Delivering a Rapid Community Response to LGBTI Victorians Affected by the Marriage Equality Postal Survey and Debate


This presentation will explore the emergency response by VAC and partner community health organisations to support Victorian LGBTI communities affected by the marriage equality postal vote and associated debate. The process stimulated significant trans, bi and homophobia; the aim of this multi-organisational response was to ensure an affirmative, timely response which met the mental and emotional health needs of LGBTI Victorians who felt impacted. Funds were provided by the Victorian Government and utilised to deliver a multi-tiered approach which included: ‰

  • Additional counselling services at VAC and Drummond Street services; ‰
  • Debriefing for community leaders
  • Funding and capacity building for community health providers across Victoria to ensure a seamless state-wide response.

This presentation will touch upon all aspects of the approach, with a primary focus on capacity building. Capacity building with community health providers was central to the project in order to develop sustainability whilst ensuring a broad reach of support to LGBTI communities. VAC sought to provide LGBTI affirmative practice training, secondary consultation and supervision to further enhance the ability of mainstream community health organisations to effectively respond to and support people in LGBTI communities who access their services. The approach aimed to build insight into the possible effects of the debate and to provide a unique catalyst to contribute to the development of LGBTI inclusive practice across LGBTI and mainstream services. This presentation aims to examine this innovative community response, including the approach taken, emerging outcomes, challenges and learning.


Ren Grayson |

Ren holds a Bachelor Degree in Youth Work as well as Graduate Diploma‰’s in both Alcohol and Other Drugs and Mental Health. They are currently the Marriage Equality Project Lead at VAC. Ren has a strong background in working with Transgender and gender diverse young people and is passionate about LGBTIQ rights.

Jackson Fairchild

Jackson Fairchild is currently the Manager of the Counselling, Alcohol and Other Drug and Family Violence Services at the Victorian AIDS Council (VAC). These programs provide individual, couples and group counselling as well as case management support to the LGBTI and HIV positive communities, as well as providing training and capacity building to the wider sector.