This year’s Fair Day will see a range of mainstream organisations reaching out to the GLBTI community for the first time.

Among these is The Aged-care Rights Service (TARS), which provides free information and advocacy on behalf of people in, or moving into, aged-care accommodation.

It also provides legal advice through the Older Person’s Legal Service, a partnership between TARS and Legal Aid NSW.

TARS CEO Russell Westacott told the Star Observer he was pleased TARS was reaching out to the GLBTI community.

“TARS has been around for 25 years and, while we have made some great inroads into culturally and linguistically diverse communities, this will be the first time we’ve done something as high profile as this with the GLBTI community,” Westacott said.

“In the years 2000 we’re seeing people who came out in the ’60s or ’70s who are growing older and we want to let them know that our advocacy service and legal services are open to them.”

Westacott said he understood the fears of discrimination that many GLBTIs had around aged care, and although TARS had a general issues focus, it could refer people to the appropriate authorities in such cases.

“We also support the sensitivity training and cultural awareness training in aged care that ACON is doing at the moment to ensure that people have their culture and backgrounds understood and accepted.”

New Mardi Gras co-chair Peter Urmson said one of the purposes of Fair Day was to provide a platform to organisations who wanted to reach out to the GLBTI community.

“If we’re providing that platform in a positive way, that’s a good measure of success,” Urmson said.

“Aged-care services is obviously an area which is becoming of great importance with an aging population and an aging gay and lesbian population.”

TARS legal services are available for people aged 60 and older. Anyone, including people seeking advice for an elderly friend, can access their advocacy services.

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