THE Victorian Government has released a new support guide for sex and gender diverse people across the state to help them access the services they need and to ensure health and community services are more inclusive.

The Rainbow eQuality: a guide to LGBTI inclusive practice for health and human services was launched today in Parliament House.

It aims to highlight the standards that should be met when caring for LGBTI clients, understanding LGBTI health issues, and examples of inclusive services in Victoria.

The easily accessible resource for the LGBTI community will also provide an important basis for future program design and development for the state government.

Minister for Equality Martin Foley believes this guide will be important in addressing a number of different minority groups that fall under the LGBTI umbrella, along with their unique health issues.

“We can point to the obvious regional and rural isolated communities, but as our work found, it’s not just those people,” he told the Star Observer.

“There’s such a lack of appreciation for the particularities that LGBTI health and human services bring.

“There’s an appalling lack of appreciation for simple understandings of identity and support, let alone the potential complications that particular health or human service issues might bring – whether it be alcohol and drugs or HIV.

“We hope that this resource can start to break down some of that ignorance.”

Foley added that while the launch of the resource is important, the next step will be to ensure all health providers in Victoria are armed with it.

“What we need to make sure is that we arm advocacy groups and individual health and human service consumers with this tool, so they can encourage their providers to use, understand, and have access to this tool,” he said.

“I think it’ll be a combination of making sure we share the information as widely as possible and arming LGBTI health consumers with the resource.”

Earlier this year when the state government released its 2016-17 budget, it announced that it would put $6.4 million in funding towards Monash Health’s Gender Dysphoria Clinic, a service providing critical support to trans and gender diverse Victorians.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said the guide will help to address the unique health needs of LGBTI people in Victoria.

“No-one should experience discrimination because of their sexuality or gender identity, especially when they are seeking care for their health and wellbeing needs,” she said.

“Rainbow eQuality is a practical resource to help health and community services better understand, tailor their care, and meet the specific health needs of the LGBTI community.”

Access the Rainbow eQuality guide here.

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