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Patient and Family Experience Symposium

Symposium focuses on health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ communities.

SydneyConnect Video: Highlights: Patient and Family Experience Symposium — part of Innovation Week 2022 (Day 2)

LGBTIQ+ communities have shared their insights about how healthcare professionals can better support them, during a Patient and Family Experience Symposium hosted by Sydney Local Health District as part of Innovation Week 2022.

The District is home to one of Australia's biggest LGBTIQ+ communities.

"Every person in our diverse communities deserves dignity, respect and kindness. But most importantly we all deserve the right to be ourselves. Our true selves," Dr Teresa Anderson, the District's Chief Executive said.

"The knowledge and wisdom from lived experience is vital for the work we do in our District," Dr Anderson said.

The Symposium opened with the founder of advocacy and support group Rainbow Babies and Kids, Kerry Hunt (she/her) — a parent of two adult children with her partner Wendy — reflected on their healthcare journey as same-sex parents.

"There will always be issues that affect our families and our health. Our families navigate through the judgement, discrimination, the non-acceptance and the otherness," she said.

As a high school student, Katherine Hudson (she/they) co-founded Wear it Purple Day to combat the rates of suicide and depression amongst LGBTIQ+ youth and to promote acceptance.

"The future of our country requires us to listen to the voices of young people. So why not provide the megaphone so that everyone can hear them," she said.

Eighteen year old trans woman Olivia Stewart (she/her) came out at 13, and shared the experience of navigating transgender life.

"This is what I want from a healthcare professional. I want to be seen as a whole person, not just through the lens of my gender identity. I want to be treated as a patient who has a characteristic of being trans, not a patient who is only trans," she said.

The parent of a trans child Carlie Henderson (she/her) told the Symposium about the ways the healthcare system could better support children and families.

"We need kids to be able to access affirming care. We need to have doctors know about it. We need professionals to know how to manage that approach," she said.

Representatives from partner organisations Twenty10, ACON, Rainbow Families and The Gender Centre discussed how to best provide equitable, accessible, inclusive healthcare.

There were research presentations the health and wellbeing disparities, the experience of aged care services and culturally appropriate approaches to engagement with LGBTIQ+ communities.

And a trio of 78ers — Shane Brown OAM (he/him), Meredith Knight (she/her) and Peter Murphy (he/him) — who participated in the first Sydney Lesbian and Gay Mardi Gras on 24 June 1978 — shared their healthcare experiences and hopes for the future.

The District is committed to delivering the NSW LGBTIQ+ Health Strategy 2022–2027, which is a comprehensive plan to understand and address the health and wellbeing needs of the state's LGBTIQ+ population.

"Sydney Local Health District is strongly committed to celebrating and strengthening diversity, inclusion and belonging in our health system.  There's always more we could be doing, but together I'm sure we are heading in the right direction," Dr Anderson said.

Innovation Week runs from 30 May – 3 June and this year's theme is Connect. Collaborate. Dream big for a bright future.