icons / menu

To leave this site quickly, click the Quick Exit button.

icons / cross

Alternatively, hit the escape key.


21 Jul 2022

New Resources for LGBTIQA+ People Navigating Australia’s NDIS

Thorne Harbour Health and Inclusion Melbourne have released a set of resources for LGBTIQA+ people with disability to understand their rights and navigate Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

LGBTIQA+ people with disability consistently indicate that they have had poor experiences navigating both the NDIS planning process and working with NDIS registered providers in addressing their specific intersectional needs.

The suite of resources includes:

  • Knowing Your Rights: Disability & LGBTIQA+ Australians
  • Preparing for your NDIS Plan
  • LGBTIQA+ Clauses for Your Contract

Community advocate Ruby Mountford was the project lead on the partnership between Thorne Harbour Health and Inclusion Melbourne.

Unfortunately, the needs of LGBTIQA+ people with disabilities have not been adequately understood or valued. These resources have been developed in collaboration with a group of LGBTIQA+ people with disabilities – built from their collective wisdom and their experiences navigating systems, services and LGBTIQA+ spaces.

Ruby Mountford

“While we want to see the systems that support people with disability build their capacity to better work with LGBTIQA+ people, we also want to equip our communities with the tools they need to make sure their needs and identity are respected. People with disability can use these resources to learn about their rights and embed them into contracts they sign with people they hire to support them,” said Inclusion Melbourne’s Nathan Despott.

“As we continue to take collective action to advocate for the improved health and wellbeing of our LGBTIQA+ communities, we need to ensure LGBTIQA+ people with disability have the resources they need to protect their rights and get the best possible results when engaging with a NDIS registered provider,” said Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth.

All three resources are available online at: thorneharbour.org/disabilityresources

15 Jun 2022

AIDS Memorial Quilt included in Victorian Heritage Register

Victoria’s AIDS Memorial Quilt has formally achieved heritage recognition and protection - a first for Australia and a landmark moment in the history of the AIDS Memorial Quilt movement.

This month, the Heritage Council of Victoria determined to include the Melbourne AIDS Memorial Quilt in the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR), listing it amongst 2,400 sites, objects, and collections legally recognised and protected by the register.

Borne out of the AIDS Memorial Quilt movement in the United States, the Melbourne AIDS Memorial Quilt was originally coordinated by volunteers out of Fairfield Hospital in 1988 - with quilt panels being made by family members, loved ones, or volunteers working with community groups. Today the Quilts consist of 209 panels - each handmade and individually designed to commemorate a person or group of people who died from an AIDS-related condition.

Thorne Harbour Health (then the Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men’s Health Centre) accepted custodianship of the Quilts several years ago and currently maintain the collection.

Every year we put a number of the Quilts on display for World AIDS Day and the cultural significance is undeniable. They are an incredibly moving piece of our history and a tribute to those who we’ve lost to the epidemic. Being added to the Victorian Heritage Register is an important step in ensuring the Quilts are here for future generations.

Thorne Harbour CEO Simon Ruth

Doris Beecher was the former convener of the Melbourne AIDS Memorial Quilt and her son, Stephen, is included in one of the panels.

“On behalf of our family, I’m absolutely delighted by this listing to ensure the AIDS Quilt is recognised and protected. Stephen would be humbled and touched by this legacy,” she said.

Cheryl Olver’s son Darren is also featured on the Quilt and the heritage listing is welcome news.

“I’m relieved by the Heritage Victoria listing as now the AIDS Quilt will be there for posterity and not forgotten,” Cheryl said.

“My son Darren would be thrilled to be immortalised in this way, because we loved him, and he loved us. The protection of the Quilt in this way, reflects and protects our love for each other which will always be there for everyone to see and understand.”

The Chair of the Heritage Council of Victoria, Prof Philip Goad spoke to the Council’s decision to include the Melbourne AIDS Memorial Quilt in the Victorian Heritage Register.

“The Heritage Council of Victoria is very pleased to include the Melbourne AIDS Memorial Quilt in the Victorian Heritage Register. The Quilt is one of the most important objects associated with the AIDS crisis in Victoria, and promotes a compassionate and educational dialogue about HIV/AIDS.”

“It is an important example of community and activist art and highlights the impact of the AIDS epidemic. The decision to include the Quilt illustrates at a broader level the Council’s wish to protect cultural heritage which is significant to the history and development of Victoria, and reflects diverse community narratives and experiences,” he added.

30 May 2022

The Cost of Adverse LGBTIQ+ Mental Health

The poor mental health outcomes of LGBTIQ+ Victorians comes at an economic and financial cost estimated to be as high as $3 billion in research released today.

Commissioned by Thorne Harbour Health, the report findings from Deloitte show the rate of lifetime mental health for LGBTIQ+ Victorians is 73%, significantly higher than the 46% among the general population.

LGBTIQ+ Victorians are estimated to make up to 10% of the state’s population and their mental health outcomes are driven by a complex set of factors including systemic discrimination and marginalisation within society and the health system more broadly.

“When you look at the rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide, the message is clear - LGBTIQ mental health is in crisis,” said Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth.

For the first time, we can actually see what this crisis costs our communities as well as a compelling economic case for why investing in LGBTIQ+ mental health can benefit all Victorians.

Simon Ruth, CEO, Thorne Harbour Health

Luke Condon, Engagement Partner at Deloitte, explains, “This comprehensive study clearly shows the economic cost of adverse mental health outcomes in the LGBTIQ+ population and the findings will help us to better understand the prevalence and costs associated. Inclusion enables both participation and productivity and therefore contributes to all Australians. This is an important piece of work on an important issue.”

Robbie Robertson (National lead for Deloitte Australia’s LGBTI+ network and ally community, StandOUT) - “Inclusion continues to be a key priority at Deloitte, which is why StandOUT supported this important piece of work. Through StandOUT, our goal is to create an inclusive work environment where our LGBTI+ people can be their authentic selves and feel empowered, regardless of how they identify. This research is invaluable to that goal.”

The full report The Cost of Adverse Mental Health Outcomes in the LGBTIQ+ Victorian Adult Population as well as a summary report are available below.

23 Mar 2022

CONNECTing at risk communities with rapid HIV testing

SAMESH, a partnership between SHINE SA and Thorne Harbour Health, has launched CONNECT – a pilot program evaluating the use of vending machines to dispense free Atomo HIV Self-Test (HST) kits to support rapid HIV testing and to strengthen pathways to treatment and support.

With five initial locations around Adelaide, CONNECT is the first federally-funded project of its kind in Australia, building on similar projects implemented in the USA, the UK, and New Zealand.

To access a free HIV self-test kit, users scan a QR code located on promotional materials and/or the vending machines themselves. This will take them to a webpage where they will be asked to provide basic information about age, place of birth, sexuality, and testing history. Once the basic information is completed, they can then access a kit by scanning the QR code on the vending machine of their choice.

The target groups for the CONNECT pilot project include gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) incuding non-English speaking backgrounds, such as international students. CONNECT’s five vending machines are located at university campuses and community venues around Adelaide.

These priority groups currently experience multiple barriers to HIV testing, including: cost, time, privacy, stigma, and discrimination. CONNECT provides easy access to free HIV self-tests via vending machines placed in discrete and safe locations with an aim to directly address these barriers.

“As we draw closer and closer to ending new HIV transmissions in Australia, we need innovative initiatives like CONNECT to reach those populations that have been long considered ‘hard-to-reach’,” said Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth.

Within hours of setting the first few machines up, we’ve already seen people accessing the free HIV testing kits – allowing them to know their HIV status and take charge of their ongoing sexual health and wellbeing.

Simon Ruth, CEO Thorne Harbour Health

CONNECT is focused on making HIV testing more accessible in Adelaide; encouraging ongoing sexual health testing; and providing access to a culturally-safe treatment pathways that include further testing, treatment, and support from community programs and peer support groups if necessary.

As part of the project’s culturally safe access and engagement model the CONNECT webpage content, campaign materials, and follow-up survey have been translated and are available in English, Arabic, Hindi, Indonesian, Malay, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

The pilot period for the CONNECT project will be through September 2022.

22 Mar 2022

HIV Still Matters features personal stories of disclosure

Focused on the contemporary landscape of HIV in Australia, Thorne Harbour Health’s HIV Still Matters campaign is zooming in on the experiences of people living with HIV and exploring the topic of disclosure for its latest iteration.

The newly-launched campaign website at hivstillmatters.org features interviews with five people living with HIV who generously share their diverse range of experiences of disclosure with friends, partners, family members and work colleagues.

Elevating the voices of people living with HIV has been a vital part of our ongoing response to HIV in Australia for forty years.

Thorne Harbour CEO Simon Ruth

“While the landscape around HIV and AIDS has changed dramatically since the 1980s - the reality is that HIV still matters, and understanding the experiences of people living with HIV remains important for us all.”

The campaign features Stephanie, Emil, Carlos, Brenton, and Andy. Their personal interviews explore the intersection between disclosure with stigma and discrimination alongside relationships, family, friends, and community more broadly.

Hivstillmatters.org also contains information about HIV including: what it is, how it is transmitted and how it can be prevented; what stigma, discrimination and disclosure mean when it comes to HIV; and why it is important to remember that HIV still matters. A series of online clips will be rolled out over the coming weeks on Thorne Harbour Health social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.


30 Nov 2021

40 Years On - Victoria sees a drop in HIV diagnoses amid COVID-19 pandemic

In the lead up to World AIDS Day 2021, Victoria records its lowest quarterly total of HIV diagnoses in 20 years. While likely impacted by the restrictions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, Thorne Harbour Health emphasises the ongoing need for HIV testing.

Last week Victoria’s Department of Health reported 34 news cases of HIV for the third quarter of 2021, bringing the January to September total to 120 cases. Thorne Harbour CEO Simon Ruth welcomes the news.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a continued decrease in HIV notifications in Victoria and further afield. As we come out of lockdown, we have a unique opportunity before us to maintain that momentum, but testing for HIV is key. By getting tested for HIV today, you can look after your sexual health and wellbeing as well as that of your sexual partners.

Simon Ruth

The landscape surrounding HIV and AIDS has changed dramatically since the first cases were identified in 1981. With the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapies in the mid 1990s, treating HIV has radically improved. HIV has become a chronic manageable illness, and the proportion of people living with HIV who develop AIDS-defining illnesses has reduced drastically. In fact, people living with HIV on treatment with a suppressed viral can expect to live a normal lifespan.

Furthermore, antiviral treatment has made it possible for people living with HIV to have an undetectable viral load (UVL) and unable to transmit the virus through sex - making it the most effective way to prevent HIV.

In the past decade, we’ve also seen the introduction of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) - highly effective medication that is taken by HIV-negative individuals to prevent them from acquiring HIV.

“We are in remarkable time of biomedical prevention. There are more ways to prevent HIV than ever before, but testing for HIV is paramount,” said Simon Ruth.

“Knowing your HIV status as we transition into life after lockdown gives us the best shot as seeing a future with no new transmissions of HIV.”

World AIDS Day 2021 will also mark the opening of Thorne Harbour’s new Centre Clinic at the Victorian Pride Centre. Established in the 1980s, the Centre Clinic was originally setup to provide free health services to gay men during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Today, the Centre Clinic operates as a general practice for LGBTI community members and provides specialist medical care for people living with HIV.

The Centre Clinic came into being as a result of the tireless efforts of community advocates that wanted to see a brighter future for people living with HIV and our LGBTIQ communities. From the clinic’s humble beginnings at the Melbourne STD Clinic in the 1980s, we’re incredibly proud to open the doors of our new premises at the Victorian Pride Centre.

Simon Ruth

Victoria’s HIV quarterly surveillance report is available online at: https://www.health.vic.gov.au/infectious-diseases/hiv-quarterly-surveillance-report

06 Oct 2021

‘Safe Always’ Campaign Highlights Family Violence in LGBTIQ Communities

While family violence continues to be a serious issue faced by society, Thorne Harbour Health and Rainbow Health Victoria have partnered on a bold campaign putting a spotlight on family violence in LGBTIQ communities.

The Safe Always campaign features four images of LGBTIQ couples juxtaposed with various headline texts about family violence - informed by the lived experience of LGBTIQ people.

The aim is to grab the attention of viewers and achieve a wider recognition of LGBTIQ family violence amongst mainstream service providers and community as well as raise awareness within LGBTIQ communities of experiences of violence that may otherwise remain hidden.

“It’s a confronting campaign, but we can’t be afraid to have the difficult conversation,” said Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth.

“Unfortunately, LGBTIQ communities are unexceptional in this regard - family violence is real for them too. We need to acknowledge this is happening to LGBTIQ people and we need to address the issue head on.”

“LGBTIQ communities can face difficulties accessing mainstream services that do not understand or recognise their experiences of family and intimate partner violence,” said Rainbow Health Victoria Director Marina Carman.

“The discussion around family violence is often focused on men’s violence against women, but the Safe Always campaign challenges everyone to consider the diversity of experiences of family violence and the need to strive for respect, safety and support for all people, families and relationships.”

The campaign website, safealways.org, provides further insight into LGBTIQ family violence as well as offers guidance around engaging with support services, in particular those with capacity to appropriately support LGBTIQ people.

01 Oct 2021

National Conference To Explore Health, Wellbeing And Safety Of LGBTIQ Women

The health, wellbeing and safety of LGBTIQ women in Australia will be in sharp focus at a national virtual conference to be held in November.

Experts, researchers, advocates, health professionals, service providers, and sexuality and gender diverse community members and allies from around the country will converge online for the LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference on Thursday 4 November to address health issues such as sexual and gender identity, sexual health, mental health, violence and safety, tobacco and drug use, alcohol consumption, cancer screening behaviours and more.

The fifth LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference is presented by two of Australia’s leading sexuality and gender diverse health organisations: ACON in NSW and Thorne Harbour Health in Victoria and South Australia. The event is the only conference held in Australia dedicated to exploring the health and wellbeing of women in LGBTIQ communities.

Karen Price, Deputy CEO of ACON, said the conference offers an opportunity for those involved in improving the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ women to participate in discussions, share insights, increase knowledge and learn more about contemporary responses to addressing key issues and challenges.

“Prior to the impact of COVID-19, ACON and our partner Thorne Harbour Health had been building important momentum with a regular, focussed opportunity for people to come together and put the spotlight on significant issues that impact LGBTIQ women’s lives. These conferences were rich and inspiring, covering diverse content, health issues, bodies and lived experiences,” Price said.

“We’re excited to be back in 2021 for our first virtual LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference, once again bringing health, social and other pressing issues impacting LGBTIQ women into focus.” 

The program will reflect the conference’s theme – ‘Our Health Matters’ – with the keynote presentation delivered by the research team behind UnLEASH, Australia’s first longitudinal cohort study exploring lesbian, bisexual and queer women’s health and wellbeing and the relationship with smoking, drinking and using drugs. At the conference, researchers will unveil findings from the first of the cohort surveys.

The conference will be presented in an online format, allowing for greater accessibility for delegates as well as higher capacity for presenters and speakers to participate in the program. Previous face-to-face conferences have attracted around 400 diverse attendees. This year’s virtual presentation will see the conference engage an even bigger audience and further broaden its reach.

Carolyn Gillespie, Thorne Harbour Health Director of Services, said: “Our LGBTIQ women’s communities are rich and diverse. This national conference provides an important place for us to celebrate our communities, showcase contemporary research and best practice, and ensure the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ women are centred in our collective health responses. The fact that the conference is going online this year makes it even easier to participate.”

The LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference celebrates meaningful inclusion, diversity and access, aiming to create a safe space to strengthen the health and wellbeing of all LGBTIQ women, including Aboriginal women, Sistergirls, women of colour, intersex women, trans and gender diverse women and women with disabilities.

ACON’s Price added: “Over the course of 2021, there have been plenty of discussions of systemic failures to advance women’s safety and equity. Diversity in these stories haven’t always been prominent, so it has never been more important for us to come together. We know we need focussed opportunities that elevate lived experience, expertise, research and ideas to make progress with and for our communities.”

The 2021 LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference will be held virtually on Thursday 4 November.

Registrations are now open until 3 November.

ACON and Thorne Harbour Health aim to make the conference as accessible as possible to everyone in our communities.

To register or for more for more information, visit the LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference website at lbq.org.au.

The 2021 LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference is supported by the NSW Ministries for Health, Mental Health and Regional Youth and Women, Multicultural NSW, and Lesbians Inc.

Follow the conference on Facebook and Twitter and join the conversation using #LGBTIQWHC.





David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications

E: dalexander@acon.org.au M: 0428 477 042

Thorne Harbour Health

Caleb Hawk, Thorne Harbour Health Communications Manager

E: Caleb.Hawk@thorneharbour.org T: 03) 9865 6743

29 Jul 2021

Drama Downunder Sexual Health Campaign Sparks Community Complaints

Thorne Harbour Health’s longest-running sexual health campaign, The Drama Downunder, continues to spark complaints to Australia’s Ad Standards with the latest seasonal testing campaign.

First launched in 2008, the Drama Downunder has been highlighting the importance of maintaining sexual health and wellbeing for over a decade. During that time, the campaign has regularly received complaints - reaching a peak in 2019 when it cracked into the top ten most complained about ads in the first half of the year. The campaign has historically shown its models in a pair of white briefs in various light-hearted situations to destigmatise the discussion around sexual health.

“We’re incredibly proud of the Drama Downunder campaign. It was the first sexual health campaign specifically designed for gay men to be implemented in the mainstream in this country. For years, the award-winning campaign has been successfully reminding people to look after their sexual health all over Australia,” said Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth.

“While Drama Downunder featured one model for several years as the brand was being established, we decided to diversify the representation in the campaign in the last couple of years, and that has brought on a new wave of complaints,” he added.

“Having two men in the campaign has clearly sparked some homophobic backlash.”

The most recent complaint lodged said the campaign used, “sexually explicit images of two men, suggestive, compromising and grotesque, 24/7 in full public view , without any consideration of who sees these images and how they might impact children, religious persons, conservative people, foreigners and many more.”

And went on to add, “We do not openly promote prostitution, alcohol use & smoking and not normal sexual behaviour, but gay love is displayed like a car advert? It is utterly revolting!”

“It’s blatant homophobia and stigmatising views like these that remind us how important it is to have health promotion campaigns like the Drama Downunder clearly depicting gay men and taking the shame out of having a discussion around sexual health,” said Simon Ruth.

The latest Drama Downunder campaign features eight community models and revisits the idea of ‘seasonal testing’ or testing every three months. While Drama Downunder has run across Australia over the years, the campaign is currently featured on street posters in metropolitan Melbourne. Ad Standards have advised that the campaign does not breach the Code of advertising standards.

For more information, head to: www.thedramadownunder.info

03 May 2021

LGBTIQ Community Health Organisations Congratulate Victorian Peaks

Thorne Harbour Health and Switchboard Victoria applaud the Victorian peak organisations that have pledged to end the discrimination and inequities experienced by LGBTIQ+ communities in Victoria with the Embracing Equality Charter.

Launched earlier today, signatories on the Embracing Equality Charter include: Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, Victorian Aboriginal Children and Young People’s Alliance, Mental Health Victoria, Youth Affairs Council Victoria, Victorian Healthcare Association, Council to Homeless Persons, Victorian Alcohol & Drug Association, and Victorian Trades Hall Council.

“As a LGBTIQ community-controlled organisation, we are committed toward working toward a healthy future for our sex, sexuality, and gender diverse communities. We thank these organisations for taking up our cause. If we’re going see an improvement in the health and wellbeing of our communities, it’s going to require commitments from peak organisations like we’ve seen today,” said Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth.

He added, “We can’t achieve our vision without the broader health service system getting on board.”

“The Embracing Equality Charter is a very heartening development. This work must be led by us as both LGBTIQ+ people and as LGBTIQ+ organisations, but we know that we cannot do it alone,” said Switchboard CEO Joe Ball.

“Switchboard also welcomes the Charter’s ongoing reference to the role and centrality of community-controlled organisations. LGBTIQ+ community-controlled organisations ensure that our health is in our hands and that nothing is done about us without us.”

“Our collective work in addressing the discrimination and inequities experienced by LGBTIQ+ people is not over. We’ve seen some great steps forward, but both research and experience show us that there is still so much work to be done. We hope this is just the beginning and the Embracing Equality Charter provides some much needed momentum to improving the health and wellbeing of our LGBTIQ+ communities."

The Embracing Equality Charter can be found online at: https://www.cfecfw.asn.au/victorias-social-peaks-pledge-to-support-lgbtiq-communities-with-embracing-equality-charter.

13 Apr 2021

Drama Downunder Encourages Seasonal Testing

Thorne Harbour Health’s long-running Drama Downunder health campaign has hit the streets with a focus on quarterly sexual health testing and featuring a diverse range of models from the local community.

First launched in 2008, the Drama Downunder has been reminding gay men and other men who have sex with men to look after their sexual health and wellbeing for over a decade. While the campaign has continued to reinvent itself from year-to-year, last year saw a signficant change when the campaign introduced seven new faces from the community.

“The Drama Downunder has been our flagship health promotion campaign for thirteen years and the inclusion a diverse range of faces and body types has been incredibly well received,” said Thorne Harbour Health Acting CEO Carolyn Gillespie.

“Now with an amazing line up of models from our communities, we’re revisiting one of our more popular campaigns to remind folks that with every new season it’s time to get a sexual health test.”

Focused on encouraging quarterly sexual health screening, the original ‘seasons’ iteration of the campaign was released in Victoria in 2015. The campaign went on to run in South Australia before being adapted for the Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council and feature Aboriginal rugby league footballer Casey Conway. The latest Drama Downunder campaign revisits the four seasons with a different pair of models featured in summer, autumn, winter, and spring.

Carolyn Gillespie added, “As COVID restrictions around gatherings have eased, our communities are adapting to a new normal. We want to ensure this includes continuing to look after their sexual health and wellbeing.”

The latest campaign is running now through June 2021.

For more, head to: www.thedramadownunder.info


10 Dec 2020

Australia’s First National Sexual, Domestic and Family Violence Digital Resource for LGBTQ+ Communities Goes Live

LGBTQ+ people impacted by sexual, domestic and family violence (SDFV) from across Australia will now have access to relevant, culturally appropriate and state-specific information and resources with the national rollout of the digital support hub, Say It Out Loud.

Produced by ACON, Australia’s largest sexuality and gender diverse health organisation, Say It Out Loud is an online platform on sexual, domestic and family violence designed specifically for LGBTQ+ people. First launched as a NSW specific site in 2017, the resource received funding from the Department of Social Services in 2019 to be expanded nationwide.

The new national website, being launched today to coincide with the final day of the annual campaign ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’, provides comprehensive and inclusive information for LGBTQ+ communities around the country affected by domestic and family violence and sexual assault. It focuses on building healthy relationships and features tips, assessment tools, safety planning measures, videos, personal stories and other support resources.

The national platform has been developed in partnership with a range of specialist sexual assault and domestic violence services in every state and territory, enabling Say It Out Loud to feature state-specific content, information on state legislation, referral and support options, and local events. The organisations are:

  • New South Wales: ACON
  • Western Australia: The Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WCDFVS)
  • Tasmania: Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS)
  • Northern Territory: YWCA Australia (YWCA)
  • Queensland: DVConnect
  • South Australia: Women’s Safety Services SA (WSSSA)
  • Australian Capital Territory: The Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS)
  • Victoria: Kara House and Thorne Harbour Health

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said that the national expansion of Say It Out Loud responds to the need for tailored information and resources on SDFV for LGBTQ+ people across the country.

“Up until now, there has been no national website that specifically spoke to LGBTQ+ Australians about their relationships. Our data showed that more than half of Australian visitors to the NSW website were from outside the state, highlighting the need for locally specific information, content and referral links for community members across Australia.

“We thank the many sexual assault and domestic violence support organisations from around the country for their partnership and collaboration. Their expertise, knowledge and networks in their respective states and territories will provide LGBTQ+ community members with the relevant information and support they need.”

Parkhill added the partnerships will also help build capacity nationwide to support LGBTQ+ people impacted by sexual, domestic and family violence.

“While sexual, domestic and family violence is an issue that is gaining prominence, there is still little to no dedicated funding for LGBTQ+ communities to address SDFV in many states and territories.

“The partnerships will enable selected organisations to develop the skills, structures and strengths to become better equipped to identify unsafe relationships outside of the predominant heterosexual discourse, create safer pathways for clients, and provide further support for LGBTQ+ communities in culturally appropriate and safer ways.”

Parkhill also acknowledged the support of Australian Government in the expansion of Say It Out Loud.

“We thank the Department of Social Services for funding the national rollout of this vital resource. With the new Say It Out Loud website, we will not only shine a light of SDFV issues in our community on a national scale, we will also be able to further support the strength and resilience of LGBTQ+ people across the country, and thereby improve our collective health and wellbeing.”

Visit Say It Out Loud here.



Thorne Harbour Health Director of Services, Carolyn Gillespie:

“This national website will bring significant benefits to our LGBTIQ communities. As a one-stop shop for support and information related to healthy relationships, as well as family violence and sexual assault, the site simplifies the often complex process of connecting to safe support and getting help for LGBTIQ community members. The information available on the site is written for and by community and celebrates the diversity and strength of healthy and supportive LGBTIQ relationships – and, importantly, how to get help when a relationship is not safe.”

The Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing Acting CEO, Kedy Kristal: “The Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing is proud to partner with ACON and other state DFV services to promote the Say it Out Loud website. It’s a fabulous resource that supports and strengthens LGBTQ relationships across Australia.”

Sexual Assault Support Service CEO, Jill Maxwell: “As a small regional state Tasmania will greatly benefit from having this central website. The Say It Out Loud website is a great way of providing information and support, but also normalising healthy relationships, and destigmatising sexuality and relationships within marginalised groups. Tasmania knows what it feels like to be the odd one out, and we would never want anyone to feel excluded from any conversation about sexual safety. One of our aims is to ensure that everyone knows that we all have the right to feel safe, all of the time.”

YWCA Australia National Service Development and Delivery Director, Shannon Wright: “The Say It Out Loud project is incredibly important and will impact LGBTQ communities across the Northern Territory experiencing SDFV and those wanting further information on healthy relationships. As an evolving intersectional feminist organisation YWCA Australia is extremely proud and honoured to work in partnership with so many passionate organisations, where we all bring our expertise together to amplify the impact for LGBTQ communities. Our work in communities directly benefits from these relationships and shared vision we are very excited for our journey together”

DVConnect CEO, Beck O’Connor: “DVConnect is incredibly proud to partner with ACON and other specialist domestic, family and intimate partner violence services nationally because there is significant apprehension within LGBTIQ+ communities to ever contact mainstream services for support and we need to change that.”

Women’s Safety Services SA CEO, Maria Hagias: “Women’s Safety Services SA is thrilled to be part of a National partnership to improve responses and services to the LGBTIQ+ communities.  As the largest specialized Domestic and Family Violence service in South Australia, we recognize the importance of celebrating all LGBTIQ+ relationships and our continuing learning to support the community when concerns of risk and safety arise.”

The Domestic Violence Crisis Service interim General Manager, Glenda Stevens: “The Say It Out Loud website pulls a lot of information together, making it easier for people to access information relevant to their needs. The website promotes positive relationships as well as providing vital information to people who might be subjected to violence within their relationships, use violence or are worried about a friend or loved one.”

Kara House, Specialist Family Violence Practitioner Katie McNally: “Kara House is excited to be a part of a national partnership delivering information and referral pathways which will improve the experience of LGBTIQ community members accessing services. The Say It Out Loud project is providing a national integrated information point for resources for both LGBTIQ community and the services supporting them and is accessible to community no matter their location. Being a partner in the project has also enabled Kara House to access training and support to improve inclusive practice and provided the opportunity to network with state and national services to share knowledge and resources”.


ACON | David Alexander, Media and Communications | dalexander@acon.org.au

WCDFVS | Kedy Kristal, CEO | Kedykristal@womenscouncil.com.au

SASS | Laura Davis, Primary Prevention Educator | Laura.Davis@sass.org.au

YWCA | Shannon Wright, Director, National Service Development and Delivery | shannon.wright@ywca.org.au

DVConnect | Beck O’Connor, CEO | ceo@dvconnect.org

WSSSA | Mergho Ray, Manager Integrated Programs | merghor@womenssafetyservices.com.au

DVCS | Alanna Davis, Community Development and Engagement Manager | alanna@dvcs.org.au

Kara House | Katie McNally, Specialist Family Violence Practitioner | admin@karahouse.org.au

Thorne Harbour Health | Caleb Hawk, Communications Manager |  communications@thorneharbour.org

We encourage the use of the Australian Press Council’s Advisory Guideline for Reporting on persons with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics.


Thorne Harbour relies upon your continued support