Celebrating diversity at Yooralla

Yooralla’s ‘My Identity, My Choice’ project is concluding after 12 successful months, with a celebratory Zoom event on International Day of People with Disability on Thursday 3 December.

More than 150 of Yooralla’s customers and employees have participated in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer/Questioning, Asexual Plus (LGBTIQA+) project, which aimed to empower customers seeking to explore and express their identities.

Olympia Tzanoudakis, Yooralla’s Customer Rights and Empowerment (CRE) Practitioner who led the project in collaboration with Nathan Despott from Inclusion Melbourne – a leader in LGBTIQA+ and disability rights, said another key focus of the initiative was to create a set of disability and LGBTIQA+ resources for the disability sector and to support our customers to establish new networks.

“The LGBTIQA+ project is a great way for Yooralla to show its commitment to achieving its goal of people with disability being treated equally and being able to lead their lives as they choose,” said Olympia.

Mitch, LGBTIQA+ Yooralla customer, said that it was great that the program was also open to Yooralla employees.

“Everyone has the right to be equal. It matters that services are aware of how to support LGBTIQA+ people with disabilities. Staff at my service thought of me when they heard about Yooralla’s LGBTIQA+ project, they helped me out a bit with connecting up; it was good,” said Mitch.

Dylan, a Yooralla customer who identifies as LGBTIQA+, said the project has started an important conversation amongst the Yooralla community.

“It’s important that people can express and explore who they are. Having a disability shouldn’t mean people can’t express their sexuality. It’s also good for staff to have general information about gender and sexuality, and information about how to support people,” said Dylan.

My Identity, My Choice’: Key achievements at a glance

The project has:

  • Held seven Zoom workshops supporting customers and employees to learn more about LGBTIQA+ rights and identity and promote the message that “coming out is OK”;
  • Established a steering group of LGBTIQA+ customers and carers at Yooralla to support the project, and to establish a space where customers could meet and support each other;
  • Developed networks, linking Yooralla customers to LGBTIQA+ peer groups;
  • Offered one-on-one advocacy and small group advocacy and empowerment among Yooralla customers; and
  • Provided information and resources for customers, carers and employees.

Olympia said while the project, which was funded by a grant from the Sidney Myer Fund and Pride Foundation Australia, is concluding, the CRE team will continue to educate the Yooralla workforce and support LGBTIQA+ customers, to ensure that diversity and equality are achieved at Yooralla.

If you have any questions or have customers at your service who may benefit from connecting with our CRE team, please contact yooralla@yooralla.com.au or use our online form.

​​​​​​​Details for the event to be held on Thursday 3 December will be shared with the Yooralla community in the coming days. Please stay tuned and put this date in your diary.

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