Nurses, midwives and students who identify as LGBTQIA+ may encounter stressors relating to their sexuality in the workplace. Being informed about the law and issues that affect LGBTQIA+ people can help to ensure that everyone feels safe and happy at work.

If you would like to chat to someone you can call our confidential support line 24/7 on 1800 667 877.
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LGBTQIA+ in the workplace

There are no statistics relating to the number of nurses, midwives and students who identify as LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual and other groups) in Australia. People who identify as LGBTQIA+ may experience homophobia, transphobia biphobia or other forms of discrimination from societal discourses and/or institutional beliefs and practices. The consequence of this may result in internalising feelings of shame, fear and guilt.

Policies and procedures in each workplace protect staff from discrimination. They include the values of the organisation, prevention of bullying and harassment and local Occupational Health and Safety policies and procedures. If you experience discrimination in your workplace as a result of your sexual orientation speak to your manager, or your human resource department.

Caring for the LGBTQIA+ population

As the health care needs of the LGBTQIA+ population become increasingly important, healthcare professionals require appropriate academic and clinical training in preparation for the increased demand for culturally competent care. This is relevant to nurses and midwives, as they are the core direct caregivers in many health care settings.

Understanding the law and LGBTQIA+

Legislation and policy

Following is a summary of international and federal legislation that relates to the protection and rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Australian states and territories also have various legislation and policies that support LBGTQIA+ health. Refer to your state or territory government website for legislation and policies that support LGBTQIA+ health.

Federal legislation

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act 1986

This Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against people because of their race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion (in employment only), national extraction or social origin, age, medical record, irrelevant criminal record (in employment only), impairment, marital status, mental, intellectual or psychiatric disability, nationality, physical disability, sexual preference (in employment only) and trade union activity (in employment only).

Commonwealth laws

The following Commonwealth laws have allowed for equal treatment for the LGBTIQ+ community:

  • Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws - Superannuation) Act 2008
  • Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws - General Law Reform) Act 2008
  • Fair Work Act 2009.
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia is the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals. They provide health-related programs, services and research focused on LGBTQIA+ people and other sexuality, gender, and bodily diverse people and communities.

They recognise that people’s genders, bodies, relationships, and sexualities affect their health and well-being in every domain of their life. For more information visit the LGBTIQ+ Health Australia knowledge hub.

What can I do next?

Why not use our service finder to find out about some of the services available to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Our service provides free and confidential support 24/7, to nurses, midwives and students Australia wide. If you would like to speak to someone call 1800 667 877, or you can request support via email.

If you would like to know a bit more about the service before getting in contact — take a look through accessing support.

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