Equal rights and equal love
DATE: 4 August 2016
Scott is a bright young man with disability from Melbourne’s east who lives in one of Yooralla’s supported accommodation homes. While Scott leads a full and happy life, there’s one thing he’s still searching for: love.
Approaching his 29th birthday, Scott recently attended the Equal Love marriage equality rally in Melbourne. Accompanied by Maya, his Yooralla Personalised Services support worker, Scott joined thousands of Australians to put pressure on the government to implement same sex marriage laws.
For Scott, equal rights are very important and marriage equality is an issue close to his heart. As someone who has experienced elements of discrimination based on both his ability and his sexual orientation, he is a passionate advocate for equality.
“As a gay man myself and someone who has a disability, it’s hard to find love – and that’s really important to me. So when I do, I want to have the choice to get married. I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to get married if they want to, not just people who are straight,” says Scott.
“I really enjoyed the Equal Love rally, there was a great atmosphere. It was great to be involved and support other people who are gay.
“My support worker Maya from Personalised Services came with me. She’s really well matched to me. We have similar interests – she just understands me.”
Maya, who began working with Scott a few months ago, says that it’s their shared creativity and open-mindedness that makes her and Scott such a successful match.
“Scott’s a really open person naturally. We share some similar views, and whether it’s marriage equality or something else, sometimes you need to be reminded that you’re not alone in what you believe in. It can be validating to know that there’s a whole community of people who think the same way you do,” say Maya.
Yooralla’s Personalised Services program places high importance on matching the right staff member with the right customer. Manager Declan Connor says that it’s a top priority to get to know customers personally to determine what their support needs are, as well as what they want to achieve in life.
“Because we’ve got to know Scott so well, we were able to match him with a very like-minded support worker, which has been a great success.”
“It’s really important that the customer and staff member have shared values and that their personalities match – there can be so many benefits. Some customers may want to receive support from someone of a certain age bracket or background, and we can offer that choice to them,” says Declan.
Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), there is a greater focus on providing choice and control, and offering customers the opportunity to choose the staff they want to deliver their support is an important way to make this focus a reality.
“By getting to know our customers better, we are able to match them with the person they’re most comfortable with and better support them to achieve goals and assist there individual support needs.”
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