Where to get help as a LGBT with Disability

Where to get help as a LGBT with Disability

In the vibrant tapestry of Australia’s diverse communities, people who identify as LGBTIQA+ and also live with disabilities bring a new set of experiences as well as facing a whole new level of challenges. At Maple, we recognise the importance of inclusive support and our aim is to shed light on the avenues for members of the LGBTIQA+ and disability community to seek assistance. 

Help for LGBTQIA+ people with disabilities is a crucial part of what we do. The National Disability Insurance Scheme can provide funding through collaborative partnerships with inclusive and supportive service providers in your area. Connect with local LGBTQIA+ organisations and disability groups to amplify the support available to you. 

We want to explore not only the specific challenges faced but also the empowering resources our community has to offer. From understanding the nuances of accessing National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding to finding compassionate allies, join us on a journey aimed at providing insightful guidance and support for a brighter and more inclusive future for our LGBTQIA+ and disability community.

What challenges do LGBTQIA+ people with disabilities face?

According to data collected by LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, people who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community and also live with disabilities face heightened challenges in everyday life due to the intersectionality of these two identities.

Societal norms concerning sexual orientation, gender identity, and abilities frequently contribute to the denial of opportunities for both LGBTQIA+ communities and people with disabilities. These societal expectations can create barriers that hinder them from fully experiencing the same opportunities that others enjoy in their daily lives.

Some of these challenges include:

Discrimination

LGBTQIA+ people with disabilities may experience double discrimination, facing prejudices related to both their sexual or gender identity and their disability. This intersectionality can result in societal exclusion, negative stereotypes and systemic biases that compound the challenges they face. 

It’s crucial that we recognise the struggles of this unique demographic as they navigate a world that still does not fully appreciate the richness of their identities.

Inclusivity

Establishing supportive networks and social connections can be challenging, with LGBTQIA+ spaces sometimes falling short of inclusivity for those with disabilities, and disability spaces may not be affirming of diverse sexual and gender identities. This complex dynamic can contribute to a sense of isolation, emphasising the need for more inclusive and intersectional approaches.

In healthcare settings, LGBTQIA+ people with disabilities may encounter barriers in accessing inclusive and understanding services. Healthcare providers may not be adequately trained to address the specific health needs related to these identities. 

Mental health

The intersection of LGBTQIA+ identity and disability can contribute to heightened stress, anxiety and depression. Coping with societal expectations, discrimination, as well as accessibility issues can significantly impact mental health. They also report more experiences of high psychological distress than those without disabilities.

It’s crucial to address the mental health of LGBTQIA+ people with disabilities as they confront and overcome these multifaceted challenges, seeking not only acceptance but also a space where their mental well-being is prioritised and supported.

Economic and Education

Economic disparities may be exacerbated, as LGBTQIA+ people with disabilities may encounter challenges in accessing employment opportunities and face additional financial burdens. This can lead to the discouragement of disclosing a disability or identity preference and the inability to access the support they need.

Educational communities may not always be inclusive of diverse sexual and gender identities, and accommodations for people with disabilities may not be fully understood or implemented. This can affect academic performance and personal development of those within this demographic.

LGBTQIA+ disability support services

If you find yourself facing any of the challenges above, we urge you to seek services that can offer peer support programs and provide social support that you can rely on. Reach out to local LGBTQIA+ organisations in your area for resources, information and contacts.

Here are some great resources for LGBTQIA+ and disability communities in Australia:

ACON, a community health organisation, provides the Queer Ability toolkit, offering specific resources to aid in navigating the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Queerspace offers Advocacy at the Intersections training utilising lived experience and knowledge to provide insights and skills into how to create accessible and inclusive services.

QLife offers anonymous peer support services and referral hotline at 1800 184 527, as well as a web chat option.

Black Rainbow, a non-profit organisation, specifically supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Sistergirl and Brotherboy (LGBTIQ+SB) people with disabilities.

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (LHA) formerly known as National LGBTI Health Alliance, is an organisation that works towards promoting the health and well-being of LGBTQIA+ individuals, including those with disabilities. They host recorded webinars addressing challenges faced by gender and sexually diverse people with disabilities.

How to find the right NDIS service providers for LGBTQIA+ people with disabilities

Finding the right National Disability Insurance Scheme service providers that are inclusive and supportive of LGBTQIA+ people with disabilities involves a thoughtful and intentional search. We’ve put together some tips to help you find the providers that align with your needs:

  • Some online research can help to identify service providers that openly advocate their inclusivity for LGBTQIA+ communities. Look for mission statements, diverse policies or specific mentions of inclusivity in their services.
  • Reach out to LGBTQIA+ organisations, advocacy groups or health clinics in your area. They may have recommendations or resources to guide you towards service providers that are known for being supportive and inclusive. 
  • Seek recommendations from fellow LGBTQIA+ people living with disabilities. Online forums, support groups, or community spaces may provide valuable insights into positive experiences with certain service providers.
  • Schedule interviews or consultations with providers you may be considering to discuss their approach to inclusivity. Ask about their experience working with LGBTQIA+ individuals and how they can ensure a welcoming environment.
  • Look for online reviews and testimonials about the NDIS service providers you are considering. While individual experiences vary, reading reviews can provide an overall sense of the provider’s commitment to inclusivity.
  • Reach out to your NDIS Local Area Coordinator for guidance. They may have insights into service providers in your area that are known for being inclusive and sensitive to the needs of LGBTQIA+ people.

At Maple Community Services, inclusivity is a top priority and we pride ourselves in our ability to address your unique challenges, seeking services that best suit your needs within like-minded and supportive communities.