As this edition of the Devil’s Advocate goes to press, FCVic is preparing to run, for the first time, a Professional Development session focused on how financial counsellors can work effectively to support clients who are part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Gender Diverse, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ+) community.
The session on 3 May aims to build the understanding of financial counsellors about the social and cultural context of clients from the LGBTIQ+ community, the importance of sensitivity about language used and assumptions made about people, and how to be inclusive in their practice through better understanding the needs and vulnerabilities of people who are members of the LGBTIQ+ community. Members can click here to register for this training.
We have been thrilled to work with FCVic members who work with and/or are part of the LGBTIQ+ community, along with Rainbow Health Australia, to prepare this session. Creation of this PD is just one part of a broader focus on improving how our sector can improve our inclusive practise and better serve diverse communities. This is complemented by the recent Rainbow Health Australia training that FCVic staff all undertook in February – ‘Introduction to LGBTIQ-Inclusive Practice’ – the result of which is us now looking at all our systems and practices to ensure they are welcoming and inclusive. You can click here to read FCVic staff reflections on this training.
Later in the month, on 17 May, we will be celebrating IDAHOBIT day (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia), and subsequently in this DA issue Susan Boag provides some background to this important day.
Also in May, there will be a Federal election. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has described an election as the most important ever: the truth is, all elections are important. Governments exercise power, collect and spend money, and shape the economy and society in the most significant ways. Their election is itself an expression of the views of the electorate, and the electoral process can incorporate both acts and rhetoric of inclusion and exclusion.
Unfortunately, both major parties have chosen to continue following a path of exclusion when it comes to setting the social safety net below the poverty line. This path of exclusion has devastating impacts on many thousands of people experiencing vulnerability in both physical and mental health terms. We must hope that sanity, good sense, and basic compassion come to the fore with the formation of a new Commonwealth Government after 21 May, that grasps what real community and inclusion look like.