Gaining a better understanding of the impact of prejudice and minority stress on the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTQ people in Western Sydney is the focus of a new study from NSW’s leading HIV and sexuality and gender diverse health organisation, ACON, and Western Sydney University.
The study aims to better understand the needs of sexuality and gender diverse communities in Western Sydney – particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds – and will inform the development of advocacy, training and other service-related initiatives.
To commence the study, a community survey was launched today by ACON who is very keen to hear the views of LGBTQ people who currently or previously lived in Western Sydney on the main issues facing people living in Western Sydney.
This community survey is part of a broader Scoping Study being overseen by an Advisory Group established by ACON’s Safety and Inclusion Project. The Scoping Study also involves an extensive review of existing health and practice related literature, and focus groups will be held with LGBTQ Leaders and Service Providers who operate in Western Sydney to gain deeper insight into key community issues and how ACON can support future efforts. More information about the Focus Groups will be available soon and widely promoted.
“Feedback from the 14 community representatives who sit on the Advisory Group identified a need for greater information because there was a real gap in data looking at the experiences of LGBTQ people outside of Sydney’s inner-city suburbs,” ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said.
“Even with the progress made in broader social acceptance of LGBTQ people, such as the recent gains in equal marriage rights, we know that this progress can come at a cost for some in our communities. Backlash is a risk that can come with greater LGBTQ visibility, and sadly instances of abuse and harassment still occur.
“Protecting LGBTQ people and providing inclusive and safe areas wherever they are is a critical determinant of the health of our communities.”
Key objectives established by the project Advisory Group include building the capacity of key mainstream services to be inclusive and provide appropriate services for LGBTQ communities in Western Sydney, and improving the capacity of LGBTQ leaders to engage and support communities in Western Sydney to provide relevant information and break down social isolation.
Mr Parkhill said that the study was a key step in the project’s overall objective in establishing an evidence base to support the development of a plan to address issues impacting on Western Sydney communities.
“Research shows us that experiences of prejudice and exclusion affect health outcomes in LGBTQ communities, including their mental health and wellbeing. The findings from this survey will help us gain a better understanding of the issues facing LGBTQ people in Western Sydney, and help inform the development of programs and services.
“I encourage LGBTQ residents from Western Sydney to take part in this study. Your input will be critical to how we shape responses that help strengthen our communities’ wellbeing and resilience,” Mr Parkhill said.
This has been made possible by funding from the NSW Government funding via the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District.
For more information please contact: David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications
E: [email protected] T: (02) 9206 2044 M: 0428 477 042