LGBTIQ Victorians are part of a diverse, vibrant and resilient community, but like all Victorians, the current coronavirus restrictions can make life a lot tougher.
Author: VicHealth works with health promotion experts to create a Victoria where everyone can enjoy better health and wellbeing.
Header image source: Wear it Purple, August 2020
Any coronavirus information mentioned is accurate at the time this article was first published (26 August 2020). For the most up-to-date information about coronavirus restrictions, please visit the source: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au
For LGBTIQ people, who experience higher levels of depression and anxiety compared to the rest of the population, the coronavirus pandemic could have or still be disrupting social networks, intensifying social isolation and even putting people in harm’s way at home. For example, having to stay at home with family members who may reject their sexual orientation/gender identity can mean they are faced with discrimination, abuse or violence.
Whether you’re part of the LGBTIQ community or you’re an ally, there are ways you can help lighten the emotional load LGBTIQ Australians face – see four key tips below.
Four ways to be a better ally to LGBTIQ people
This can still happen from home during Victoria’s lockdown 2.0, and it must.
1. Celebrate Wear it Purple Day
2. Include your gender pronouns
A simple and practical way to be an ally at work is adding your gender pronouns to your email signature. Trans, gender diverse and non-binary people often include their gender pronouns in things like email signatures so they don’t get misgendered. When cisgender people do it, it normalises the practice and creates a more inclusive environment where people can feel confident in sharing their pronouns. See this article for more information
3. Learn about LGBTIQ inclusion to become an educated ally
There are a number of programs that teach schools and workplaces about LGBTIQ inclusion, such as youth LGBTIQ organisation MINUS18. Leading LGBTIQ publication The Star Observer also put together this list of LGBTIQ organisations from Victoria and around Australia as a guide on who provides community support. The Victorian Government also has a timeline of key laws and historical events for the LGBTIQ community.
4. Most importantly of all: reach out and listen
This is one of the most important things you can do. It’s wonderful to show your support on special days like Wear it Purple Day, and to educate yourself as an ally. But the best thing you can do is to reach out and listen. Ask your LGBTIQ friends, family and colleagues how they’re going and listen to what they say – they might not want to talk and that’s ok too. But letting them know you’re available to chat could mean a lot to someone who is feeling unsafe or isolated at home during lockdown. If they need support, you could refer them to organisations including peer-based community support organisations Q Life, and Switchboard, and leading community education organisation Thorne Harbour Health which also now provides coronavirus-related health information.
Coronavirus has turned things upside down for a lot of us, so whether you’re an ally or part of the LGBTIQ community, there are plenty of people and organisations who can help.
Check out some of our other blogs for more information about mental health and wellbeing:
- How to look after your mental health and wellbeing during coronavirus
- Ten go-to mental health organisations for young people
Have a coronavirus question?
For all coronavirus questions visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au or call the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) hotline on 1800 020 080.