LGBTI

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans/gender diverse and intersex (LGBTI) carers may be looking after their partners, friends, biological family or family of choice.

Carers in the LGBTI community can face particular challenges in their caring roles because of invisibility, discrimination or exclusion. Carers NSW recognises that every caring situation is unique and supports all carers regardless of age, culture, sexuality or gender.

The caring role can be challenging for all carers, but it might be particularly challenging for LGBTI carers because of:

  • Experiences of discrimination and fear of discrimination in the community, including from family, friends and peers, employers or other carers
  • Fear of exposure or judgemental attitudes from service providers
  • Lack of traditional supports through loss of contact with family/culture
  • Lack of social and legal recognition of relationships and ‘family of choice’
  • Invisibility in caring situations can lead to isolation and exclusion from decision making (unable to advocate for the person they care for)
  • Inability to maintain intimate relationships or to ‘be themselves’ in care situations
  • Judgemental attitudes from service providers or other service users

LGBTI friendly

Disability and illness don’t discriminate.

Neither do we.

Carers should be able to access services without fear of discrimination, contact the Carer Line on 1800 242 636 to discuss referrals to LGBTI friendly services.

Practical support

Carers NSW Carer Line is available on 1800 242 636 (Monday-Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm). Experienced Carer Support Officers offer information, advice and referrals.

Carer Gateway is a national online and phone service with information and resources for carers. The online service finder helps carers connect to local support services. The Gateway is available from 8.00am-6.00pm on 1800 422 737 or by visiting www.carergateway.gov.au

Respite gives carers a break from their caring role, and it can be delivered in many different ways. For information on respite in your local area contact the Carer Line on 1800 242 636.

Emotional support

Support from your social network is important when you are a carer, but it can be hard to stay connected. You might like to get some extra support by talking to someone about your caring role.

Carers NSW offers a range of counselling options across the state through the National Carer Counselling Program:

  • Individual counselling is available for a small donation (no carer will be refused due to an inability to pay). Counsellors who work within the LGBTI community are available for up to six face-to-face, phone or video sessions.
  • Therapeutic groups meet face-to-face or over the phone (Talk-Link) and run for 6-8 weeks. We run general wellbeing groups, and more specific groups for different kinds of carers.

Carer support groups exist across NSW. We can help find the right group for you.

Legal considerations

Knowing your rights as a carer is important. If you are unsure of your rights, seek legal advice.

Discrimination because of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status is unlawful under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984. This applies to employment, education, accommodation and a range of services you or the person you care for might use. It also applies to aged care services which are funded by the Government, including faith-based organisations.

Enduring Guardianship and Power of Attorney recognise a person, or persons, who can make important decisions on the behalf of someone who has reduced capacity. Visit www.planningaheadtools.com.au for more information.

Same sex couples are recognised as de facto couples and have the same rights as heterosexual couples in NSW.

Same sex partners can be recognised as the ‘person responsible’ if a patient does not have capacity to consent to medical treatment under the Guardianship Act 1987.

Finances and work

Taking leave and flexible work can help carers balance paid work with caring responsibilities. Employees (excluding casual employees) are entitled to Carers Leave and carers who have worked with their employer for at least one year also have the right to request flexible working arrangements. Visit our work and finance page for more information.

Workplace discrimination is unlawful under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, which protects carers if they have been unfairly treated or harassed at work because of their caring role. For more information contact the Anti-Discrimination Board on 02 9268 5544 or 1800 670 812 (Regional).

Income support is provided by the Federal government to eligible carers who provide daily care. Contact Centrelink’s Carer Line on 132 717 to discuss Carer Payment and/or Allowance.

Pride in Diversity

Staff members at Carers NSW receive Pride in Diversity training. If you experience discrimination from any employee at Carers NSW, you can make a formal complaint online or by calling at 02 9280 4744.

Useful services

ACON | www.acon.org.au | 1800 063 060
LGBTI health and support for people living with HIV.

LOVE Project at ACON | www.loveproject.org.au
Living Older Visibly and Engaged

QLife | www.qlife.org.au | 1800 184 527
Telephone and online counselling for LGBTI people.

Twenty 10 | www.twenty10.org.au | 02 8594 9555, 1800 652 010 
Supports people of diverse genders, sexualities and sexes, their families and communities.

Inner City Legal Centre | www.iclc.org.au | 1800 244 481
Legal advice for LGBTI people in the inner city and across NSW.

OII Intersex Australia | www.oii.org.au
Represents and supports people with intersex variations or traits.

The Gender Centre | www.gendercentre.org.au | 02 9569 2366 or 1800 069 115
Supports and advocates for transgender and gender questioning people.  

Literature on LGBTI carers

An extra degree of difficulty: An evidence based resource exploring the experiences and needs of older LGBTI carers and the carers of older LGBTI people (Barrett & Crameri; Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, 2016)

Private Lives 2: The second national survey of the health and wellbeing of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Australians (Leonard et al. 2012)

Survey of the Health and Wellbeing of LGBTI Older People in NSW 2013-14 (Hughes & Kentlyn 2014)

Older LGBT people’s care networks and communities of practice (Hughes & Kentlyn 2011)

Experiences of Sexual and Gender Minorities Caring for Adults with Non-Aids-related Chronic Illnesses (Washington et. al. 2015)

Caregiving and Care Receiving Among Older Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults (Grossman et. al. 2007)

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Carers NSW acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land, Elders past and present and all Aboriginal people.