LGBTI health must remain high on new government's agenda
Australia’s peak LGBTI health body says no matter which party government ends up winning government this September, recognition of the issues that impact on the health of LGBTI Australians need to be recognised.
Ahead of the election, The National LGBTI Health Alliance has released LGBTI Health 2013: people, profiles and perspectives, a report summarising the key health issues facing the LGBTI community in Australia.
Maximising the health of individuals and families is important for the well-being of any society and the Alliance believes the health issues of LGBTI people need to be identified and actioned with inclusive health policies by the next government to ensure a healthier LGBTI community.
“Health and wellbeing are important for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people for the same reasons as they are for all Australians: the need to maximise good health for individuals, families and partners, to contribute to financial security, and to contribute to the wider society,” the Alliance said in the report.
“We need to see national leadership by government to ensure the recognition of issues that impact on the health of LGBTI Australians and an introduction of policies that have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of LGBTI Australians.”
The Alliance believes education and training is needed to ensure LGBTI inclusive practice across a number of areas including aged care, suicide prevention, drug and alcohol use, intersex, trans and gender diversity and ongoing data collection and research.
The report lays out specific recommendations and strategies to ensure the aims of optimum mental and physical health are met.
High on the agenda are recommendations for further data collection and research into the specifics of LGBTI health in particular of the trans, intersex and sex and gender diverse members of the community.
The report suggests there a significant lack of national research collecting indicators of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.
“The lack of inclusion within national, publicly funded health research creates deficiencies in knowledge about the health and wellbeing of this key cohort of Australians.
“There has been limited increased knowledge in areas such as mental health and drug and alcohol use over the past few years.”
The report suggests a comprehensive national project is required to address the wide range of research issues involved.
The Alliance is also keen to ensure recent wins in Anti-Discrimination and aged care are adhered to.
“The passing of the Sex Discrimination Amendment Act 2013 means service providers in the aged care sector that receive funds from the Commonwealth will now need to abide by national anti-discrimination laws designed to offer greater protection for LGBTI people,” notes the report.
What this translates to was a suggestion by the Alliance for greater visibility for the needs of LGBTI people in aged care and more training and research being required for aged-care staff to provide inclusive practices.
The report also calls for a prohibition on normalising therapy and surgery on intersex people and the use of Dexamethasone to prevent intersex births.
Concern was also raised for the alarming number of LGBTI people with alcohol and tobacco-related illnesses and it was suggested the National Tobacco Strategy be amended to include LGBTI as a high risk group, and establish LGBTI people as a priority in future research on tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.
To read the full report, go to lgbtihealth.org.au/health2013