South Eastern NSW is home to many diverse communities, including people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+, sometimes written as LGBTI or LGBTIQA+).
LGBTIQ+ communities have specific health needs and find it difficult to access safe, inclusive and queer-friendly health services; particularly in regional and rural areas.
This may be due to the stigma and discrimination some LGBTIQ+ people face in their everyday lives, including from the health sector. Social isolation can also be a significant factor. When compared to the general population, LGBTIQ+ people face a higher risk of certain conditions, such as:
Below is a summary of some of the services available in South Eastern NSW to support LGBTIQ+ people, their families, friends and allies.
ACON regional outreach (NSW) | (02) 9206 2114 or 1800 063 060 – ACON specialises in HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTIQ+ health. Services include state-wide counselling, care coordination, substance support, peer education and health promotion.
ACON has also recently developed a Gender Affirming Doctors List for trans and gender diverse people, which includes two doctors in the Illawarra Shoalhaven.
Bi+ Australia - Bi+ Australia is a national organisation dedicated to improving the mental health of bisexual and pansexual people through support, education and research.
Bobby Goldsmith Foundation (NSW) | (02) 9283 8666 or 1800 651 010 – Counselling, housing, study, employment and financial support for people living with HIV.
Ending HIV (NSW) – The ACON campaign Ending HIV is focused on ending HIV transmission among gay men.
The Gender Centre (NSW) | 02) 9569 2366 or 1800 069 115 – The Gender Centre is a trans and gender diverse accommodation service. Also provides education, support, training and referral.
headspace – headspace is a one-stop-shop for young people aged 12-25 who need help with mental health, physical health (including sexual health), alcohol and other drugs or work / study support.
*In 2019, headspace Nowra is introducing a new support group for young people aged 16–21 who identify as LGBTIQ+, led by peer facilitators. Contact headspace Nowra on (02) 4221 5388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
Inner City Legal Centre (NSW) – ICLC provides specialist legal advice for LGBTIQ+ people anywhere in NSW.
Intersex Human Rights Australia (national) – National body and lobby group for people born with variations of sex characteristics.
Justice Connect - Hormone treatment referrals for young trans and gender diverse people.
Minus 18 (national) – Minus 18 is a youth-led social and support organisation for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans young people.
NSW Sexual Health Info Link | 1800 451 624 – NSW Sexual Health Info Link is a phone and online sexual health service with information on HIV and STI risk, testing and treatment.
Parents of Trans Kids (Nowra) – Support group for parents of transgender and gender diverse or gender questioning young people. This occurs once per school term and is facilitated by ACON in partnership with headspace Nowra. Individual appointments with an ACON family worker are also available on the day of each support group. Contact headspace Nowra on (02) 4221 5388 or email email@example.com to register your interest.
Parents of Trans Kids (Wollongong) – On the first Tuesday of every month, The Gender Centre and headspace Wollongong host a monthly support group for parents of transgender and gender diverse children. Contact headspace Wollongong on (02) 4220 7660 or firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
Police LGBTIQ+ Liaison Officers – Many local police stations have a dedicated LGBTIQ+ Liaison Officer but if you cannot locate one, contact the NSW Region Sponsor, Sexuality, Gender Diversity and Intersex.
Positive Life NSW | (02) 9206 2177 or 1800 245 677 – Positive Life provides information, support, referral and advocacy for people living with HIV.
The Institute of Many - TIM (national) – TIM is Australia’s largest grassroots movement and support group for people living with HIV.
Twenty10 | (0) 8594 9550 (admin) or (02) 8594 9555 (intake) – Twenty10 provides specialist support for young people of diverse genders and sexualities, and intersex status.
ACON - Provides a range of counselling services for LGBTIQ+ people in need of support and assistance. Call us (02) 9206 2000 or visit the website.
Beyondblue - Provides mental health support, action and advice. It has information specifically for the LGBTIQ+ community.
Bi+ Australia - Bi+ Australia provides mental health support specifically for bisexual and pansexual people, as well as clinical education for health professionals.
Gay & Lesbian Counselling Service of NSW - This is a counselling service for people in NSW and the ACT. Call (02) 8594 9555 or 1800 184 527. Available 9:30am - 5pm.
LifeFlex LGBQ - My Digital Health has created a tailored digital mental health program for LGBQ people. LifeFlex LGBQ is suitable for people aged 18+ who are experiencing mild to moderate anxiety and depression.
QLife | 1800 184 527 - Australia’s only national LGBTIQ+ counselling service, available every day from 3pm to midnight via phone or web chat.
The Black Dog Institute - The Black Dog Institute has a mental health support program for teenagers called Bite Back.
WayAhead Directory – WayAhead is an education hub with information about anxiety and other mental health issues.
For Local Needle and Syringe Programs in South Eastern NSW, click here.
The Teen Clinics across the region can help young people with general health, contraception advice, mental health issues, relationship concerns, STI screening, health education, homelessness and more. The clinics are free, nurse-led, drop in services for teenagers in a safe, confidential, non-judgmental environment.
Other services (by region)
Resources are available to assist general practices and health professionals in building more inclusive services:
ACT & Southern NSW HealthPathways
ACT & Southern NSW HealthPathways is an online portal for GPs and health professionals. HealthPathways has a specific suite of pathways addressing LGBTIQ+ health needs and support services in the ACT & Southern NSW region, including transgender health in children, adolescents and adults.
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