We know it can be tough to live as a person that identifies as same sex attracted or sex and gender diverse. BCHS offers a range of health and wellbeing services to support people from the LGBTIQ+ community.
What does LGBTIQ+ stand for?
LGBTIQ+ is the recognised term to collectively refer to people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex or queer.
It encompasses people who are same sex attracted or sex and gender diverse.
- Lesbian: a woman who is attracted to women.
- Gay: a man who is attracted to men (although lots of lesbian women use the term gay to describe their sexuality too).
- Bisexual: someone who is attracted to two different genders.
- Transgender: someone whose inner sense of gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth, e.g. a biological male who identifies as female.
- Intersex: a range of conditions where variations in a person’s hormones, chromosomes, internal or external reproductive organs (e.g. genitals) mean they do not completely fit with the categories of male or female (e.g. indeterminate sex).
- Queer: an umbrella term used by some people who may be same sex attracted or gender diverse.
How do you know if you are LGBTIQ+?
- You may be lesbian, gay or bisexual if you experience romantic or sexual attraction to people of the same gender as you.
- You may be asexual if you do not experience romantic or sexual attraction to anybody.
- You may be pansexual if you experience romantic or sexual attraction to people of all genders and sexualities.
- You may be transgender or gender diverse if you feel like your sex assigned at birth does not fit with your inner sense of gender identity.
- You may be intersex if you did not experience a typical puberty or if you are infertile – seek the advice of a GP if you are concerned. Most people know they have an intersex condition by the time puberty is underway.
How do I access counselling?
If you feel there are challenges in your life that you are struggling to deal with, it’s important to know you are not alone. Many people feel this way when faced with difficult situations or life pressures.
It’s important if you, a family member, friend or work colleague are feeling fragile, alone, stressed, conflicted, sad or vulnerable to seek help.
If you’re aged between 12 and 25 we can support you
headspace Bendigo has a dedicated same sex attracted, sex and gender diverse support worker.
The Health Equal Youth (HEY) Project worker engages at an individual, group and community level to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young LGBTIQ+ people in the region.
headspace Bendigo and the HEY Project achieve these aims by providing a safe space for young people to meet, socialise and gain peer support on a weekly basis, and by delivering education and health promotion to organisations, including schools and health services, to raise awareness of the impacts of discrimination and isolation on young LGBTIQ+ people.
Find our more about headspace Bendigo by clicking on the live link at the start of this section.
Are there support groups for young people from the LGBTIQ+ community?
Support groups can help you understand you’re not alone and there are other people going through similar things. They enable you to work through your issues with an empathetic group, share stories and solutions. Ultimately, support groups build a network to help you live your life.
headspace Bendigo runs a weekly diversity group for people aged 12 to 25.
The group is also open to friends and allies, aged 12 to 25.
Although primarily for LGBTIQ+ people, the group welcomes any young person who may not be comfortable in the main stream. The group provides a safe space where people can be themselves, meet others, have some fun and participate in community activities that celebrate diversity.
Do you have support groups for family or carers of gender diverse young people?
headspace Bendigo hosts a support group for parents and carers of transgender, gender diverse and gender questioning young people.
Many parents and carers can feel isolated and alone on their journey of understanding and supporting their child's gender identity.
This group provides a safe and confidential environment for you to meet other parents and carers, share experiences, hear from guest speakers and learn more about health, legal and social topics relevant to transgender and gender diverse young people and their families.
Sexual health and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Sexual health plays a big part in your overall health. Things can go wrong, we get it. So instead of waiting until things get worse, get checked now. Our service is free and confidential. We want you to be well and healthy so please don’t be shy.
If you have other health concerns
I need to talk to someone
I’m not coping, my family doesn’t understand and I need help. We can help talk it through and come up with strategies to help you with the situation. Sometimes all you need is an objective ear to listen and guide you. To make an appointment with us call 5434 4300 and ask to speak with an intake worker for generalist counselling.
If you are aged 12-25 call headspace Bendigo on 5434 5345.
We offer a full medical practice for all your GP needs at our Bendigo, Eaglehawk and Kangaroo Flat sites. Whether it’s related to being LGTBIQ or just general medical issues, we have GPs on staff that can help.
Phone 5434 4300 (Eaglehawk), 5448 1600 (Bendigo) or 5430 0500 (Kangaroo Flat) to book an appointment.
Alcohol, illicit and prescription drugs can cause problems in your life. It can feel like you need them to cope, but then they start taking over. We offer a range of services that can help you
- Help you give up drinking.
- Help you stop taking drugs.
- Take a harm minimisation approach if you want to continue using drugs.
- Help you stop smoking.
- Help you learn more about the health concerns around alcohol and drugs.
To access our Alcohol and Other Drugs services call our Kangaroo Flat site on 5430 0500.
I need more support, what other services are available?
QLife is a national counselling and referral service for people from the LGBTIQ+ community. QLife provides early intervention and peer support phone and web-based services for all ages.
Learn more about QLife
The Rainbow Network is a central information point for young same sex attracted, intersex, tarns and gender diverse young people. The network developed youth groups and partnerships between agencies and schools to empower young people to participate in activities, decision making and community development.
Learn more about the Rainbow Network
Safe Schools Coalitition Australia
Safe Schools Coalition Australia is a national network for groups working with schools to establish safe and inclusive environments for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, staff and families.
Learn more about the Safe Schools Coalition Australia
Transgender Victoria was founded to achieve justice, equity and quality health and service provision for trans and gender diverse people, their partners, families and friends.
Learn more about Transgender Victoria
Minus 18 provides mental health and peer mentoring support to same sex attracted and gender diverse young people.
Learn more about Minus 18
LGBTI National Health Alliance
The LGBTI National Health Alliance is Australia’s peak body for organisations and people that deliver health programs, services and research for the LGBTI community.
Learn more about the LGBTI National Health Alliance
Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria
Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria is a LGBTI health and wellbeing policy and resource unit committed to the quality of care offered to the community.
Learn more about the Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria
beyondblue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.
Learn more about beyondblue
Lifeline provides all Australians no matter their age with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Learn more about Lifeline
ReachOut is Australia's leading online mental health organisation for young people. ReachOut provides practical support for young people to get through everything from everyday issues to tough times.
Learn more about ReachOut
Where do I get support for my family member or friend that is LGTBIQ?
You may wonder if your child, family member or friend identifies as LGBTIQ+. It can be quite confusing and confronting as their support person. Here we offer some information that might help.
If you’re in doubt, or need some support get in touch with us on 5448 1600 or call headspace Bendigo if you are aged 12 to 25 on 5434 5345 to arrange a free and confidential session to discuss your concerns.
What issues is my loved one facing?
Confronting same-sex attracted or gender diverse identity issues can be challenging for your loved one and for you as their support person.
Some of the things they might be facing are
- Harassment or discrimination based on their sexual or gender identity.
- Lack of good/inclusive sexual health information.
- Feelings of fear and isolation.
- Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, self-harm or thoughts of taking their own life.
Being same-sex attracted or gender diverse on its own is not a cause of mental health issues.
If you have any concerns around issues please call us on 5448 1600 or call headspace Bendigo if you are aged 12 to 25 on 5434 5345 to arrange a free and confidential session to discuss your concerns.