This scoping research was an exploration of the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people, of the issues they encounter in relation to access to services in the region, and of best practice service provision to sexuality and gender diverse communities in Western Sydney. The research participants included LGBTQ+ community leaders and members as well as key service providers from relevant organisations in Western Sydney. This mixed method research included both quantitative and qualitative approaches: an online survey targeting LGBTQ+ community members living in Western Sydney, focus groups with LGBTQ+ community leaders in Western Sydney, and focus groups with key relevant service providers from organisations in Western Sydney.
The research found that LGBTQ+ people reported significantly higher levels of distress than the Australian population generally, particularly trans and gender diverse participants. The majority of participants reported witnessing racism, and participants from CALD backgrounds were significantly less likely to feel safe and included in their own homes. Access to welcoming, inclusive, culturally safe services in Western Sydney was a high priority for LGBTQ+ community members and leaders, with healthcare services of utmost importance. Service providers identified that many people and organisations do not have the knowledge, understanding and expertise to address the needs of LGBTQ+ community members, especially those with CALD, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identities. Lack of social connections and feelings of isolation were common experiences among members of diverse LGBTQ+ communities.
A range of recommendations are made to develop culturally aware health, social and community services for sexuality and gender diverse people, and to build the capacity of LGBTQ+ community groups in Western Sydney.