Izzy Mudford @ LGBTIQWHC18
In mid-July, I was lucky to attend the 2018 LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference in Melbourne. The conference runs annually and is jointly hosted by Thorne Harbour Health (formally VAC) and ACON. Over two days, presenters from organisations, local governments and universities around Australia and the pacific cover a broad range of topics related to women’s health including sexual health, alcohol and other drugs use, the wellbeing of culturally and linguistically diverse communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
Conferences are fantastic networking opportunities. I met really smart and powerful women from around Australia, including Alison Thorne, namesake of Thorne Habour Health. Alison was a keynote speaker at the conference and spoke to us about the power of solidarity and intersectionality in campaigning for LGBTIQ and women’s rights. It was empowering to be surrounded by people who all cared about women’s health and were working around the country to improve the wellbeing of diverse groups of queer women.
The LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference embraces the intersection of academic and community work that inspires these sectors to work together to meet the needs and advocate for the rights of diverse people. I especially enjoyed hearing about the work being done by ACON and the University of Sydney on the Sydney Women’s Sexual Health Survey. SWASH has been capturing data on the practices and experiences of LGBTIQ women in Sydney for the last 36 years. ACON uses this data to advocate for queer women and target health promotion initiatives (my favourite being #smokefreestillfierce - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yRTLpOqzTk). This is a fantastic set of data which supports the community through research. This work has inspired me to work with the Council and the Women’s Centre for Health Matters to begin a LGBTIQ women’s health survey here in Canberra. Keep an eye out for the survey which will be launched in November during Spring Out.
You can find out more about Izzy's experience of the conference on our Instagram account.