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Sisters in the City PTY LTD provides support for LGBTQ+ individuals, peers and allies. As such, we are run by members of the community and are aimed at supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

Our position:

Sisters in the City PTY LTD recognises that “all humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights” (United Nations, 2012) and embraces diversity of expression of human gender, sexuality and relationship structures.

Sisters in the City PTY LTD recognises that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) people and their families are subject to significant pressures and discrimination based on prejudice towards their sexual and/or gender identity.

A national study of the LGBTIQ+ community found direct negative mental health impacts from discrimination, with almost 40% of respondents seeking therapy in the previous 12 months for anxiety, depression, family and relationship concerns (Leonard et al, 2012). The report recommended that underlying causes of discrimination be addressed.

Sisters in the City PTY LTD affirms:

·       Same-sex attraction (homosexuality) is not a mental disorder (APA, 2013); neither are gender-diverse or transgender identifications. Gender dysphoria pertains to the degree of distress caused by stigma, not to the transgender identity itself (APA, 2013);

·       Sisters in the City staff respect the rights of LGBTIQ+ people and their families to privacy, confidentiality, self-determination and autonomy;

·       Sisters in the City PTY LTD staff are aware of their personal values, beliefs and assumptions in relation to diverse clients; and respect diversity by not discriminating against clients based on their gender and/or sexual identity, either directly or indirectly;

·       Sisters in the City PTY LTD staff refer onward clients for whom they are not competent to provide a particular clinical service, and ensure that referrals are in the clients’ best interests and are made with informed consent;

·       Sisters in the City PTY LTD staff commit to eliminating the stigma and discrimination that has been historically directed toward LGBTIQ+ clients and their families; and

·       Sisters in the City PTY LTD staff support the dissemination of accurate information to clients about their sexual and gender identities.

Responsiveness to LGBTIQ+ clients who present with concerns about their sexual or gender identity, or members of their families, can be oriented around a contextualised approach to the client’s presentation, challenging negative stereotypes, supporting self-acceptance and where necessary, referral to ancillary supports (counsellors/psychologists).

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American Psychiatric Association (2013). (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Leonard, W., Pitts, M., Mitchell, A., Lyons, A., Smith, A., Patel, S., Couch, M. & Barrett, A. (2012). Private Lives 2: The second national survey of the health and wellbeing of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Australians. Monograph Series Number 86. Melbourne: The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University.

United Nations (2012). Born free and equal: Sexual orientation and gender identity in inter- nation human rights law. The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. Retrieved from Publications/BornFreeAndEqualLowRes.pdf

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