(02) 6620 1800 [email protected]
Act for intersex rights

Act for intersex rights

Noah and his parents are speaking up to stop children born with an intersex variation being operated on as an infant without the consent of the child.

Noah’s not alone.  Around 1.7 percent of babies born in Australia are intersex, born with physical sex characteristics that are less common, varying from social or medical norms for male or female bodies.  Just as skin and hair colour vary along a spectrum, so do our sex characteristics.  But many intersex people still don’t have a say in medical procedures performed on their bodies which modify their sex characteristics.  These procedures can have lifelong consequences.

The I in LGBTIQ+ refers to those of us born with these bodily variations of sex characteristics. Like everyone else, intersex people have diverse genders and sexualities, defined by their hearts and minds, not their body parts.

Our community fights alongside intersex people because everyone should be able to make their own choices about what happens to their own body. It’s about equality, for all of us.

That’s why, together with Intersex Human Rights Australia, we’re coming together to support Noah and his loving family in their mission to end unnecessary medical procedures that modify the sex characteristics of intersex people without their consent. But if we are to achieve this change we need to lift up the voices of intersex people to raise awareness of what it means to be intersex, and what they want to be changed.

Will you help spread the word? https://www.facebook.com/EqualityAustralia/videos/727297308665268/

All human bodies are different and intersex variations are a natural part of human diversity. By letting doctors perform unnecessary medical procedures that modify people’s sex characteristics without their consent, governments deny intersex people the right to non-discriminatory healthcare that affirms their diversity. That’s why intersex people across Australia have long advocated that governments end these harmful practices. Momentum is building, with the ACT and Victoria committing publicly to introduce new laws soon, but there’s more to be done. Help Noah build that momentum, by sharing his story.

Will you watch and share Noah’s story?

Community Sector News

Community Sector News

This week is Community Sector Climate Change Advocacy Week (4-8 October)! Climate change is increasing extreme weather events that threaten our environment, as well as people’s homes, livelihoods, health, quality of life, employment and increases risks and burdens for future generations. See below for three key ways to support #FairFastClimateAction during Community Sector Climate Change Advocacy week – together, we can help push for fair, fast and inclusive climate change action this decade!

A new series of interactive maps developed by the ACOSS/UNSW Sydney Poverty and Inequality Partnership shows how different parts of the country have been impacted by the economic effects of the pandemic. These maps informed yesterday’s COVID Income Support: Analysis of income support in the COVID lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 report. Check out the maps and the report here: https://bit.ly/3ip8j7I

Quick reminder that the 2021 ACOSS Annual General Meeting is coming up on Monday 8 November. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated health and safety concerns, the meeting will be held virtually. Register here.

Social Sector Support Fund – closes Friday, October 8

Social Sector Support Fund – closes Friday, October 8

The $50 million Social Sector Support Fund was announced by the NSW Government in August 2021. It is part of the $200 million support package for not-for profitsopens in new window.

The SSSF is for eligible charities and Not-For-Profits (NFPs) in the social, health, disability and animal welfare service sectors in NSW. The Fund aims to help these organisations continue to deliver services to the community amidst increased demand, and also retain their workforce through COVID-19 outbreaks.

The Fund is targeted at organisations that are ineligible for the NFP JobSaver scheme and are experiencing an increased demand for services and/or a decline in income. Grants paid under the SSSF may include different allocation methods, such as direct payments, an open grants application, and workforce surge payment to support organisations which have had to stand down or temporarily replace staff (e.g. due to self-isolation requirements).

DCJ is administering this fund. The SSSF webpage will be update as more information is available on eligibility, application and assessment processes. SSSF grants will be delivered flexibly to ensure NFPs are supported and can continue to provide services to vulnerable people and communities.

You can register your interestopens in new window for the SSSF. Registration will close on 5:00PM Friday 8 October 2021.

The registration process is simple and will ask for information about your organisation and the services you provide. This will help DCJ to design the processes to effectively allocate SSSF grants. There is no funding commitment from DCJ or by your organisation in registering for the SSSF.

Please note: if you are already receiving the JobSaver paymentopens in new window or will be applying for the NFP JobSaver payment then you will be ineligible for a SSSF grant.

For enquiries, please e-mail: [email protected]

Members sought for the Old Byron Hospital community hub advisory group

Members sought for the Old Byron Hospital community hub advisory group

Byron Bay community members, who want to help shape a new community hub at the Old Byron Hospital site, are encouraged to apply for a position on the advisory group.

Up to eight members are needed for the group to provide advice and community insights into developing a vibrant for-purpose hub, connecting Byron residents to social, wellbeing, arts and culture, and educational services.

The not-for-profit Northern Rivers organisation, Social Futures, has the job of managing the new community facility. For 45 years, Social Futures has been delivering community services in the Northern Rivers, and runs programs in areas of homelessness, housing and employment, youth and family support, mental health and wellbeing, and community inclusivity, including support for people with a disability.

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies said his organisation’s Byron-based housing and homelessness service met daily with local residents feeling the impacts of the pandemic, job losses and the housing shortage.

“Few community service providers are able to find office space Byron Bay. The social impact hub will bring essential community services right into the heart of town,” he said.

“It will be a dynamic community space with a mix of business, community services, health, the arts and education. It will be a wonderful asset for Byron Bay.”

He said the community advisory group would:

  • look at community needs, service gaps and opportunities, then deliver on a shared community vision for the hub. This includes identifying and recommending tenancy applications best suited to community need
  • make recommendations on site fit out, landscaping and operations requirements
  • provide guidance on how any profits can be distributed back into local community groups and projects.

Mr Davies said the social impact hub would have tiered rent with anchor tenants – larger organisations, like a university – supporting affordable rents for local and smaller groups with any profits invested back into local community projects and groups.

“We want to create a vibrant centre in Byron that connects individuals, community groups, charities and other organisations and we want to do that in partnership with the community – this community advisory group is essential.”

Mr Davies said Social Futures would appoint the advisory members, striving to set up a group that represents the diverse Byron community with an array of knowledge and insights.

“We are particularly keen to hear from people in Byron with a long history of involvement in community organisations, and we also want social impact and business representatives to come forward,” he said.

Advisory group members will meet four times a year for around two hours beginning in November and continuing for up to two years, when the social impact hub will be operational. The positions are voluntary.

For more information about the Expression of Interest process for the advisory committee, visit the Social Futures website https://socialfutures.org.au/service/socialimpacthub/.

To apply for a position, fill in the form online. Senior Manager – Business and Social Strategy at Social Futures, Sam Henderson, is also available to answer questions on  0439 652 638  or email: [email protected] Applications close at 5.00 pm on Tuesday 5 October 2021.


Community Sector News

More than 8 out of 10 are Locked Out in Lockdown

The Australian Council of Social Service has found that eighty-five percent of people receiving some form of income support are locked out of receiving any extra Covid Disaster Payment, pushing people on the lowest incomes to the brink of their ability to survive.

ACOSS released the latest update of its ‘Living in Lockdown’ survey, which finds that almost all of the 216 respondents (96%) were seriously struggling with the cost of living and almost half (41.5%) were at risk of homelessness because of the high cost of housing.

“Compared with last year when everyone receiving unemployment and related payments was provided extra support, this year more than 80% are seriously struggling to survive,” said ACOSS Program Director – Social Security, Charmaine Crowe.

“When people can’t afford to cover basic costs like food, rent, electricity, medicine and public transport, they find it harder to travel to get vaccinated and are more exposed to the risk of COVID-19,” said Ms Crowe.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that there were four times as many deaths from COVID-19 in the lowest socio-economic group (which includes most people on social security payments) compared with the highest socio-economic group. It is unconscionable to leave behind people who most need support.

“Even the OECD is recommending that Australia lift our appallingly low level of unemployment payment – at $44 a day it’s the very lowest rate of all comparable countries. People on Youth Allowance and Austudy are at an even lower rate of $36 a day.

“The Federal Government must urgently extend Disaster Payments to all people on social security or without other incomes including those on temporary visas. As soon as Parliament is recalled, it must pass legislation to lift social security payments to above the poverty line including JobSeeker, Commonwealth Rent Assistance and family payments.”

“The biggest stress people on low incomes face is housing costs – with the highest rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance for a single person without children at just $70 a week when people in Sydney can’t find rental properties for less than $340 a week (and up to $540 a week in the city).

“ACOSS urges the Federal Government to increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by at least 50% to better support people afford private rentals.”

Living in Lockdown – Key Findings:

  • 96% are struggling with living costs
  • 85% are ineligible for the COVID disaster payments
  • 41.5% are at risk of homelessness
  • 40% feel less safe

Key Recommendations

  1. Immediately extend COVID Disaster Payments to lift incomes for all people without paid work to at least $600 per week, including those in receipt of social security and those without any other income source at all.
  2. As soon as Parliament resumes in August, pass legislation lifting working-age income support payments (JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, parenting payments and related income support) to the pension rate, which is just above the poverty line (at least $475pw for the single rate). See further below for increases to supplements needed for specific groups.
  3. Index all income support payments twice per year in line with wage growth as well as prices.
  4. Extend income support to all affected by inadequate paid work, including people on temporary visas.
  5. Increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 50%.
  6. Provide supplementary payments for people with disability or illness, and single parents, recognising the additional costs they face.
  7. Invest in social housing to address the critical shortfall of supply.

Download the Locked Out in Lockdown survey report here

ACON presents On-line forums: COVID Coping and Vaccinate with Confidence

ACON presents On-line forums: COVID Coping and Vaccinate with Confidence

ACON is presenting an online forum with the theme ‘COVID Coping and Vaccinate with Confidence’. (ACON is Australia’s largest health organisation specialising in community health, inclusion, and HIV responses for people of diverse sexualities and genders.)

Figuring out how to cope and stay strong through COVID-19, as LGBTQ+ people, is so important. Let’s get the community together and have a conversation about it. We’re bringing in some community experts to share how they’re going, what they’re up to and how they’re getting through lockdown, and you’re invited.

We welcome a panel of psychologists (Hi, Ellis from Pride Counselling!), social workers, body workers, mutual aid heroes and even a music producer. Our experts will also answer your questions so please ask. 

 The event is on

Date: Thursday 2 September 2021

Time: 6:00 -7:30pm


Take the Women’s Health Survey

Take the Women’s Health Survey

All women on the NSW North Coast are being encouraged to do a new women’s health survey.

Health North Coast says it is  important to get it to as many of you and your participants or clients as possible to ensure there is representation across different socioeconomic groups of women who are living with health disadvantage, including access to services.

The survey will be available online for two weeks until September 16.


ACON Community Partnership Grants

ACON Community Partnership Grants

Community Partnership Grants 2021 are now open!   

ACON is excited to once again partner with LGBTQ community groups across NSW.

ACON look forward to supporting the amazing work that community groups do for sexuality and gender diverse people.

ACON are offering $20,000 worth of grants this year, up to $2,000 per eligible LGBTQ community group.

Blue Knot Foundation delivers Professional Development

Blue Knot Foundation delivers Professional Development

The Blue Knot Foundation – National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma – has announced its new professional development training calendar for the second half of 2021. The training calendar for NSW and ACT is listed below. (In the event that a COVID-19 outbreak occurs which prevents the delivery of face-to-face training, Blue Knot Foundation will move the training to a virtual classroom wherever possible.)

Sydney, NSW
8 November 2021 – Foundations for Building Trauma Awareness in Sydney CBD – click here for more information
29 November 2021 – Managing Wellbeing and Recognising Vicarious Trauma in Sydney CBD – click here for more information

Canberra, ACT
13 September 2021 – Trauma Responsive Leadership in Canberra click here for more information
19 November 2021 – Using a Trauma Lens when working with Domestic and Family Violence in Canberra – click here for more information

Nowra, NSW
29 October 2021 – Managing Wellbeing and Recognising Vicarious Trauma in Nowra – click here for more information

Newcastle, NSW
6 December 2021 – Trauma Responsive Leadership in Newcastle – click here for more information

Virtual Classroom
20 August 2021 – Managing Wellbeing and Recognising Vicarious Trauma in Virtual Classroom – click here for more information
27 August 2021 – Trauma Responsive Leadership in Virtual Classroom – click here for more information
27 August 2021 – Managing Wellbeing and Recognising Vicarious Trauma in Virtual Classroom – click here for more information
1&2 September 2021 – Trauma Informed Diversity Awareness (Masterclass) in Virtual Classroom – click here for more information
8 September 2021 – Three Phased Approach: Safety and Stabilisation in Virtual Classroom – click here for more information
17 September 2021 – Foundations for Building Trauma Awareness in Virtual Classroom click here for more information
23&24 September 2021 – Three Phased Approach: Processing and Integration in Virtual Classroom – click here for more information
13&14 October 2021 – Trauma Informed Diversity Awareness (Masterclass) in Virtual Classroom – click here for more information

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia News Update

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia News Update

The National LGBTIQ+ Palliative Care Survey for LGBTIQ+ People and all Health Professionals is LIVE

Barriers stand in the way of LGBTIQ+ people having their needs met in palliative care.

Healthcare discrimination, legal barriers (including reduced rates of Advance Care Planning), inconsistent recognition of LGBTIQ+ partnerships and chosen families, and distrust of health professionals can all reduce LGBTIQ+ people’s end-of-life care experiences.

However, current research shows that much can be done to create positive change.

We are calling on LGBTIQ+ community members as well as all health professionals to consider completing this national survey. The data collected will inform the development of education around LGBTIQ+ inclusive practice.

Participants can access the survey here:


Webinar: Feeling Safe, Finding Safety

From 20-26 June we will celebrate Refugee Week with the theme of ‘Unity’.

“In 2019 there were 70 countries that criminalized consensual same-sex sexual acts and death penalty was a possibility in 11.” – Forcibly Displaced People’s Network (FDPN)

To show your solidarity with LGBTIQ+ refugees, sign on to the Canberra Statement on the access to safety and justice for LGBTIQ+ asylum seekers and refugees. It is the first in the world statement created by LGBTIQ+ refugees to enact change around the world.

Why not host a morning tea or lunch and screen our webinar – Feeling Safe Finding Safety:

10am, Wed 23 June 2021.

RSVP here 

My Health Record Survey

We’ve been working with the Australian Digital Health Agency to try to understand the best ways to use My Health Record (MHR) to support older LGBTIQ+ people.

We have been asked to circulate some questions for community members to raise or reiterate community benefits, concerns or suggestions for MHR.

Please take a moment to complete this survey so that we can represent your views.

Take the survey

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia


LOVE Project – Living Older Visibly and Engaged

LOVE Project – Living Older Visibly and Engaged

The LOVE Project, ACON’s ageing initiative, aims to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) seniors to lead healthy, active and more social lives. Understanding your needs and preferences helps us to deliver better community programs. We invite you to join the LOVE community for:

• Healthy ageing information

• Events and activities

• Sharing stories and experiences

• Make new friends

• Finding LGBTQ welcoming services


The weekly ONLINE LOVE CLUB GATHERING is social catch up and check in for all LGBTQ elders across NSW to share. How you are keeping busy? How you are managing your health and wellbeing?

What you are reading, watching or listening too? What’s making you laugh?

When: Every Tuesday from 10.25am to 11.30am (EST)

Where: On your mobile device or computer


You will receive a ZOOM link prior to the ONLINE Gathering


Regional Rainbow Socials – 3rd Thursday of the month

Regional Rainbow Socials – 3rd Thursday of the month

We have an exciting new monthly online social gathering we are running from May to September in 2021!

Join us and other regional LGBTQ+ community members [18+] online for ACON’s ‘Regional Rainbow Social’ series.  Connect with others from across regional NSW as we look at what brings us together as a community, and how to look after our health and wellbeing.

Regional Rainbow Socials will be held on the third Thursday of each month from: 7pm to 8.30pm (1.5 hrs in total)

• Thursday 20 May 

• Thursday 17 June

• Thursday 15 July

• Thursday 19 August

• Thursday 16 September

To register and for more information: https://www.aconhealth.org.au/regional_rainbow_social