cohealth staff and volunteers kicked-off Midsumma Festival by setting up a colourful stall at Carnival. While it was a great opportunity to talk about the services offered by cohealth, being in and amongst the crowds also allowed cohealth staff and volunteers to hear directly from the community and learn from their experience. Throughout the day, volunteers facilitated discussion with the LGBTIQ community, asking what they think makes an inclusive health service through a fun photo opportunity.
Originating in 1988, Midsumma Festival has grown into Victoria’s most significant LGBTIQ arts and cultural festival, made for and by communities who live with shared experiences around diverse gender and sexuality. The purpose of Midsumma is to increase the profile of the LGBTIQ community and amplify the stories that might otherwise not be seen, heard or felt. It is kicked off annually with Carnival, a day-night celebration that sees more than 100,000 people gather to enjoy music, performers, food & stalls.
cohealth has a long history of promoting LGBTIQ wellbeing and is committed to a social model of health and rights-based practice. Research shows significant variations in the health and wellbeing outcomes of LGBTIQ people in relation to the wider community, and these outcomes can be largely attributed to experiences of stigma and discrimination.
The LGBTIQ community are largely underrepresented in mainstream health services due to repeated experiences of exclusion. cohealth will continue to provide inclusive health services to promote cultural safety as well as improve systems, processes & policies that improve the healthcare experience of the LGBTIQ community.
cohealth currently have an LGBTIQ inclusion group called A2Z – if you are interested in finding out more about the group, please contact Jennifer Tobin, Diversity Manager at Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org