Rainbow Bridges: Stories from the LGBTQIA+ and CALD intersection



What is the Rainbow Bridges project?

headspace Glenroy is running the Rainbow Bridges Project; an LGBTIQA+ youth peer-led scoping project that seeks to identify the unique needs of CALD* LGBTIQA+** young people and their families in the Brimbank Area.

*CALD stands for "Culturally and Linguistically Diverse'' and is an umbrella term for racial, ethnic, and religious minorities in Australia who are migrants or descendants of migrants. (e.g. Thai, Vietnamese, Sudanese etc.)

**LGBTIQA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Gender Diverse, Intersex, Queer, Asexual, Questioning and other queer identifying community.

Why do we need this project?

  • The Moreland area has developed into one of the most culturally diverse areas of Australia, with 33.8% of its residents born overseas and over 82 different languages. Approximately 28% of the young people who attend headspace Sunshine identify as LGBTIQA+.
  • LGBTIQA+ young people have significantly higher levels of suicidality, depression and substance misuse. Despite the increased vulnerability of LGBTIQA+ young people to suffer poorer mental health and social outcomes, factors such as stigma, shame and embarrassment act as personal barriers to seeking and accessing mental health support.
  • LBGTIQA+ young people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse background experience additional stressors associated with race-based discrimination and significant conflict between their culture and their gender or sexuality.
  • There is a lack of understanding and resources for young LGBTIQIA+ CALD young people to accessing mental health services

What are the aims of the project?

  • Increase the inclusivity of our services and resources for CALD LGBTIQA+ young people and their friends and families. This will help CALD LGBTIQA+ young people build very important positive and supportive social and family connections that will act as a protective factor against suicide and mental ill-health.
  • Inform and shape community awareness strategies to help increase engagement of the most prevalent CALD communities within Moreland (e.g. Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese) and address the stigma that might prevent CALD LGBTIQA+ young people from seeking help and thus, not receiving support for their mental health challenges.
  • Enhance LGBTIQA+ youth participation through establishing a LGBTIQA+ youth leadership group that can exist beyond the life of the project, and which can continue to work alongside the centre staff to improve LGBTIQA+ young people’s safe and accessible access to care.

What will the project involve?

The Rainbow Bridges Leadership Group (RBLG)

The RBLG consists of 8 young community members from Brimbank, Wyndam and Moonee Valley areas who identify as LGBTIQA+. The RBLG will be the leads in co-design community consultation with CALD LGBTIQA+ young people to hear their stories and identify priority needs. Armed with these valuable community stories, the RBLG will co-design strategies, alongside representatives from the community awareness and clinical teams, to increase the relevance of community awareness activities, clinical practice and support for CALD LGBTQIA+ young people and their family. 

How can you help?

headspace Glenroy is seeking to hear your experience living as an LGBTIQIA+ young person from a culturally and linguistically diverse background. We appreciate that this is an incredibly nuanced and complex community to be a part of, and we want to better understand it! We hope that from your insight, we are better able to provide accessible and inclusive mental health services for our diverse community. 

Click here to register your interest. As a token of appreciation, you'll receive a gift card for your time in sharing your story. 

If you have any questions, please give Tamika a call or text (‘LGBTxCALD’) at 0423 926 203, or alternatively, email her at tamika.massey@orygen.org.au and she’ll be in touch!