Uniting the LGBTIQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer) community around the globe every June is Pride Month, which marks New York’s historic Stonewall Riots and the start of the Gay Liberation Movement over 50 years ago. Pride elevates the voices of LGBTIQ+ people and is a celebration of LGBTIQ+ culture and rights.

Almost 50 staff from The Benevolent Society’s Support Centre attended LGBTQ Awareness Training this month, totalling almost 100 attending over the past two years. The course is developed and facilitated by community health organisation ACON, which has had a profound impact on those who’ve attended. 

Joe Lonn, ACON’s Manager of Training Services Development says, “LGBTQ Awareness training helps build a service worker’s confidence, ability and increases their capability in working with LGBTQ+ people, understanding their issues and how they work in the broader community.”

A photo of out support centre staff at the ACON training
The Disability Gateway team attending ACON's LGBT Awareness training during Pride Month in June 2021

“During training, we build a greater understanding of LGBTQ+ history, current legislation, key terminology and language around the LGBTQ+ community, greater understanding of pronouns and pronoun usage and how to be better allies around LGBTQ+ people.”

Helping LGBTIQ+ clients live their best lives

The Support Centre are our team of friendly faces who answer phone calls from new and existing clients. They support all Australians - younger and older - people with a disability and carers at the beginning and throughout their journey, by connecting them to the appropriate service or program within our organisation.

The Support Centre’s Catherine David, Community Services Consultant answers calls that come through to Disability Gateway which is a service for all people with disability, their families and carers. We had a soft launch in late January this year, with a formal ministerial launch of the program coming soon.

Catherine says, “The training created a safe space for discussion on LGBTQ issues and exploration of our internalised beliefs, where we could reassess the truth of those beliefs and delve deeper to understand our conscious and unconscious biases.”

“It’s important to create a safe place for all of our clients to express their identity, being aware people may have a history of diverse traumas and life experiences, triggers and needs; and to make room for them with love and compassion.”

“Having that awareness enables me to reflect back to each person I connect with, that they are seen, heard, and witnessed, and totally accepted for themselves. It reminds me that life has infinite variability, and that I can never know the mystery within myself, let alone the infinite variation of humanity.”

Watch ACON’s QueerAbility video

Watch ACON’s QueerAbility short video and hear from people with a disability from the LGBTIQ+ community, who share their personal stories and what it’s like to live with a disability.