Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices on topics from domestic violence to aged care were centred as Sydney hosted the National LGBTI Health Alliance’s 2018 Health in Difference conference last week.

Indigenous presenters and groups from all over Australia addressed the conference.

Uncle Ray Davison welcomed conference participants to country, and Wilo Muwadda from Yuruwala Kuruwai Solidarity Mob gave a moving speech in the opening ceremony.

Among the presenters were Tekwabi Gizz, Sister Girls and Brother Boys Australia, Gar’ban’djee’lum Network, Moolagoo Mob, and IndigiLez Women’s Leadership and Support Group.

Yuruwala Kuruwai Solidarity Mob launched an art installation that connected the voices and experiences of sistergirls and brotherboys from across Australian communities.

“It was a huge success, a total inclusion of our mob presenting on issues that are important to us and our wellness… a cultural, spiritual, and holistic view of our social and emotional wellbeing,“ Bec Johnson from IndigiLez told the Star Observer.

“There were many discussions about the social determinants and stresses for our mob.

“It was so empowering to see Indigenous LGBTI, sistergirl and brotherboy people presenting in aged care, suicide prevention, domestic violence, self determination, and women’s business.

“We experienced that feeling of togetherness at the conference, highlighting the importance of working with us in a way that draws on our voices and leadership.”

Mission Songs performed at the conference gala dinner, an experience that explored cultural practice and oral traditions through a unique blend of music and lyrics, drawing attention and understanding to life on native settlements and displacement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Johnson said the range of presentations by Indigenous speakers on diverse LGBTI health topics was “amazing“.

“It really develops a sense of pride in self and within our community when we share success and deadly work,“ she said.

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