telling our stories

We affirm that each person has the right to define and describe their own experiences, bodies and concerns in their own words and terms. We regard these qualitative descriptions provided by people about their own lived experience as a form of essential evidence equal to that which can be provided by medical research, academic models, or formal committees. These stories need not take the form of words – they may include images, artworks, cultural practices or traditions.

When telling our stories please be mindful of the ways in which you might also be characterising other people and communities in ways that they themselves do not prefer.

Re-telling our stories – Permission and Privacy

Sharing and re-telling the stories we have heard can be a powerful way to show our support for each other and to develop new conversations. We ask that before re-telling the stories of others that you obtain their permission. When re-telling the stories of others, please be mindful of any requests that the original teller has made particularly regarding their personal descriptions of their bodies, genders, relationships, sexualities, experiences, and identities.

We invite you to support each other by obtaining prior written consent from any people who appear in your photographs, videos or audio recordings. Please do not share any names, contact information, or other personal or identifiable information of persons at this conference without their prior written consent. Personal stories and information disclosed during workshops and informal gatherings are considered confidential.

‘LGBTI’ and inclusion

Language and ideas are constantly changing. We aspire to engage in a process of ongoing change and learning – always seeking to find innovative ways in which to better include and support those in our communities.

When we use the initialism ‘LGBTI’, we have found the following aspects to be important:

  • History: How has the language we are using developed and changed over time? What influences does it have? Are these influences helpful or problematic?
  • Diversity within diversity: To which population within ‘LGBTI’ does a particular topic apply? What are the different community wisdoms, challenges, and insights that each population with ‘LGBTI’ has to share on a particular topic?
  • Deliberateness: How can we make sure that we move from habitually using all five letters to earning each of them? Is it appropriate to use all five letters or does the topic we are discussing apply more specifically only to some of these populations and need rethinking for some populations?
  • Community character: What does each community share in common? What makes them distinct from each other? Where can we go to find out about the multiple views and perspectives within each group? Are we speaking about ‘communities’ or ‘populations’?
  • Limitations: How might the use of ‘LGBTI’ limit our ability to address an issue that is particularly important for a particular population but not necessarily a major concern for the other four letters? Whose voices are missing from the ‘LGBTI’ lens? How can we broaden our view to make sure we know what is missing and how to expand the frame? Which additional aspects of ‘LGBTI’ people’s lives can get lost in the talk of broad categories? What can we do to address this concern?
  • Efficiency: ‘LGBTI’ is currently in popular use amongst the general population and government. When used in a nuanced and careful way, it can be very effective at helping people to better understand and meet our needs. How can we be brief and clear while making sure that key details are conveyed?
  • Identity vs. Experience vs. Characteristics: There are important differences between a person’s identity (that is, how they describe themselves), the experiences that they have, and the characteristics they might have (like brown hair, green eyes, or a soft voice). The ‘LGBTI’ acronym brings together a combination of these aspects. How can we work with, across, and beyond identity labels in ways that make people and communities feel heard and understood? How can we make sure that information we collect distinguishes between these dimensions? How can we respond effectively to the challenge of meeting people’s needs, when these dimensions are often treated as identical in legislation and policy?
  • Intersections: Communities can overlap and do not exist in isolation. Which overlaps do we need to consider when addressing a particular issue? Which communities do we need to put in contact with each other for a meaningful purpose?
  • Context: To whom are we speaking? What is their understanding of ‘LGBTI’? How can we communicate the richness of the full diversity of bodies, genders, relationships, and identities in such a way that many different audiences can hear it? What is the medium through which the message is being communicated (i.e. print, web, speech)? Are we speaking to a group of which we are a part?

Gender & Misgendering

Recognising the ways in which assumptions about gender can impact on a person’s health and wellbeing, we invite conference delegates to reflect on this important concept and to practice celebrating people’s own understandings of their gender. All delegates can benefit from knowing that their personal descriptions and expressions of themselves will be supported and respected.

Misgendering is a term for describing or addressing someone using language that does not match how that person identifies their own gender or body. We ask conference delegates to use language that reflects how people describe their own genders and bodies. Please see the Inclusive Practice Guide (July 2015 Edition) which will be included in your conference satchel for more information.

Tips to avoid misgendering

  • Remember to check before using words that assume people’s genders, such as describing someone as a mother or father, as a girlfriend or boyfriend, or a same-gender couple.
  • Be careful describing or assuming people’s physical characteristics or activities. For example, some men who were assigned ‘female’ may identify as biologically male.
  • Recognise that some people have shifting or fluid genders, more than one fixed gender or identify as not having any gender.
  • Remember that intersex characteristics are congenital, physical and separate to a person’s gender identity. This means that people with intersex characteristics have the same diversity of gender identities as any other people.
  • People born with intersex characteristics/traits face a particular form of misgendering based on assumptions that bodily features dictate gender. Most intersex people in Australia identity as either women or men, not as a third gender. Intersex people, like anyone else, can have any gender or none.
  • We invite you to reflect on the distinct experiences of intersex people, and how they often can differ from those of people of trans experience.

Pronoun Cueing

Pronoun cueing is the use of words and actions to send a ‘cue’ about someone’s gender. When pronoun cueing is informed by a person’s own understanding of their bodies and genders, it can help to establish safe, inclusive, and welcoming environments for people who might otherwise be misgendered.

Four tips for accurate pronoun cueing:

  1. Confirm a person’s preferred pronoun directly with that person rather than assuming.
  2. This means not assuming the genders of people who appear to present unambiguously as women or men, as they may not actually identify in the way they appear to you.
  3. Please try to use a person’s preferred pronoun and language about their gender and body, as your language will cue other people regarding how to describe that person.
  4. Check privately whenever possible to reduce embarrassment or discomfort.