Why We Work With the LGBTI Community – Our History with LGBTI

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Why We Work With the LGBTI Community

Our History with LGBTI

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Catalyst Foundation works hard to ensure that services are delivered appropriately and tailored according to individual clients of special needs groups such as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex community.

In 2010, our Catalyst Foundation Access & Equity Officer recognised a need to include LGBTI older people in our work, providing information around ageing and aged care.  The access & equity officer began this work by forming a reference group made up of a team of committed volunteer community members.  The aim of the reference group is to guide the workers to make our services known within the LGBTIQ community as well as assisting Catalyst Foundation by identifying issues/barriers and gaps in delivering services that are inclusive and appropriate to the LGBTI population.

The reference group meets with the LGBTI Project officer on a regular basis to share ideas and provide feedback on issues relevant to the work of Catalyst Foundation specific to the LGBTI community.

Over the last few years Catalyst Foundation has worked hard to seek and understand many of the specific issues that have, and continue to prevent older LGBTI people from accessing supports and services that assist people who are ageing, and their carers.

Over the last 5 years, the organisation has begun to include LGBTI in its information and have a presence at many of the LGBTI’s major community events such as FEAST Festival, Picnic in the Park and Pride March.

With the launch of the 2012 ‘Living Longer, Living Better’ Aged Care Reforms, older LGBTI people became an identified special needs group – which merely meant the older LGBTI community were found to not be accessing supports and services they were entitled to, to the same level of their heterosexual counterparts. As we had already started to step into the LGBTI community this was perfect timing to increase our work with the community.

Catalyst Foundation aims to increase awareness of ageing issues through the delivery of projects, programs and services which support seniors to live active, independent and connected lives.  Our programs are inclusive and promote engagement and improve social, emotional and health and well-being.

Over the last 5 years our Board, staff and volunteers have, and will continue to undertake cultural awareness and sensitivity training focussed on the LGBTI cultures.

As part of this commitment, the Catalyst Foundation Board recognised that targeted and inclusive approaches are needed to strengthen engagement with the LGBTI community. In 2015, it took the initiative to fund an LGBTI project officer who is also a member of the LGBTI community to support Catalyst Foundation to provide relevant inclusive services, connect with the LGBTI community and develop culturally appropriate resources for older LGBTI people and their carers.

As Catalyst Foundation moves ahead with our work we are listening to the needs and wants of the community, taking that feedback, and where possible providing services and projects that are identified including LGBTI people with disabilities, Over 50’s, advocacy and inclusion. We also provide LGBTI Sensitivity and Awareness Professional Development Training for workers in the community sector, particularly the aged care sector.

4th International Conference on Ageing in a Foreign Land 2017

Catalyst Foundation will be presenting at the 4th International Conference on Ageing in a Foreign Land on ‘Journey into the Rainbow’. The conference will be held on 21-22 June in Adelaide. For more information visit the conference page.

Here’s the abstract:

In 2012 the then Federal Govt with support of the coalition approved the Living Longer Living Better Aged Care Reform package. Recognition of the unique needs of older members of the LGBTI and CALD communities was embedded in these reforms. People from CALD backgrounds who identify as LGBTI often experience racism, homophobia, higher rates of mental health disorder and invisibility within their own communities. They may also be unaware of, have limited access to, and or be unsupported within the LGBTI community. So how do aged care organisations support older members of CALD communities who identify as LGBTI? With people from LGBTI-CALD backgrounds ageing there are a number of issues that specifically relate to this target group including historic discrimination and homophobia within Australia and their country of birth, issues for Asylum Seekers who have been persecuted for sexual identity, religious beliefs and personal values, and the impacts of dementia and dementia type conditions. This presentation will discuss the importance of Cultural awareness & competency training for aged care workers at all levels and the need to develop LGBTI- CALD Worker champions to assist the aged care workforce to provide services that are culturally appropriate, respectful and inclusive.

 

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