Summary for Service Workers

Disclosure and Confidentiality

Clearly explain the rationale and your agency’s processes for collecting, storing, and sharing personal information. Respect an individual’s choice about disclosing sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or intersex variation, and appreciate that individual preferences around disclosure may change in different contexts.

Respectful Communication

Use gender-neutral language until you are familiar with preferred terminology and pronoun/s that the person uses. Do not make assumptions based on appearance or formal documentation. Understand that gender, sexual orientation, and the language a person uses to describe themselves can also change over time. Ensure all communication is person-centred, sensitive to individual needs, and that sexual orientation, gender, intersex variations, and relationships are discussed in culturally safe and appropriate ways. Ask questions in a space that does not risk outing LGBTIQ+ people to other service users or staff.

Cultural Safety

Do not assume that accommodation and support options will be seen as safe, appropriate, accessible, and welcoming. Ensure you explain the various accommodation and support options likely to be available. Accommodation should be offered based on self-identified gender and choice. Cultural safety can be further supported through policies, consumer charters, staff training, signage, resources, and facilities. LGBTIQ+ people at risk of eviction should be referred to appropriate legal or tenancy support services.

Discrimination and Harassment

Protect LGBTIQ+ clients by adopting a Zero Tolerance approach to discrimination, stigma, harassment, and violence. Make sure you understand your agency’s complaints pathways and facilitate prompt responses to discrimination and harassment. LGBTIQ+ people can get legal support if they believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex variation.

Specific Support, Referral, and Advocacy

You may be required to advocate on a client’s behalf, to support particular needs, or facilitate access to specific services. Know how to discuss relevant topics sensitively, while being mindful of the impacts of trauma. Have the right knowledge to connect LGBTIQ+ people with culturally appropriate support (including vetting services before referring on) and provide options where possible to help make informed decisions.

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