Australian experts, researchers, advocates, health professionals and members of the community will converge online on November 4 as the 5th annual LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference kicks off. The conference is the only one of its kind dedicated to exploring and addressing issues of health and wellbeing of queer women in Australia.

Led by ACON and Thorne Harbour Health, this year’s event features a key note presentation of survey findings by UnLEASH – a research team focusing on queer women’s health in regards to smoking, drinking and drugs. 

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“We’re excited to be back in 2021 for our first virtual LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference, once again bringing health, social and other pressing issues impacting LGBTIQ women into focus,” Karen Price, Deputy CEO of ACON, said in a press release.

This year’s theme is ‘Our Health Matters’, which the organizers reveal includes addressing and sharing insights on health issues such as sexual and gender identity, sexual health, mental health, violence and safety, tobacco and drug use, alcohol consumption and cancer screening behaviour.

An Increased Focus on Diversity 

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Although COVID-19 restrictions this year have forced the conference to take place online for the first time, organisers plan to focus on the benefits and accessibility that comes with the digital format. Previous conferences have attracted roughly 400 attendees and it is estimated that the virtual presentation will increase the number of participants.

“Our LGBTIQ women’s communities are rich and diverse. This national conference provides an important place for us to celebrate our communities, showcase contemporary research and best practice, and ensure the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ women are centred in our collective health responses. The fact that the conference is going online this year makes it even easier to participate,” Carolyn Gillespie, Thorne Harbour Health Director of Services, said in the press release.

It is not only the conference’s accessibility that organisers want to draw attention to, but inclusion, diversity and access will also be on the agenda for discussions on November 4, alongside celebrating all members of Australia’s female LGBTQI community, such as Aboriginal women, Sistergirls, women of color, intersex women, trans and gender diverse women and women with disabilities.

“Over the course of 2021, there have been plenty of discussions of systemic failures to advance women’s safety and equity. Diversity in these stories haven’t always been prominent, so it has never been more important for us to come together. We know we need focussed opportunities that elevate lived experience, expertise, research and ideas to make progress with and for our communities,” Price added in the press release.

 

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