Local LGBTQIA+ Issues
The Commonwealth Department of Health estimate that 11% of the Australian population have a diverse sexual orientation, sex or gender identity. This means that in the City of Busselton (population 38,000+) there may be up to 3,500 LGBTQIA+ people (and more than one out of every ten tourists!) Many cities and town around Australia have taken active steps to recognise and include LGBTQIA+ people policy development, community engagement and social planning, with formal diversity policies and engagement procedures, but this is yet to occur in regional WA.
Sadly due to a range of factors, all people living in regional areas have higher rates of illness and death than those living in capital cities, and LGBTQIA+ people living in regional WA face additional unique factors in accessing health care and services, making social connections, and maintaining their well-being.
LGBTQIA+ people living in rural and regional areas are less likely to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity, due to fears of discrimination and privacy concerns.
Regional towns offers fewer services that have actively taken steps to education and train staff on issues relating to the LGBTQIA+ community.
Many LGBTQIA+ individuals rely on word of mouth of other LGBTQIA+ people for recommendations and feedback on whether venues and businesses are "safe" or not, and without being able to establish strong social connections between LGBTQIA+ people, many simply do not engage with businesses, services, community groups and health care.
A lack of access to specialised medical services, such as gender affirming care, leaves many LGBQTIA+ people with higher health care and travel costs, if they are able to access those services at all.