CAWA brings two essential workshops to PrideFEST 2020

As part of this year’s PrideFEST, Connection and Wellbeing Australia (CAWA) are hosting two educational workshops that hold vital information for anyone who is seeking to be a better ally to LGBTIQ+ communities.

CAWA have been providing essential training and support for many years to organisations, community groups and individuals, working towards a mentally healthy and suicide safer community in WA.

Bella Broadway of CAWA joined us for a conversation about how these workshops promote diversity, inclusive practice, and prepare folks to deal with family & domestic violence and intimate partner violence situations.

Pride is often seen as a celebration for LGBTQIA+ folks, but it’s also a chance for the wider community to engage with LGBTQIA+ issues; Why should non-queer folks engage with diversity/inclusivity workshop?

Being informed about the diverse needs of the communities we live work and play in is the responsibility of all of us. Some of the most common reactions we hear to Inclusive Practice workshops are “ We don’t have any LGBTIQA+ clients/staff”- which is almost statistically impossible and often speaks to the fact that either LGBTIQA+ folks do not feel this is a safe place to disclose, or they simply aren’t asked or “We treat everyone equally and are non-judgemental”- which is great in theory, but terrible in practice.

LGBTIQA+ folks deserve to have their needs understood and to be treated in a way that ensures that despite the many barriers and challenges they face to accessing services they receive the opportunities for the same outcomes as non LGBTIQA+ folks.

Most discrimination is based on misinformation and is unintentional. Engaging with Inclusive Practice lessens the chance that you will be accidentally discriminating against LGBTIQA+ folks and/or reinforcing barriers they face in accessing services and community spaces.

I was undertaking some study last year and one of the assessments was to do a speaking session about any topic. A biology teacher in the class did a presentation about X and Y genes and during the session I had indicated that he was leaving out a massive chunk of information about Intersex variations at this genetic level. We had a chat afterwards and then I gave him some information from IHRA. He was shocked that he had never been taught this information. The next day he came back in and told me that the night before he was at the pub with a long-time friend and was telling him about what he had learned, after a while the friend disclosed that he had an Intersex Variation and that no-one outside of the family had ever been told. This biology teacher did not intentionally discriminate in his classes, but by not being informed about the topic he was inadvertently invalidating a whole population of people and their lived experience. He (and his friend) are now engaged in Intersex advocacy and he has come to one of our workshops to learn how to be an ally to the broader LGBTIQA+ community.

For those who might be a bit unsure – in a nutshell, what does a diversity workshop entail?

First of all, its NOT about blame. We do not receive structured learning about sex, sexuality, gender and relationship diversity so we seldom have the opportunity to really take a look at these subjects so that we can better understand the needs of LGBTIQA+ people.

Inclusive Practice training breaks down these topics so we can clear up any myths, misinformation and stereotypes; it looks at how we can reduce or remove barriers faced by LGBTIQA+ folks; it talks about intersectional factors of identity; provides updated language; gives practical examples of how you can go back to your workplace/community space and instantly make changes to better support LGBTIQA+ folks and provides information of how you can connect with and support LGBTIQA+ community groups and services.

Most importantly, the workshops provide a safe space for people to openly ask questions, challenge information or views that they hold and be open to learning.

Can LGBTQIA+ people learn from these workshops as well?

Absolutely! As mentioned before, we do not really receive any structured learning on these topics- and that includes if you happen to be part of the LGBTIQA+ community yourself. Learning (and unlearning) a lot of the myths and stereotypes about being LGBTIQA+ can help on an individual level to challenge any internalised feelings of homo/bi/trans phobia and intersex discrimination and it can also help us understand be a better ally to the people in our communities that have life experiences that are different from our own. Also, our understandings about these topics grows more every day, so there is always something new to learn.

It is so important for the LGBTIQA+ community to learn how we can be the best allies to one another and this can definitely help limit lateral hostility and help unify us in the fight for true equality. It is so important to have many voices speaking up for the LGBTIQA+ community, as no one person or group can represent the wonderful diversity under our rainbow.

Can people engage these workshops outside of Pride season also?

We sure hope that they do. Throughout the year CAWA creates tailored workshops for all kinds of industries and community groups to help them build their inclusive practice skills and we can deliver in-person or virtual workshops.

As a social enterprise we are focused on finding a way to resource training for any service, educator, organisation or community space who needs it. Often CAWA also partners with an LGBTIQ+ community group to donate part proceeds to help them do the vital work they do for our community. Every single workshop we do and resource that we sell also helps fund community suicide prevention projects.

CAWA can also provide policy and consultancy support and deliver Mental Health 101, Suicide First Aid, Self -Care and Burnout, Communication and whole host of other workshops.

You’re also running a FDV/IPV workshop – we know this is an issue where policy/training often overlooks LGBTQIA+ communities – what should people know about FDV/IPV?

Firstly, that everyone deserves the right to live free from violence and threats.

Secondly, that Family and Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence (FDV/IPV) IS experienced by LGBTIQA+ people.

Third, that FDV and IPV presents itself in unique ways within LGBTIQA+ contexts.

And lastly, that service providers need to do more to both understand the experiences of LGBTIQA+ FDV/IPV and to able to safely accommodate and support ALL people who experience violence in this way.

Who is this FDV/IPV training aimed towards?

This workshop is focused toward service providers, people working in mental health and suicide prevention, first responders, lawyers, crisis staff, people working in education and anyone whose job it may be to notice or respond to people experiencing FDV/IPV. There are only a few places remaining in this workshop but this is really the start of the conversations and the work to be done in this space. CAWA will be working heavily around LGBTIQA+ FDV and IPV in 2021 and pushing for real cultural and systemic changes, so if any individuals or organisations want to be part of this work, please reach out.

Where can people find support now, if needed?

If you need support for yourself or you are worried about someone else, talking about it is the first step.

You can contact QLife to talk to an LGBTIQA+ peer, 3pm-midnight (1880 187 524 or www.qlife.org)

You can contact 1800 RESPECT / 1800 737 732 to access information and resources about FDV & IPV.

You can find out more about LGBTIQA+ FDV/IPV at www.anothercloset.com.au

You can also contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Samaritans on 14 52 47

LGBTQI+ Family and Domestic Violence & Intimate Partner Violence Workshop will be held on Monday 16th November from 10am at The Platform Perth. Find more information here.

Foundations of Diversity and Inclusive Practice Workshop will be held online on Friday 20th November. More info here.


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