We’re thrilled to launch our new research report: The role of LGBTIQA+ peer-led services in meeting the health needs of LGBTIQA+ people in Australia.
We regularly hear from our clients and communities that LGBTIQA+ peer-led services are essential for their health and wellbeing, so we partnered with Collective Action – a social impact consultancy – to undertake research to find out more about the role of peer-led services in meeting the health needs of LGBTIQA+ people in Australia.
Using an online survey, we asked LGBTIQA+ people about their experiences with peer-led and mainstream health and social support services. The survey received 443 responses from people across Australia with diverse sexualities, genders, bodies, and intersecting identities and experiences, including people with disability, people living with HIV, people who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
The report’s findings lay the foundations for a long-overdue evidence base that validates what we and peer-led organisations like us hear from our communities all the time: LGBTIQA+ people want non-judgemental services where they feel safe to be themselves and comfortable to discuss their gender and sexuality. While most respondents consistently found these service characteristics at peer-led services, they were rarely experienced at mainstream services. Additionally, most respondents reported experiencing stigma, discrimination, and abuse when accessing mainstream services.
Many respondents emphasised the importance of LGBTIQA+ people having access to safe, inclusive, and knowledgeable services across the whole health system. While most respondents would prefer to access a peer-led service if given a choice, this is not always possible due to the limited reach, scope, and availability of these services. As such, the study found that the health needs of LGBTIQA+ people cannot be met by either peer-led organisations or mainstream services alone – all service providers need to work together to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes of LGBTIQA+ people in Australia.
This research was informed by the expertise and peer-based knowledge of staff from Health Equity Matters (formerly the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations) and state and territory AIDS Councils from New South Wales (ACON), Victoria (Thorne Harbour Health), Western Australia (WAAC), the Northern Territory (NTAHC), and Tasmania (TasCAHRD). We would like to thank these organisations for their invaluable contributions to this important work.
We would also like to thank the hundreds of LGBTIQA+ people from across Australia who participated in this study, generously taking the time to share their experiences with us. We hope that this report contributes to building a society where LGBTIQA+ people have access to safe, inclusive, and knowledgeable healthcare and support across the health system.