Category : Pride in Health + Wellbeing

New benchmarking tool to assess LGBTI inclusion amongst health and wellbeing providers launches

A new benchmarking tool launched by leading LGBTI inclusion initiative, Pride Inclusion Programs, now provides health and wellbeing organisations the opportunity to assess, measure and improve their practices to better include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in their services.

The Health + Wellbeing Equality Index is Australia’s first instrument to annually benchmark LGBTI inclusive service provision amongst organisations in the health, human services and wellbeing sectors. The index is administered by Pride in Health + Wellbeing, a national program that provides support, training and guidance in LGBTI inclusive service delivery. Pride in Health + Wellbeing is part of Pride Inclusion Programs, a suite of social inclusion initiatives delivered by Australia’s leading LGBTI health organisation, ACON.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the Health + Wellbeing Equality Index will be an important resource for health and wellbeing service providers across Australia.

“With significant health disparities between LGBTI and non-LGBTI people and issues many LGBTI people experience in accessing important and critical health services such as perceived or previously experienced stigma, discrimination, harassment or refusal of service, this index is an instrumental tool for service providers as they seek to be more inclusive of all Australians,” Mr Parkhill said.

“We are proud to announce the launch of this index, which builds on ACON’s decades-long experience in LGBTI health and wellbeing. This instrument, in addition to our Pride in Health + Wellbeing support program, will provide a much-needed resource for those seeking to ensure full inclusivity of LGBTI people within the services and programs that they offer and will assist providers in working towards the Rainbow Tick accreditation if that is their ultimate goal,” Mr Parkhill said.

Participation will give service providers clear guidelines on getting started or on progressing their work in LGBTI inclusive service provision, as well as an opportunity to survey both staff and service users regardless of how they identify going forward.

The Health + Wellbeing Equality Index builds on from Pride Inclusion Programs’ benchmarking instruments, the Pride in Sport Index and the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI).

Dawn Hough, Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs, said just as the AWEI has been instrumental in shifting practices in LGBTI inclusion in workplaces across Australia, the Health + Wellbeing Equality Index will be critical in improving health and wellbeing service provision.

“The feedback provided as a result of participation will allow health and wellbeing providers to not only focus their inclusion work in areas of good practice, but also determine annually what they need to do to improve,” Ms Hough said.

“As index participation grows, the benchmarking data will provide a valuable reference in terms of current best practice as well as both qualitative and quantitative data to show improvements in their service provision.”

Participants to the index do not need to be a member of the Pride in Health + Wellbeing support program to take part. Submissions can be made online and close Friday 8 March 5pm.

“In my twenties I was told I shouldn’t come out or my career would go nowhere”: Michael Ebeid

“Too many young people hide their sexual orientation at work, and I think that’s quite sad.”

After more than seven years at the helm of SBS, openly gay chief executive Michael Ebeid has called it quits.

During his time at the broadcasting service he has helped transform the culture by championing LGBTI inclusion and bringing in more diverse programming — including Deep Water, which focused on Sydney’s beat murders, as well as growing coverage of Mardi Gras and queer stories.

He admits that it “feels awful” to leave a job and company he truly believes in, but is excited about his new chapter with Telstra.

“We’ve supported Australians understanding each other better because of our diversity,” he says, “and that’s what I’m really proud of.”

When it comes to being a visible role model for LGBTI people entering the workforce, Ebeid says it’s been wonderful, and something he could never have imagined growing up.

As a 20-something gay man entering the workforce, he had people tell him he shouldn’t come out or else his career would go nowhere.

“I think it’s fair to say attitudes have really changed,” he says.

“All you’ve got to do is prove to your employer that you’re capable of the job, and that has to override any personal factors.

“I certainly didn’t have that when I was 20 — it’s important to show that your sexuality is one part of you, it doesn’t have to define who you are.”

Outside of SBS, Ebeid regularly talks on panels and attends events surrounding workplace diversity and inclusion.

More recently, he was announced one of the inaugural patrons of Pride in Health+Wellbeing, a landmark LGBTI inclusion initiative by ACON that provides support to organisations in the health sector in delivering LGBTI inclusive services.

He says young LGBTI people often approach him at events and tell him what it means to them to see Ebeid as an openly gay and visible executive.

“I do mentor a couple of young people in their careers and have done so for 20 years or so, which I find incredibly rewarding,” he says.

“I learn a lot from understanding what young people are going through nowadays, because in some ways it’s very different to the issues I faced.

“Too many young people hide their sexual orientation at work, and I think that’s quite sad.”

Ebeid hopes that through his time at SBS, as well as any of his future chapters, he can help to inspire and educate employers and employees alike across Australia when it comes to the importance of workplace inclusion.

He says when he was able to bring his full self to work and not worry what others thought, his career blossomed.

“For anybody who’s in the closet, know it takes a lot of energy to constantly lie or cover up your real self, and once you can redirect that energy into more creative or innovative things, life gets much better,” he says.

“Young people starting off in their careers should have confidence in themselves and really believe in themselves, because self-confidence goes a long way.

“I would also advise people to think about the organisations they’re wanting to join and to ask what kinds of LGBTI policies they have.

“It’s important to work for an organisation you feel aligned with as opposed to going somewhere were your personal values aren’t validated… life is short and we should enjoy where we go every day.”

Michael Ebeid will be appearing at the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council’s (AGMC) upcoming ‘Living and Loving in Diversity’ Conference later this month in Melbourne, which will focus on the issues faced by queer, trans, and intersex people of colour.

[Star Observer, 3 Sept 2018]