Quick Exit

As part of Meridian’s work with the Canberra Inclusive Partnership (CIP), Meridian coordinates a Service User Reference Group (SURG) to provide advice and input on the provision of our services. Our CIP agencies include Northside Community Service, A Gender Agenda (AGA) and Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT (SHFPACT).

The CIP SURG is a group of up to 10 LGBTIQA+ community representatives and is funded by the ACT Government as part of the Supporting and Strengthening Canberra’s LGBTIQA+ Communities Program.

Our SURG Members are a wise and beloved group of people who contribute their lived expertise to provide CIP agencies with valuable input. SURG Members help us to identify service gaps whilst also assisting us in the design of our services and contributing to the continual improvement of service provision for our LGBTIQA+ communities.

SURG Members from Left to Right: James Collier, Shane Vincent, Saige Whelan-Schrapel, C Moore and Rebecca Shammas.

Membership is open to people who identify as LGBTIQA+. We acknowledge that as a term, LGBTIQA+ cannot capture the diversity of sexualities, bodies, identities, and experiences that exist in our communities.  We use the plus sign to communicate that LGBTIQA does not capture the full diversity of sexualities, bodies, identities, and experiences, which include people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer, agender, non-binary, gender fluid, asexual, and pansexual.

In addition to people of diverse identities, the Service User Reference Group encourages membership from people whose intersectional lived experience can often result in additional discrimination, stigma and structural disadvantage. This includes but is not limited to LGBTIQA+ people:

  • who are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander;
  • who are from diverse cultural backgrounds, including those who have lived experience of seeking asylum;
  • who are people with disability;
  • who use alcohol and other drugs;
  • who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness;
  • who are living with HIV or other chronic illnesses.  

Membership is also encouraged from people who are family or allies of LGBTIQA+ people.

For more information about the SURG, or to submit an expression of interest in becoming a SURG Member, please email [email protected].

You may also be interested in reading the following documents prior to submitting an Expression of Interest:

Lived Experience Speakers Bureau 

The speakers bureau aims to amplify the voices and experiences of people with diverse identities and experiences who are too often marginalised in our community. Real voices and real stories deepen understanding, foster connection and develop intuition. We know that providing forums for people to share their lived experience is a powerful mechanism for fostering inclusion and reducing myths, fear, stigma, and discrimination.  

Our speakers have diverse identities and varied lived experience. The Bureau includes speakers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual and pansexual; speakers who are trans, gender diverse, non-binary, and a-gender; and speakers who have variations of sex characteristics. Many of our speakers have faced stigma and discrimination and are passionate about promoting a greater understanding of the diversity within our community and addressing stigma and discrimination. As such, our speakers have experiences, knowledge, and insights relating to a range of community and health issues including social inclusion and healthcare equity. 

Speakers are available to present to groups big and small at universities, hospitals, NGOs, and at community, conferences, corporate organisations, events and keynote speakers.

The Lived Experience Speakers Bureau ACT (diversespeakers.org.au)



Meridian acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders both past and present.

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