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New survey shines spotlight on needs of older LGBTI Sistergirl and Brotherboy Queenslanders

Remaining responsive to changing needs
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Part of a Queensland Working Group, researchers from the University of Southern Queensland are conducting a novel study exploring the needs and concerns related to ageing among older LGBTI Sistergirl and Brotherboy Queenslanders and their carers.

The term Sistergirl refers to an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander gender-diverse person who lives and presents as a woman, and has a female spirit, while Brotherboy refers to a gender-diverse person who lives and presents as a man, and has a male spirit; both with strong cultural identities and backgrounds.

“For many older LGBTI Sistergirl and Brotherboy persons, the lack of strong or extensive family networks has imposed a greater reliance on other social and community services for support as their age or care needs increase,” University of Southern Queensland Senior Lecturer Dr Annette Brömdal said.

“Similarly, for many LGBTI Sistergirl and Brotherboy elders who have experienced decades of discrimination, marginalisation and disempowerment, the transition to aged care can be one of returning to the ‘closet’, where new experiences of old issues of stigma and invisibility re-emerge.”

University of Southern Queensland Nursing and Midwifery Senior Lecturer Dr Lisa Beccaria added that it is important for services to remain responsive to changing needs.

“We need to understand what might be currently working well or areas for improvement for older people, but equally what younger people feel that they may need more of as they age,” Dr Beccaria said.

“We are also starting to see more mainstreaming of services and agencies providing support to older people and their carers, and we need to look to the future to forward plan.

“There are already examples emerging of peer-based services and aged care providers looking to focus on LGBTI Sistergirl and Brotherboy care recipients.”

The researchers invite all who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Gender Diverse, Non-Binary, people with the experience of Intersex variations, Sistergirls and Brotherboys to complete a confidential and anonymous survey to help understand their unique needs.

This research is conducted in partnership with the Queensland Council for LGBTI Health, Queensland Positive People, Torrens University, Metro North Public Health Unit and LGBTI Community Ageing Network.

The online survey will be open until December 20, 2021.

Paper versions are available through Dr Brömdal.

woman standing in field
University of Southern Queensland Senior Lecturer Dr Annette Brömdal.