Empowering LGBTI people to lead health lives

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“Getting a breast screen is still the best technology we have for early detection of breast cancer. Whether or not you have a family history, if you are over 40, you need a breast screen. You are in our queer family and we love you – you matter to us – please put your health first.”

So says Kel Watson, ACON’s Coordinator of Lesbian and Same-Sex Attracted Women’s Health. Part of Kel’s work is overseeing ACON’s efforts to promote breast/chest health through #TalkTouchTest.

“Launched in 2016, #TalkTouchTest is an ongoing campaign about chest/breast cancer and LGBTIQ communities,” Kel says. 

“LGBTIQ communities are an under-screened population for breast/chest cancer and can present at later stages of disease progression. This may be because people delay or choose not to undertake mammograms for fear of unsatisfactory care, because of barriers to accessing services, because there are no large scale targeted health promotion campaigns that speak to them - or any number of other reasons.

#TalkTouchTest works to improve breast/chest health in LGBTIQ communities,” Kel says.

Since its launch, the initiative has delivered several awareness-raising events including Welcome To Breastville at Marrickville Town Hall in 2017 and Lazy Sunday Picnic in 2018. At those events, LGBTIQ people who would not normally get screened underwent mammograms. In one case, early stage cancer was identified; had it not been for #TalkTouchTest, that person’s cancerous cells would have gone undetected and untreated.

Moving forward, Kel is looking to the future with upcoming events in Lismore, Newcastle, Blue Mountains and Sydney.

“In my big queer family, there are trans people, lesbian women, bisexual women, women who live with a disability, Aboriginal women – basically all kinds of people. When I run these campaigns, I think about my queer family, I think about myself, and I keep thinking about the intersections of all of these communities. This campaign aims for true representation of all of our people,” Kel says.

“We are working in close partnership with Cancer Institute NSW, our key funder, to deliver an inclusive and empowering campaign. We are funded through a short term grant for this work but continued funding is not guaranteed. 

“That's why we are asking for your help. Breast cancer affects too many in our communities and we want your help to tackle this together.”

ACON’s work in improving the health and wellbeing of LGBTI people in NSW would not be possible without financial support from our communities. Many of our programs, including our work in LGBTI health, rely on generous donations from people like you. Any support you can provide will be gratefully accepted, and all donations over $2 are tax deductible. We’re here for the health of our community – you can be too.


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