In Australia, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) community unfortunately remain as one of the most socially and systemically discriminated against communities. Still facing issues such as negative stigmas, bullying, political targeting, human rights gaps, public misrepresentation and miseducation, workplace harassment as well as social and familial isolation.
As a result, many LGBTQIA+ people experience complicated, stressful and incredibly traumatic situations that result purely from them attempting to live their lives authentically. As a result, there is an overwhelming need for support services that specifically address and assist LGBTQIA+ people, one of which being the LGBTI Legal Service, a recent recipient of Brisbane Airport’s Community Giving Fund.
The LGBTI Legal Service is a non-for-profit community legal service that was launched in 2010. The Service recognises the specific difficulties faced by the LGBTQIA+ community and strives to provide justice with free access to legal education and advice, as well as social work support for all LGBTQIA+ Queenslanders.
Why the LGBTI Legal Service do what they do.
Many people in society face complex life circumstances including poverty, housing insecurity, disability including mental health vulnerabilities, violence and discrimination. For LGBTQIA+ people, these challenges are often compounded due to their sexuality and/or gender identity, and result in greater barriers and the need for safe access to support.
While there are many a dark and sad story, there are always rays of light that reach out to offer safety, love and support to the LGBTQIA+ community, one of which being the LGBTI Legal Service. This group of majority volunteers work to help provide advice on several legal matters that uniquely effect LGBTQIA+ people, as well as matters that effect LGBTQIA+ people in different ways. They provide support in areas relating to family law, domestic violence, criminal law, discrimination and human rights, employment, gender identity, surrogacy and parenting rights, administrative law and general civil law.
The work that the LGBTI Legal Service do is invaluable to the Queensland LGBTQIA+ community. Navigating the legal system is complex and stressful enough, without first having to overcome the fear of being treated differently due to your sexuality and/or gender identity. Many LGBTQIA+ people have experienced trauma and discrimination throughout their lives, including when attempting to access mainstream support services.
Thus the need for services such as the LGBTI Legal Services, to provide a safe and understanding space where LGBTQIA+ can access legal advice like any other person, without needing to consider how their sexuality or gender identity will be perceived or judged. The Service’s team of lawyers, social workers and support staff are all there to embrace LGBTQIA+ individuals, with considerable empathy and understanding of their unique situations, all while providing helpful legal advice and support.
Community Giving Fund Grant
Being a recipient of Brisbane Airport’s Community Giving Funds, the LGBTI Legal Service has been able to move forward with a project to fill a gap in LGBTQIA+ specific resources. With the plan to design, print and distribute highly informative educational material to partner organisations, Brisbane community hubs and services.
Along with these resources, the Service is also putting together comprehensive documents that detail how a person can legally change their name. The changing of ones name is often an important process for many transgender and gender-non-confirming people, as it is a very personal step in affirming their gender and overall identity. Name changes are also something done by some gay, lesbian or bisexual people who have experienced family trauma.
The LGBTI Legal Service provide a number of social and legal resources for LGBTQIA+ people, as well as ally's and those wishing to learn more:
- LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Language Guide
- Trans @ School
- Contact the LGBTI Legal Service
- More resources at lgbtilegalservice.org.au/resources
How can I help?
The LGBTI Legal Service is always working to provide support and resources to LGBTQIA+ Queenslanders, with additional donations going straight back into supporting the community, and by extension the greater Australian community. If you are interested in assisting the LGBTI Legal Service, there are number of things you can do to help:
- Donate directly to the LGBTI Legal Service: https://lgbtilegalservice.org.au/support-us/
- Become a Member: https://lgbtilegalservice.org.au/support-us/
- Volunteer! You don’t need to be a lawyer or social worker to assist, any help is appreciated.