Where to find help as a LGBTIQA+ person with disability

Where to find help as a LGBTIQA+ person with disability

Both people with disability and people who identify as LGBTIQA+ often face discrimination in the community or when accessing support, so when a person identifies as both, they often face discrimination on two fronts.

Key points

  • For LGBTIQA+ people with disability accessing supportive services can lift wellbeing

  • Doing research on the training and policies of providers, as well as seeking support can help with finding the right one

  • There are a number of advocacy organisations which can help if you do face discrimination

Accessing supports and services which understand the different aspects of you and your needs can help to decrease the challenges you face in everyday life and improve your health and wellbeing.

If you’re feeling anxious about asking for help because of how you might be treated, there are a few ways you can decrease the risk of facing discrimination and make sure your support is right for you.

What should I look for?

According to LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, common challenges faced by LGBTIQA+ people looking for disability support services include disclosing their identity as well as their disability to other people and seeing themselves as a burden to others, causing them not to ask employers or educators for the support they need.

The organisation says LGBTIQA+ young people are more likely to have felt unsafe or uncomfortable when in educational settings if they also identify as having a disability, and feel less supported by classmates.

They also report more experiences of high psychological distress than those without disability.

If this resonates with you, it might help to search for services that offer peer support programs which will build your skills as well as giving you social support, or services which offer mental health support specifically for LGBTIQA+ people.

Social connection is another barrier faced by many LGBTIQA+ people with disability, according to LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, so don’t forget that supports which give you the opportunity to connect to your community are vital to your health and wellbeing.

When you are searching for appropriate providers, start by scanning their websites or brochures to see if they use any LGBTIQA+ related terms.

If they do, read the context in which they use them - the provider might be referring to appropriate training which all of their staff have, or a specific service, group activity or support which they provide only to people who identify as part of the LGBTIQA+ community.

Make sure the provider offers the service that you need and not just a different service for LGBTIQA+ people with disability.

You might like to see if there is any information or reviews of the provider on the internet from other people with disability who have been clients of that provider.

Don’t be afraid to call, email or contact the provider directly to ask them any questions you have about their services, training, culture and LGBTIQA+ awareness.

Ask questions which you need to know about to feel comfortable with a service, which could involve how staff build relationships with clients to understand their needs and whether they will respect your name, pronouns, gender identity and relationships.

You could also ask whether the provider has an LGBTIQA+ diversity policy.

After you have narrowed down the list of possible providers in your area to only those which meet your needs and you feel comfortable with, you can compare them to see which is going to benefit you the most

Who can help with managing my supports?

It can be difficult to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for anyone with disability, as it is a complicated system and different support is available to every individual.

You can ask for help to apply for the NDIS, find service providers and manage your NDIS plan and funds.

If your close friends and family members understand your needs and your identity they may be a good source of help to get the right services and might also be able to help you with the financial side of your plan. Managing your own plan, without or without support, or having a person who is close to you as a manager is called self-management.

A plan can also be agency managed - handled by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) - or plan managed by a provider of plan management services, or a combination of the types of management.

Some options are better for choice and control, while other options might mean less work and less stress on you.

Speak to your Local Area Coordinator about what the best option might be for you. They can also work with your local community more broadly to make it welcoming and inclusive.

Your plan can also include support coordination funding, regardless of how the plan is managed. A support coordinator will target their support to what you need and can help you to get the most out of your NDIS plan, as well as helping with advocacy, finding appropriate services and educating parents and carers on their role in your life.

Advocacy

There are some human rights which all Australians should have that you might not equally receive, because of the way that organisations, services, businesses and other individuals see your disability or identity.

When you face injustice or inequality, which many people with disability who are LGBTIQA+ will experience, you can go to a number of advocacy organisations for support.

If you need someone to call for anonymous peer support and referrals Qlife has a phone line, 1800 184 527 and a web chat option.

Community health organisation ACON has the QueerAbility toolkit of specific resources to help with accessing the NDIS.

Queerspace will be starting up an LGBTIQA+ Disability Advocacy and Connection service in early 2022 and already offers training to improve the access and inclusion of LGBTIQA+ people with disability.

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (LHA) has a number of recorded webinars on issues faced by gender and sexuality diverse people with disability, such as how the NDIS and mental health interact, and is also a partner in running the EmployableQ toolkit resource which supports employers to hire people in this community.

Black Rainbow is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific non-profit organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Sistergirl and Brotherboy (LGBTIQ+SB) people and supports members of this community with disability through fundraising, distributing micro grants and workforce training.

Pride Foundation Australia fundraises and assists projects aimed at LGBTIQA+ community issues across Australia through grant programs, including projects to change life for members of the community with disability. The Foundation also advocates for system-wide change for people who are disadvantaged.

Women with Disabilities Australia also advocates for female-identifying and non-binary people with disability. It runs a website with information and resources to support people with disability, their families, friends and support network, including easy read resources.

What other information would you like to know as a LGBTIQA+ person with disability? Tell us in the comments below.

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NDIS: The Basics
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