By celebrating diversity and holding and enacting a vision of inclusion, we create services that respect and are accessible to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.  

This was one of the takeaway messages from Dr Brodie Evans’ keynote address at the Same Same but Different inclusion forum, focusing on the importance of inclusivity for people who identify as Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex & queer/questioning (LGBTIQ) 

Dr Evans is the Men’s Program Coordinator at Brisbane Domestic Violence Service (BDVS) an activity of Micha Projects. Dr Evans is also a Visiting Fellow with the Queensland University of Technology’s ‘School of Justice’ where he works as a teacher and a researcher focusing on discourse, law and public policy, and political activism, as they relate to issues of social and criminal justice.  

The forum explored discourse and our choice of words that can positively impact clients who identify as LGBTIQ.  One practical way we can use language is to ask about and use a person’s preferred gender pronouns. 

Our need to work in structures can reinforce the view that domestic violence is a problem exclusive to heterosexual relationships?  In reality gendered violence is experienced in the context of intimate and kin relationships irrespective of gender or sexual orientation.  

A practical way that organisations can support diversity is by being intentionally inclusive of LGBTIQ people in the development of policies and marketing materials.  The language and imagery we use in these materials can provide clues to potential workers and clients that the service is inclusive and that they will be welcome.  For example, websites that reflect equality in their language and images can send a strong message about inclusion.   

It is important to note that using the right terms has limits especially when we account for cultures that may not have specific language to describe various identities and expressions. Still, as workers in the sector we can all play a part in challenging the view that to be normal is to be heterosexual and cisgender.  

For further information check out the following: 

Developing LGBTIQ programs for perpetrators and victims/survivors of domestic and family violence. 

The “heterosexual face” of domestic violence can disguise the fact that domestic and family violence and intimate partner violence also occurs in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTIQ) relationships. This can leave LGBTIQ people struggling to find and access appropriate interventions, with the problem affecting those seeking support after experiencing violence and abuse, as well as those who wish to change their violent and abusive behaviours. 

Another Closet is a portal of resources for support, referral and information to support LGBTIQ populations who may be experiencing domestic and family violence or for anyone supporting them.