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COVID-19 & LGBTIQ Women

Although it won't be around forever, COVID-19 is affecting LGBTIQ women right now. Some challenges might seem overwhelming, but we're here to help.

Check out some information, frequently asked questions and resources available.

Can I have sex with my live-in partner?
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Provided you're both well, if you live with your partner and have been social isolating and/or physical distancing from others, you can certainly continue to have sex together.

Can I still have sex with my partner/s if we don’t live together?
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The good news is yes. You can still have sex with your partner if you don’t live together; however, it’s important to be aware of the risks. While the Victorian Government has relaxed the rules around partners who don’t live together visiting each other, make sure you practice good hygiene such as washing your hands or using hand sanitiser before you enter their home and that they do the same. For people with multiple partners, we are recommending to select one regular sexual partner where you both keep physical distance from others, or have a look at the solo tips on in our Sex & COVID page.

How can I stay connected?
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Just because you’re physically distancing doesn’t mean you can’t hang out virtually. There are plenty of ways to stay connected over the internet. Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Facebook Messenger video, Houseparty app… there are plenty of options to keep you connected face-to-face, or really screen-to-screen. Make your own virtual hang out sessions with loved ones, friends, or even meet new friends from our community. Brunches, coffee and game nights can all still happen in cyberspace!

The Show Must Go On!

Queer artists, performers and other members from our communities have been doing live streams on platforms such as Instagram to keep you connected and entertained.

All The Queen’s Men Digital Dance Club occurs online each Sunday so check in then, or check other things such online events hosted by Tomboy or Equality Australia.

Musicians like Kira Puru, Christine and the Queens, Young M.A, and others have been doing Instagram live streams and collabs, where you can watch and interact with others. Go follow and join in the fun.

How can I keep fit and healthy?
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You can still get outside to exercise and breathe in some fresh air. Restrictions on where we can and can't go are being updated regularly to counteract the spread of the virus, so please be aware of new updates. If you prefer to stay inside the house, there are plenty of options to continue being active. Queer yoga, aerobics, dancing and more are being livestreamed on various platforms. Queer yoga teacher Daisy (@daisybossybaddy) has queer, trans and people of colour virtual yoga classes and performance artist, Betty Grumble, has been doing daily aerobics/dance videos you can copy and share some (virtual) sweat with.

I'm feeling overwhelmed
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The impact of isolation, precarious employment, constant news media and the health crisis can all weigh down on how we feel and cope day to day right now. It is okay to feel overwhelmed, upset or unmotivated. Be gentle with yourself. Reach out to your friends, check in on each other with a message or call.

You can also reach out to services that are there to support you.

This includes Switchboard, who you can chat online with or call on 1800 184 527 from 3pm to midnight (AEST, 7 days a week).

Thorne Harbour Health’s services are still available for you to contact, including counselling services. You can continue to contact intake workers on (03) 9865 6700.

If you need urgent help, you can call Life Line any time on 13 11 14, or use their texting service on 0477 13 11 14, available 6pm to 12am (AEST, 7 days a week).

Drinking has taken my mind off things, is this a problem?
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We understand this. Having a beer or glass of wine to relax or at least distract you from everything is more than tempting right now, but let’s try and keep it in perspective. We need to stay fit and healthy more than ever. Try and keep up at least three alcohol free days a week. We also know that while a couple of drinks is okay, the effects of a hangover can make it even harder to cope the next day. The same with drugs, if you find yourself self-medicating more than usual, reach out to your friends or family or get in contact with an alcohol and drug counsellor at Thorne Harbour Health’s services.

Want more info about reducing your drinking - check out Rethink the Drink.

My partner and I are not getting along during isolating?
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Suddenly needing to be inside constantly is going to be tough for everyone. Even if you and your partner(s) typically get along with no issues, the changes to how we live day to day can impact every aspect of our relationships. It is common to experience frustration, maybe you will bicker, disagree or get annoyed more often. This is okay, as long as you respect each other’s needs and concerns. Communicate more regularly and set up boundaries. Acknowledge this will be a difficult time and perhaps have a plan of how each of you will act when you need to calm yourself down, like taking a minute to close your eyes and take some deep breaths. If you can, create separate work and focus spaces, where you can read, watch, or listen to things away from each other and have your own time alone. Try your best to avoid extra triggers such as alcohol and drugs, and if you are struggling, communicate this and reach out to support services who can help you get through.

My partner is being abusive during isolation
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Things can be difficult even without the extra pressures that exist right now. Being inside with someone who hurts and abuses you is a danger many people are facing right now, and maybe this includes you. There are many options to seek support when you are made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe. If you have a trusted friend or chosen family member, let them know how you are feeling and what is happening. Reach out to the following services in a way that you feel safest to do - calling, texting or looking online...

Thorne Harbour’s Family Violence services: https://thorneharbour.org/lgbti-health/relationship-family-violence/

Other services:

w|respect, LGBTIQ relationship and partner violence
Phone: 1800 LGBTIQ (1800 542 847)
Website: www.withrespect.org.au

Safe Steps, 24hr support service for family violence
Phone: 1800 015 188, Website: www.safesteps.org.au

1800 Respect, 24hr support and information for family violence, abuse and sexual assault.
Phone: 1800 737 732, Website: www.1800respect.org.au

Relationships Australia, relationship support services
Phone: 1300 364 277
Website: www.relationships.org.au

WIRE – Women’s Information Referral Exchange, information, support and referral service for women, non-binary and gender-diverse people
Online chat: www.wire.org.au (available 11am - 4:30pm, Monday to Friday)
Phone: 1300 134 130 (9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday)

Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA)

Phone: Sexual Assault Crisis Line (Victoria) 1800 806 292

Website: www.casa.org.au

Switchboard, LGBTIQ peer counselling and support service
Online chat: www.switchboard.org.au (available 3pm – midnight, everyday)
Phone: 1800 184 527 (3pm to midnight, everyday)

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