Presentations

Please note: final presentations/presenters may change.

What have been the experiences of CALD LGBTIQ+ individuals living in remote QLD and NT

Mikhara Ramsing, Founder & Director, Ethnic LGBT+

Like much of the world, Australia and the Indo Pacific region is in the midst of cultural, gender and sexuality changes. In light of Australian marriage equality achieved for LGBT+ individuals in 2017, this paper explores the experiences intersectional LGBT+ individuals who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), and sexually and gender diverse. CALD or ethnically diverse individuals have often been left out of mainstream LGBT+ media, stories and support.

These individuals often remain marginalised in their communities, and their experiences remains a gap in the literature. The literature that does exist indicates that ethnic LGBT+ individuals face multiple marginalization, both from their own cultural communities and the wider LGBT+ community, and they face the compounded effects racism, sexism and homophobia.

Given this, this paper takes a practitioner’s experience of working with ethnic LGBT+ communities across urban and rural Australia, and six countries across the Indo-Pacific: India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore. It explores preliminary findings on the experiences of ethnic LGBT+ individuals who live both visibly and invisibly across their communities.

The paper outlines recommendations for service providers working with these communities as well as learnings from those who have ‘come out’ or ‘come home’ to their communities, and how they navigate the often competing demands of gender, sexuality, culture and religion.

>Identification of barriers that face culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) LGBTIQ individuals.
>Exposure to wider experiences of the LGBTIQ community
>Understanding the conflicting factors CALD LGBTIQ individuals face between sexual identity and cultural identity
>Understanding CALD LGBTIQ experiences in rural Australia
>Understanding CALD LGBTIQ experiences in the Indo-Pacific

Racism in LGBTIQA+ Communities and service providers

Caroline Ridler, Coordinator for Switchboard's QTIPoC project (QTIPoC stands for Queer and Trans Indigenous Peoples and/or People of Colour)

An indian queer woman of colour, Caroline will conduct a workshop or presentation about racism within LGBTIQ service providers, organising and communities. The discussion would first define what white supremacy, racism and settler colonialism is and provide case studies or examples of how it plays out in LGBTIQ communities. It will look to the history of LGBTIQ advocacy in this country and how it has attended to the needs of First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous people of colour.  This will look into the values and assumptions embedded within LGBTIQ advocacy and narratives: of coming out, of chosen family, of marriage equality, of sex positivity ect. And how this includes (or excludes) Indigenous and/or people of colour and people of faith. The next section will focus on anti-racist strategies for LGBTIQ organisations and communities for addressing this inequality. This would look into more formal frameworks like ‘Affirmative Action’ and Racial Literacy training but also personal and emotional strategies like empathetic listening, becoming mindful of the spaces we take up or the comfort/discomfort ect. we feel.  The last focus will be on strategies of survival and self-care for LGBTIQ people of colour and discuss what that could tangibly look like, for example- participating in qtpoc community support

The Emerging Groups of (Mobile) Queer Women from China in Australia

A/Prof Lucetta Y. L. Kam

 

Australia is one of the most popular destinations of work, study and emigration for queer women in China. My on-going research project is the queer mobility of women from China to Australia. The project was started in 2016. Major research site is Melbourne. Queer Chinese women in this project include those who are having temporary stay (e.g., for study, working holidays) or permanent residency in Australia. Queer women from China has gradually become a visible group in the local LGBTQI communities. In this presentation, I will offer a sketch of this emerging group of queer participants. In particular, on how sexuality and gender non-conformity have affected their decision of leaving China and later structure their life in Australia, and how the intersection of sexuality, gender, ethnicity and class works to define queer Chinese women’s mobility and immobility.

From LGBTIQ International Students to Asylum Seekers: The impact of Peer Navigation for People Living with HIV and Ineligible for Medicare in Queensland

Satrio Nindyo Istiko (Nickname: Tiko) - Queensland Positive People

Background: In Australia, people living with HIV (PLHIV) who have temporary visa have to face complex barriers to access HIV treatment and care. Through Queensland Positive People (QPP)’s Peer Navigation program, PLHIV who are ineligible for Medicare could receive one-on-one support from a trained peer to navigate these barriers.

Method: Following the best practice of using lived experience to improve outcomes across continuum of HIV care, QPP has been implementing Medicare Ineligible Peer Navigation (MI PN) program since 2016. Outcomes: During the pilot phase (2016-2017), there were 72 – 83 PLHIV ineligible for Medicare engaged with sexual health clinics and general practitioner practices in Queensland. From 2016 until 2018, 27 clients engaged with MI PN (19 gay men, 1 man who has sex with men (MSM), and 1 transgender). In regards to visa status, 15 of them were international students and five were asylum seekers.

Low migration literacy and difficult access to affordable medications were identified as the major barriers to treatment and care. Conclusion: Most of MI PN clients identified as LGBTIQ people of colour. The program itself has been successful in improving HIV literacy, access to treatment, and linkage to care for PLHIV who are ineligible for Medicare.

Your Story in Your Language

Roz Bellamy

This is a writing workshop for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

It will cover strategies and techniques for writing memoir and personal essays, and will examine the complexities of writing about identities when you belong to diverse communities or speak more than one language.

Presenter/s and affiliated organisation/s or community group/s – Roz Bellamy, PhD student and research assistant at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (La Trobe University)
Format – Workshop

Past, Present and Future (A Queer Muslim journey – 2004-2018)

Alyena Mohummadally, Siobhan Irving (Sydney Queer Muslims and academic), Budi Sudarto (AGMC Committee member and activist), Reem Sweid (Immediate Past President, Muslim Collective)

This workshop will begin with a brief introduction of the Queer Muslims in Australia, in major part due to the first AGMC conference in 2004, Alyena’s visibility and where QMs in Australia YahooGroup! is today.

Siobhan [SQM] will focus on the creation of SQM in 2017 and the strategies the group has adopted to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ Muslims in Sydney. Starting with a brief case study taken from Siobhan’s research that illustrates some of the challenges that are unique to LGBTQ+ Muslims, the presentation will then outline some of SQM’s capacities and current programs for helping LGBTQ+ Muslims overcome those challenges and flourish.

Reem (MC) will present the findings and recommendations from an intensive report on inclusion and LGBTI service provision that was undertaken in 2017.

Budi will share his experiences as an Indonesian Australian Muslim and his work in discussing intersectionality between race, ethnicity, religion and LGBTIQ identities. He will also share some personal narratives of navigating different social and personal spaces as a strategy to retain his faith and identities.
This workshop is a must for anyone interested in queer Muslim advocacy. It will trace the origins from 2004 till now with three groups and have a presenter share his lived experience as well. Discussion will take place with the presenters as to what has been achieved and what needs to be done to ensure that queer Muslim voices are accessible and (safely) visible.

Unpacking Whiteness in LGBTIQ Inclusivity: The Road to Intersectionality

Budi Sudarto, Vice President - Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council

LGBTI inclusive practice training focuses on enhancing individuals’ understanding of diverse sexuality, sex and gender identity to facilitate the creation of a welcoming and inclusive environment.

However, the intersectionality between race, ethnicity, and religion are often forgotten, or are only mentioned briefly as part of the training package. This can result in the erasure of intersectional identities, such as the experiences of multicultural and multifaith (MCMF) LGBTIQ individuals and communities.

Additionally, the presentation of identities and experiences that are mostly based on Anglo LGBTIQs are also problematic, as it inadvertently erases and marginalises the private and social lives of MCMF LGBTIQs. As such, MCMF LGBTIQs often feel that their identities and experiences are not well-understood, as organisations and service providers apply a standardised inclusive practice that does not cater for their unique lived experiences.

It is important for trainers, organisations and service providers to understand the influence of Whiteness and Anglo-centric narratives in LGBTIQ inclusive practice discourses as to not inadvertently erases intersectional identities. This is the first step towards creating a truly inclusive environment where MCMF LGBTIQs feel welcomed, respected, and included in the conversation instead of seen as the ‘victim’ that further marginalises their standing in the wider LGBTIQ communities.

The objective of the presentation is to start a dialogue about incorporating intersectional identities between race, ethnicity, religion and LGBTIQ identities in LGBTIQ inclusive training.

Brown and Black queers: Pushing back on the whiteness of multiculturalism

Bobuq Sayed - The drum youth service- drummond street- queerspace

Young LGBTIQA+ people today do not identify as multicultural, opting instead for umbrella terms like black, brown, POC and/or indigenous that accurately reflect the marginalised and racially charged reality of growing up in occupied Australia today. In an increasingly policed surveillance state that regularly inflicts violence on minoritised communities, this language reflects the turbulent relationship that many black and brown QTPOC have with the law, the prison industrial complex, their own mental health and media misrepresentation. Many services for queer and trans people of colour (QTPOC) imbue their approach with a paternalism inherited from the colonial white saviour complex and this pattern continues whenever lived experience and structures of oppression are not prioritised.

Join panellists Bexx Djentuh-Davis (she/her), Ruby Cameron (they/them) and moderator Bobuq Sayed (they/them) from Drummond Street Services as they interrogate the toxic whiteness of the NGO sector and being spoken over and not with. They will discuss the role of the youth peer leader model in practising the BY US FOR US movement and, through conversation, they aim to unpack the dangers of behaving as though all intersections are created equal. How do we foster an ethical solidarity between racial groups built on the strength of our difference?

Zine making workshop for QTIPOC Youth

Azja Kulpińska - Co-founder of Wild Tongue zine

Zines, small, self-published, photocopiable bodies of work, grew out of DIY punk culture as a way to discuss topics that were denied platform in mainstream publishing.
Zines remain an important medium for many communities and individuals interested in challenging the status quo. Get creative in this hands-on workshop and leave with your own photocopiable publication.

Rainbow Connection and multiple identities

Piergiorgio (Pier) Moro - Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health

LGBTIQ people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds face complex issues of intersectionality between homophobia and racism. Not only do they may experience discrimination based on their sexuality/gender, but they may also experience additional discrimination based on their cultural background.

The Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health (CEH) initiated a web based project, known as Rainbow Connection, to work directly with a number of LGBTIQ young people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. These young people, recruited as Youth Ambassadors, then worked collaboratively to share their experiences relating to sexual and mental health, and navigating multiple identities.

The presentation will showcase their work via the webpage that has been created to host their multimedia contributions.

The Rainbow Connection project is now into its second phase as it seeks to increase its reach and include more contributions from LGBTIQ young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

NDIS Q&A: What can the LGBTIQA Community learn about NDIS?

Jillian Paull (Manager) of the NDIA LGBTIQA Draft Strategy

Jenine Ellis (Director) from CoAbility

Jake Lewis (Disability Officer) Thorne Harbour Health

The panel would explore what possible services are available for people with disability  who are eligible for NDIA and identify themselves as part of the LGBTIQA Community.

On the panel is a Jillian Paull (Manager) of the NDIA LGBTIQA Draft Strategy; Jenine Ellis (Director) from CoAbility which is a NDIS registered provider of Support Co-ordination who have already worked with people with disabilities who have identified LGBTIQA community support connects as part of their NDIA pathway plans (She will give examples of what has happened already); and Jake Lewis (Disability Officer) Thorne Harbour Health to talk about what they are working on in the LGBTIQA community re supporting people with disability

A stance of ‘not knowing’

Dr Kate Foord & Talha Iqbal

Language is powerful: it has the capacity to invite engagement or to silence voices. This power is evident in the relation of mainstream to LGBTIQ communities, but it is also evident within our communities. Within the LGBTIQ+ landscape we find a deep desire to have our identities affirmed and to hear language from others that supports us in our identities.

One of the effects of this is affirmation, and this is experienced as positive and powerful. In this paper, we would also like to open up some of its other effects, such as the way identities are often taken up as ‘truths’ of queer personhood: and how this can work against understanding and expression. Language to express gender and sexual identity is evolving and differs across generations, genders, cultures, faiths, identities. This presentation aims to explore some of the effects of this diversity, and some of the ways in which the richness of that diversity can be released from some of the constraints we are currently hearing in queer communities.

1.Cultivating an understanding of inclusion and the impact it can have on the level of engagement.

2.Focus on the othering effect of language when it is imposed by institutions/individuals in power.

QTPOC and Culturally Diverse Queers: Who Are We Anyway?

Kochava Lilit, Queer and disability rights activist and head of the transgender advocacy organisation Ygender.

Defining who is part of our communities is a contentious question for both queer/LGBTIQA+ and CALD/POC communities. Looking at queer disabled people and queer Jews as key examples this workshop will cover how different community organisations, activists, and grassroots collectives have defined our communities and how that shapes the issues they’re able to address. In a country where Christianity is considered the norm and our understanding of racial justice is heavily influenced by American-centric discourse queer Jews are frequently left out of the dominant narratives in both mainstream society and queer and racial justice spaces. As an ethno-religion with complex relations to race and faith it can be difficult for Jews to find progressive spaces that understand where we fit.

The most recognisable symbols of queer culture are typically based on non-disabled people. Queer disabled people often express our queerness differently either because we have access to different things or because disabled communities have a culture of their own. Queer disabled people are so often erased that even those who do use the same language and symbols as non-disabled queer people often find their queerness ignored and are assumed to be straight and cis.

This workshop uses these examples to talk about how activism and community support can adjust to better address groups that are poorly understood and don’t easily fit in the dominant narratives.

1. Understanding how different communities and groups create their own narratives and frameworks

2. Understanding how dominant narratives in queer and racial justice spaces have excluded queer Jews and disabled queer people

3. To learn about practical ways to make spaces more inclusive for people who don’t fit the dominant frameworks in these spaces

A range of mutlicultural rainbow family members

Felicity Marlowe, Rainbow Families Victoria

In contemporary Australia, rainbow families are everywhere. Within our multicultural LGBTIQ, gender diverse or non-binary communities many of us are parents or carers, while some of us are considering creating our own families in the future.

Having children always brings a great deal excitement and a myriad of new challenges to our intimate relationships. And alongside the impact on our own lives and relationships, a new baby often creates new relationships, growth or challenges with our extended families and more broadly, with our cultural and faith communities too.

Come along to this workshop to hear from rainbow family members about what happens when you bring a baby into your world – the unexpected, the amazing, the wonderful and the challenging experiences of parenting within our multicultural families and communities. ;The presentation will include a mix of short videos, recorded stories and story tellers who will share their lived experience with the audience.

Proudly curated by Rainbow Families Victoria in collaboration with Family Matters (Joy949).

The National LGBTI Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Strategy: Including Culturally and linguistically diverse people in strategy implementation ACTION PLANS

Charlie Willbridge and Sally Morris, The National LGBTI Health Alliance

The National LGBTI Health Alliance released the National LGBTI Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Strategy in 2017, and are moving onto the next phase of developing a strategic action plan to support the implementation of this strategy. It is important for the Alliance to ensure that our work is reflective of the diversity of LGBTI people and communities, and is inclusive of cultural diversity. ;;The purpose of this workshop is to facilitate a process of engagement with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who are LGBTI or have diverse bodies, genders and sexualities. Participants will be introduced to the Strategy, and the process taken since the launch. Participants will then be invited to engage in activities that will contribute to the development of these strategy implementation action plans to ensure that they are culturally appropriate and will meet the needs of Culturally and linguistically diverse LGBTI people and communities.

Discrimination: intersectionality, knowing your rights, and creating equality

Aimee Cooper, Victoria Legal Aid

Aimee Cooper is the Deputy Managing Lawyer of the Equality Law Program at Victoria Legal Aid and is also a community member of the LGBTI Taskforce Justice Working Group and a board member at Minus18, Australia’s largest youth led LGBTI organisation.

What protections do you have from discrimination as a member of the LGBTIQ communities, multicultural/multifaith background communities, or as someone living with a disability? How can the law help you to protect your rights and to help make things better for other people? What happens when there is a tension between religious freedom and LGBTIQ+ rights?

This session looks at the scope of protections provided by discrimination law, how competing rights are balanced, and how discrimination law can be used to help create equality. Attendees should leave with a basic understanding ofThe scope of the protection provided by discrimination law for members of the LGBTIQ+ communities including people from multicultural/multifaith backgrounds and people living with a disability. The remedies available under discrimination law and how it can be used to create equality.Where to get help for a discrimination problem.

Living and Loving as an Intersex Person - a life experience

Cr Tony Briffa JP, Executive Director - Intersex Human Rights Australia & Vice-President - AIS Support Group Australia

Cr Tony Briffa is the world’s first openly intersex person elected to public office. Tony has been elected to the Hobsons Bay City Council in Melbourne’s west three times (2008, 2012 and 2016), and was also elected Mayor (2011) and Deputy Mayor (2009, 2010 and 2017).

Tony is one of the world’s first intersex human rights activists and is currently an Executive Director of Intersex Human Rights Australia and the Vice President of the AIS Support Group Australia; the two leading intersex organisations in Australia.

Tony was one of the participants of the Third International Intersex Forum the resulted in the Malta Declaration, and one of the authors of the Darlington Statement. They have been a member of Victorian Government Advisory Committees for GLBTI issues since 2000.;;Tony is also Maltese and a proud member of the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council.

They will be speaking today about their lived experience as an intersex person which included inappropriate and unnecessary medical intervention by doctors at the Royal Children’s Hospital when she was a child. The abuse included having healthy testes removed as a young child, being subjected to hormone treatment from the age of 11 without her consent, and being lied to about her variation.

Incredibly this treatment regime still continues on young intersex children at the Royal Children’s Hospital today. Cr Tony Briffa is the world’s first openly intersex person elected to public office.

HIV and STI health promotion beyond ‘gaybourhood’

Limin Mao, Priyadi Prihaswan, Evelyn Lee - Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW Sydney; HIV and Related Programs (HARP) Unit, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District

The three speakers will first cover an overview of sexual health promotion among international students in universities in Australia and highlight the importance of integrating sexual health wellbeing into physical, mental wellbeing and academic achievement. Then, we will provide some empirical data from our project among gay Asian men to illustrate changes in health service engagement over the time and different service models (sexual health clinics, peer-led community-based services, GPs) in terms of service utilisation. Furthermore, Australian-born gay men who are more community attached and sexually active will be used as a comparison group to further illustrate how service should be made flexible and adaptive to cater for diversity as well as commonality. Following that, we will use some hands-on experience from service provision point of view to demonstrate who peer education models can be set up for same-sex attracted international students to gain better information and access to the expansion of emerging HIV prevention medications and behavioural strategies. The final part will be an open discussion of facilitators and challenges in working and doing research in this space.

Objectives: to explore ground-level up approaches to promote sexual health among populations that are often regarded as ‘hard to reach’ such as gay Asian migrants and international students.

Learning outcomes:to strength and build networks of people who are interested in exploring innovative approaches to improve the efficiency and broader buy-in of sexual health promotion in diverse (gender, sexuality, culture) populations.

Talking LGBTIQ+ with Interpreters

Gianna Parma, True Relationships and Reproductive Health

Gianna is a facilitator who works at True Relationships and Reproductive Health in Culturally Responsive Health on projects that centre migrant and refugee reproductive and sexual health. From working in refugee and migrant settlement as well as LGBTIQ+ services, Gianna is seeking to create and strengthen understandings and connections between these two areas.

True’s Culturally Responsive Health project delivers migrant and refugee reproductive and sexual health training to clinicians, community workers, and interpreters in Queensland.  One year into a fresh approach to interpreter and translator training, True is opening a national discussion on best practice approaches to enabling accurate, ethical and informed interpreting.

This presentation will summarise the experience, opportunities and challenges of delivering LGBTIQ+ education to interpreters and translators working in reproductive and sexual health settings. What are the challenges Interpreters face in practice? What ethics and values are talked about? What are Interpreter successes and advice for other interpreters and health workers?

This presentation will ask for engagement from participants, in whatever way is appropriate and comfortable for them, to share challenges and achievements in working with interpreters (or as interpreters) in communicating around LGBTIQ+ health.

This feedback will build on a list of recommendations to help new interpreters to be more reflective of LGBTIQ+ bodies, genders, sexualities, cultures, and identities.

This list of recommendations will be provided to all participants.

– Gain a basic understanding of the challenges and opportunities interpreters may face in interpreting LGBTIQ+ topics.

– Contribute to recommendations for interpreters to be reflective of LGBTIQ+ bodies, genders, sexualities, cultures, and identities.

Sydney's first gay Mardi Gras: Dispelling the myths

Joseph Carmel Chetcuti, Author, Barrister & Solicitor

Joseph will tackle two questions—first, what is his interest in historiography, and, secondly, what induced him to write Sydney’s first gay Mardi Gras: What brought it on and how it changed us! Both questions form an interesting line of inquiry that should be put to all historians. Full disclosure of a historian’s personal background empowers readers to identify what factors (and biases) might have left their mark on the writing of history.

The time has come for us to see Sydney’s first gay Mardi Gras for the event that it was, not for the event that ‘we’ want it to be. The ‘he said, she said’ approach to the story of Sydney’s first gay Mardi Gras must now make room for systematic inquiries that are based on verifiable evidentiary trails. The time to end the ideologically-driven narratives of Sydney’s first gay Mardi Gras is now!

Speed Date A Religious Zealot

Carey Rohrlach, Glen Eira Interfaith Network

Drawn from a range of religious traditions.  The Network was formed in early 2011 with representation from many faith groups.

Is it religion or ignorance that causes the Suffering? Share a round-table conversation with a person of different faith and ask any question you’ve always wanted to ask in a spirit of fun, truth, honesty, fabulousness and reconciliation. A short date, then its time to move on, that’s the zeal!

Often migrants come with a religious background and have all sorts of positive and negative experiences. Upon arrival, religion might be the last point of call due to historical experience or entrenched prejudice. As a new arrival, it is difficult to make and sustain meaningful friendships and relationships.This is an opportunity for audience members to sit informally together with people of different religious traditions all working, living and loving in Victoria.

Datees ask any/all the questions they always wanted to ask but never had the opportunity. Reducing the perception of ignorance, prejudice and aloneness between individuals, practitioners and traditions present in modern day Australia.

Policing and Diverse Community Groups: An Intersectional Approach

Jennifer Dixon, LGBTI Portfolio Manager, Victoria Police - Sharon Paten, Aboriginal Portfolio Manager, Victoria Police - Dr David Broderick, Youth Portfolio Manager, Victoria Police - Dahni Houseman, Seniors Portfolio Manager, Victoria Police - Rebecca Halpin, Mental Health Portfolio Manager, Victoria Police - Anthony Abate, Multicultural Portfolio Manager, Victoria Police - Aimee Griffin, Human Rights Portfolio Manager, Victoria Police - Michelle Wareham, Disability Portfolio Manager, Victoria Police

•LGBTI, Seniors, Multicultural, Disability, Mental Health, Aboriginal, Human Rights and Youth Portfolio Managers (PMs) will sit on the panel alongside Leading Senior Constable Gabrielle Tyacke – Senior Constable Bec Lawther will convene/facilitate the discussion

•PMs will each address how their respective communities/portfolios intersect with the LGBTI space – specifically in terms of cross-collaborative initiatives and discussion for further engagement

•Gabrielle to contextualise how an intersectional approach to proactive policing with GLLOs can assist Victoria Police build trust with the LGBTI community.Importantly, we would want the audience to know a little more about our division and the work we do closely with our priority communities, such as

•The Victoria Police Priority Communities Division meets with peak bodies and community stakeholder organisations on a quarterly basis through formal ‘Portfolio Reference Groups’

Sexual Lives & Respectful Relationships for LGBTIQ people with intellectual disability

Amie O'Shea & Sarina Radizik

 

This presentation will discuss what is known about the lived experiences of LGBTIQ people with intellectual disability, with a focus on those from culturally and linguistic diverse backgrounds. Drawing on narratives collected in research, and reflecting on our experiences in a program for LGBTIQ people with intellectual disability, we will consider the issues people face and suggest strategies to respond. Participants will be able to reflect on what LGBTIQ people with intellectual disability from culturally and linguistic diverse backgrounds have to say about their experiences in sexuality and relationships.Participants will understand how a rights framework and a focus on lived experience can unpack the intersections of disability, gender, sexuality and race/ethnicity.

Moving Past Sexuality: A Multi-dimensional Understanding of Gay Men’s Affiliations and Identities

Shiva Chandra, The University of Sydney / FOBGAYS+

Sociological studies of gay men and lesbians have relied upon a sexualised understanding of their relationships and identities. The concepts ‘gay community’ and ‘families of choice’ have been predominant frameworks in doing so. Gay community sought to theorise development in the 1970’s of an urban gay population and the networks which constituted it. Conversely, families of choice emerged as a critique of this framework. Gay community was thought to create a homogenous understanding of gay men and lesbians, which postulated that sexuality was the basis of belonging. On the other hand, families of choice sought to conceptualise emerging family-based discourse used to think about and construct gay people’s affiliations. However, by centralising sexuality in the construction of chosen family, families of choice reproduced the very emphasis upon sexuality which it sought to critique. As a result, it is argued that the concept of personal communities provides a more robust framework for understanding the complexity of relationships and identifications that make up gay men’s lives. In doing so, it will draw upon interviews with gay men of South Asian descent, in Sydney, Australia             This presentation will help conference delegates to understand the complex nature of gay men’s relationships and identities. It will demonstrate that reducing gay men to their sexuality can be a disservice to the lives they lead and their personhood more broadly. By developing a more intricate picture of who gay men are, delegates should be able to think about different spaces in gay men’s lives where positive changes can be made. For example, the study which this presentation draws upon shows that biological family is of outmost importance to gay men of South Asian descent. This suggests that helping foster such relationships within gay men’s lives can be important to their well-being, as their sexuality is one aspect of their life along with many others.

More to come! Check back here as we will routinely update all the way up to conference time.