Celebrating Pride across Yooralla

Sites and services across Yooralla lit up with the colours of the rainbow as we celebrated Pride Month!

Head Office anchored the hybrid event, where staff were joined by clients from Drouin hub, who journeyed to the city for the occasion.

We crossed out to some of our sites to see how they were celebrating the occasion before we had guest speaker Is Hay (they/them) dialling in to talk about the importance of Pride for people with disability.

The rainbow celebrations at Leongatha hub were led by client Mitch, supported by Sharon Peattie, Service Manager and Annick Cerdor – Assistant Service Leader. Clients and staff dressed up in rainbow colours and decorated the hub, cooking some Pride-themed rainbow pasta to enjoy while participating in the online event with the rest of the Yooralla community.

We also heard from the team at our Sunshine office – who donned their rainbow best and shared the stories of their Pride Month activities, including special ‘Lunch and Learn’ events, where they asked questions and shared information about Pride and its importance.

During the event, we were lucky enough to hear again from Is Hay who identifies as “a disabled, queer, trans and mad young person living, working and fighting on stolen Wurunjderi Woiwurrung land.”

They are a writer and advocate especially passionate about the layers of marginalisation intersectional identified people experience and breaking them down.

Is spoke about the intersection between being both a person with disability and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Is explained to the event attendees about the high number of people who identify as gender-diverse, who also have autism.

This intersection is corroborated through a study which found that “compared to cisgender* individuals, transgender and gender-diverse individuals have, on average, higher rates of autism.”

The study found that about 30,000, or 5 percent, of the cisgender people in the study have autism, whereas 895, or 24 percent, of the gender-diverse people do.

Is also spoke about the importance of community and connecting with people.

“It’s so great to not have to explain myself and connecting with people based on our experiences. Especially when things are targeting us, we can band together,” Is said.

Continuing to support our clients

Yooralla continues to support clients to explore their identity, find community and importantly, work alongside our LGBTIQA+ clients and staff to create a more inclusive organisation and supports.

Yooralla Chief Executive Officer, Terry Symonds was “pleased Yooralla can play a small but important part in supporting the rights of people with disability” through events such as this Pride celebration.

“Being an inclusive organisation is a journey, and one where we have a lot of work left to do,” said Terry.

Terry also noted that while “celebrating is important, we should also recognise the history of activism” surrounding days like Pride, making reference to the activism of people such as Marsha P. Johnson, a trans activist who participated in the Stonewall Uprising and fought for equal rights for people with disability.

Is agreed that they are “honoured that they get to enact what people have been fighting for”, sharing their pride in being able to change their name and gender marker on their passport – something which has only been able to be done in recent years.

Rebecca Feldman, Customer Experience and Empowerment Practitioner and organiser of the Pride event explained the importance of events such as this for the LGBTQIA+ community.

“This event is about playing a small part to be more inclusive for people to be who they are as LGBTQIA+ people,” she said.

“Yooralla is working to be able to support them much more. We need to start learning and create a dialog around LGBTQIA+ rights and encourage the facilitation of connections between people with disability and the queer community.”

“This will pave the way for a more inclusive and equal world,” Rebecca said.

Yooralla’s Customer Experience and Empowerment (CEE) team will continue to support clients one-on-one in a range of ways, including supporting people to connect to LGBTQIA+ communities, events, information, advocacy, mentoring—or even just to have a chat.

They will also continue to work with Yooralla services to provide information, answer questions and facilitate training as requested.

Want more information? Get in touch with the team on cre@yooralla.com.au.

*cisgender refers to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.

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