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Breaking The Silence: Indigenous LGBTIQ+ research launches Friday

A new research project focusing on the lives of Western Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQIA+ community is set to launch later this week.

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The Breaking The Silence project is led by Pro Vice Chancellor Equity and Indigenous and Head of Kurongkurl Katitjin at Edith Cowan University and queer Noongar man, Professor Braden Hill.

Speaking to OUTinPerth and All Things Queer, Professor Hill explains the project came out of conversations among Aboriginal and LGBTQIA+ communities, exploring how research could inform dialogue around meaningful inclusion.

“What we found is that there’s next to no research about Indigenous queer experiences, whether it be in relation to health or education or community services, so there’s nothing there to inform policy,” Professor Hill said.

“We were really keen to explore what that might look like from a research point of view, and we were really excited that WA could be the focus of it.”

Funded by Healthway, the research has a strong focus on health outcomes, but Breaking The Silence aims to capture a range of life experiences to better inform policy, service provision and inclusion.

“It’s very much interested, as well, in the broader lived experience,” Prof. Hill continued.

“So how do Aboriginal LGBTIQ+ people encounter services from community, but also the health sector and education… what are those experiences like? What can we learn from the ways in which people engage and understand those engagements? How can we learn and how can we be better in policy and practice?”

“Research is the driver for change for policy and practice and we really wanted to make sure we were capturing that, but we’re also talking about the every day life of queer Indigenous people.”

The project is a first for queer Indigenous communities here in Western Australia, and Professor Hill explains the importance of the project being led by Black, queer researchers.

“I think it’s got to the point where the call for ‘nothing about us, without us’ is a real standard now, and I think this is such an exciting opportunity.”

“I think Healthway recognise that research does need to be led by queer Indigenous people because we are the experts. We are not an object to be known about, but we’re subjects who have expertise – not only lived experience, but we’re experts in terms of the knowledge as well.”

Professor Hill also says this Friday’s launch event comes with an open invitation to Perth’s LGBTQIA+ communities to hear more about the research, as well as the experiences and understandings of the panel, which includes MC and journalist Narelda Jacobs.

“I think I’ve been quite vocal about what I think is racism in the queer community in Perth, and I think that I’ve said that there are things that we can do, and coming along to an event like this is one of the things that people can do.”

“It’s an exciting commencement of an ongoing dialogue and I’m really excited to be a part of that and really excited to have that conversation with people as well.”

Join the Breaking The Silence Community Forum on Friday 25th June from 4pm. For more information, head to trybooking.com

Leigh Andrew Hill


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