We’re here to help women in LGBTIQ communities take control of their health.
We provide information on relevant health issues, and we offer a range of specific and general services delivered by caring people who genuinely understand the health issues affecting women in LGBTIQ communities.
If you’re a member of the LGBTIQ community and you need safe sex supplies, we can post them to you anywhere in NSW (free!). Find out more and order here.
There are a lot of questions about COVID-19 and what it means for people from sexuality and gender diverse communities and people living with HIV. ACON has compiled a number of resources and links to provide our communities with the latest information on COVID-19, you can find them here.
Scroll down the page for information on a range of topics including support services, sex and COVID-19, and tips on protecting yourself and others.
Women in LGBTIQ communities are diverse and our sexual health needs depend on the kind of sex we’re having.
The best way to manage your sexual health is to learn about your options for playing safe and get regular sexual health checks.
Check OUT: LGBTIQ+ Sexual Health Clinic is a safe and inclusive clinic for our communities. We offer HIV/STI screening and/or cervical screening for all LGBTIQ+ people. Check OUT provides trauma-informed care and is sex-positive and sex work friendly. The clinic is staffed by LGBTIQ+ peer workers and expert sexual health nurses. Book online or find out more: www.checkout.org.au
There is still some misinformation in our communities that women who have sex with women are not at risk of STIs. Infection rates among women who have sex with women are actually estimated to be the same as heterosexual women, but current research shows that 37% of women and non-binary people in the LGBTIQ community have never had an STI test, despite the vast majority being sexually active.
The Play Safe website has a top five tips for safe sex between women and if you need safe sex supplies and are a member of the LGBTIQ community we can post them to you anywhere in NSW (free!). Find out more and order here.
Seeing a GP
There are many local doctors, counsellors and health services that provide great, holistic services to the LGBTIQ community:
The Australian Lesbian Medical Association (ALMA) compiles an up to date list of doctors and mental health professionals who are recommended by lesbian and bisexual women. This is a national project. There are currently around 90 doctors and mental health professionals on the list, including GPs and specialists, metropolitan and rural doctors.
ANZPATH (Australian and New Zealand Professional Association for Transgender Health) has a list of service providers in NSW.
Women’s Health NSW is a collective of non-government, community based women’s health and specialist centres. All centres are feminist services that provide choices for women to determine their individual health needs. The site provides a list of women’s health centres that you can access by calling for an appointment.
We are designing a brand new sexual health project to better meet the needs of our community. This project will be replacing our sexual health project for women who play with women. We welcome all members of the community, including intersex people of all genders and sexualities to get involved in the consultation process. Find out more and sign up here.
Our United Front is an inclusive breast cancer awareness and education campaign that focuses on getting screened. Self-checking is still really important, but if you are 50 or over, you should have a mammogram every 2 years. People over 40 are eligible to get free mammogram. Check out Our United Front for referral pathways.
Our United Front speaks to cis women, trans women, non-binary people, trans masc people and trans guys, highlighting different screening pathways and options.
View the project HERE.
We are sorry to announce that due to COVID-19, Check OUT: LGBTIQ+ Clinic will be closed until further notice.
Please do not be concerned, this closure is only temporary, and we look forward to reopening again soon.
We will contact all our clients as soon as we reopen.
If your appointment with Check OUT was urgent, or you have any concerns, please contact our clinical partner, Family Planning NSW.
Family Planning NSW Talkline (staffed by expert sexual health nurses):
1300 658 886
Monday to Friday, 8:30am-5pm;
or email email@example.com
You can also contact the NSW Sexual Health InfoLink, which is run by NSW Health and is staffed by sexual health nurses. You can call them with any questions or concerns about sexual health and/or cervical screening and they can direct you to services for testing in your area:
1800 451 624
Monday to Friday, 9.00am-5.30pm
If you are concerned about COVID-19 or have questions, please visit the NSW Health website or contact Healthdirect on 1800 022 222.
Please take care of yourselves and each other and don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all,
Check OUT Staff
Everybody with a cervix is at risk of cervical cancer.
We’re here to provide information and promote the importance of regular cervical screening for LGBTIQ people.
Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, yet studies show that LGBTIQ people are less likely than the general population to attend cervical screening. Having regular Cervical Screening Tests is the best way people in our communities can protect themselves against cervical cancer.
On 1 December 2017, the Pap test changed to a more accurate Cervical Screening Test. Other changes include the age of screening increasing from 18 years to 25 years, and the time between tests changing from two to five years.
Visit The Inner Circle to find out about the changes to the Pap test, what’s involved in a Cervical Screening Test, information on sex, HPV and cervical cancer and tips and advice on how get through your test.
Watch community members talk about their experiences of cervical screening for The Inner Circle campaign.
If you live in Sydney, you can book in at Check OUT: LGBTIQ+ Sexual Health Clinic for a sexual health check and/or a cervical screening test. Check OUT is a community-led clinic, run by ACON and Family Planning NSW. All our frontline staff are trained members of the LGBTIQ+ community. Read more about Check OUT and book a test today.
ACON and City of Sydney are presenting a series of free workshops open to all LGBTQ women who are 55 years or older. Each workshop has a different focus and will be a fun, social and engaging way to meet people and access information tailored to you.
Silver Sessions are a chance to come together, to share conversation and afternoon tea. Each Silver Session workshop has a different focus and activity. Come and check out a workshop on Indigenous weaving, have a chat about mental health and resilience; learn some new yoga and meditation practices; and join in a discussion about healthy relationships.
The workshops will be held in Erskineville on:
- Tuesday May 4th 2021
- Tuesday May 11th 2021
- Tuesday May 18th 2021
Time: 2:00 – 4:30pm
ACON is running a series of online focus groups (120 minutes) and one-on-one video interviews (60 minutes), where we will explore LGBTQ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours around: bowel cancer and screening, smoking and quitting (tobacco and e-cigarettes), and alcohol.
Participants who complete a focus group or interview will receive a $50 gift card.
The findings will be used to guide ACON’s LGBTQ community health campaigns.
All information provided in this application is confidential to ACON and will not be shared.
If successful, you will be contacted by ACON staff to finalise participation.
Applications close Friday 12 June 2020
For any questions, please contact Bec Cerio, Cancer Programs Officer at email@example.com.
We look forward to hearing from you!
NEED SAFE SEX SUPPLIES?
If you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community and you need safe sex supplies, we can post them to you anywhere in NSW (free!). Simply complete the form below and we will get your play pack(s) delivered in no time!
Our play packs include:
- 10 gloves
- 10 condoms
- 74 ml Astroglide Natural toy friendly lube
- 110ml Viraclean bottle (for cleaning toys and surfaces), and
- A sex toy maintenance brochure.
If you need supplies for a party or venue please let us know.
Any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
We know that lesbian, bisexual, queer (LBQ) and other same-sex attracted women, as well as trans women and men, intersex people, and gender diverse people of all sexualities tend to have lower screening rates for cancer.
Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women in Australia and about 43 people will be diagnosed every day in Australia.
#TalkTouchTest is a breast health campaign for all LBQ women and for our broader LGBTI communities to increase awareness and encourage us to:
#Talk about breast and chest health with our community: start a conversation with our partners and families, our workmates and teammates and lovers and friends.
#Touch to get to know your body (or someone else’s!) and make breast checks and breast health a lifelong habit.
#Test by getting free mammograms (via BreastScreen NSW or through your GP) if you’re over 40, and if you’re between 50-74, get a mammogram every two years.
View the project HERE.
Lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) women and smoking
You’ve seen the ads, read the warning labels; most smokers know that smoking is bad for their health. Despite this, LBQ women smoke at more than twice the rate of heterosexual women even though 70% of all LBQ women who smoke say they want to reduce or quit.
If you’re a smoker, you also know that tobacco smoking can be a complex, love/hate relationship enmeshed with identity, mental health and social connections. Quitting isn’t easy for everyone, but it is possible to break-free from tobacco.
With the support of the NSW Cancer Institute, we’ve produced a #Smoke Free Still Fierce, eductaion campaign designed to help LBQ women smokers to reduce or quit their use of tobacco.
Watch stories from women in the community who stopped smoking, download PDF’s with handy hints and quick tips to quit and tell us how else you would like ACON to help you on your journey to quit smoking.
So if you want to flip the script on LBQ women’s smoking and break-up with tobacco, ACON is here to help you get connected, get creative and get inspired.
In 2015 an anonymous online survey of LBQ women was conducted to:
- Identify smoking and smoking cessation behaviours, patterns and contexts among LBQ women and,
- Compare the characteristics of current smokers and ex-smokers.
Download the digital version of the full Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer (LBQ) Women’s Tobacco Reduction Project Community Report Online Survey Findings here. (Right click on the link and “save link as” to view the digital version correctly in Adobe Acrobat)
The Women’s Coming Out Group is a free, confidential social support group, a safe and friendly place for women who are same-sex attracted, lesbian, gay, bi, queer, questioning or unsure, to meet and talk about various topics around sexuality and other life issues. It is facilitated by trained volunteers of Twenty10 incorporating the Gay and Lesbian Counselling service NSW. Head to the website to find out what happens in a group and to see the list of discussion topics for 2015 groups.
The Australian Lesbian Medical Associations (ALMA) DocLIST website features an extensive list of information and resources to help lesbian, bi and queer women connect with their community and get information on health, legal and human rights issues.
On the list you will find over 600 national and state-based organisations, groups and services and resources. Examples include community events, health services, counselling and support services, social groups, sporting groups, artistic organisations, and young people’s groups.
The ACON Here for Women Facebook pages share news about events, workshops and parties.
The Sydney Women and Sexual Health (SWASH) survey was first carried out in 1996. It was initiated by workers from two ACON projects, Women Partners of Gay and Bisexual Men and the Gay and Lesbian Injecting Drug Use Project, who were faced with a lack of empirical evidence on which to base their intervention work. Research on the health and wellbeing of lesbian, bisexual and queer women (cis and trans) is still scarce.
SWASH is now a comprehensive survey of sexual and gender identity; community connection; smoking, alcohol and drug use; sexual health; psychological wellbeing; experiences of anti-gay, sexual and domestic violence; parenthood intentions; preventive health behaviour including screening; healthcare access and satisfaction.
The survey is run every two years by a collaboration of ACON and researchers at the University of New South Wales (until 2009), and now the University of Sydney (since 2010). SWASH is the longest running and only regular survey of the health and wellbeing of LBQ women (cis and trans) in Australia. In 2010, the survey began running periodically in Perth: Women’s West Australian Sexual Health (WWASH).
The latest 2020 SWASH report was released on 28th October 2020 as part of a series of Mental Health month events. Register here for upcoming forums on Healthcare and Screening and Alcohol & Drug Use and Mental Health.
Previous SWASH reports:
- SWASH 2018 – Women in contact with the Sydney LGBTQ communities
- SWASH 2018 – Women in contact with the Northern Rivers and Mid-North Coast LGBTQ communities
The LGBTIQ Women’s Health Conference focuses on the health and wellbeing needs of all LGBTIQ women within Australian communities. This biennial event offers attendees a wide range of opportunities to discuss, engage with and explore these health needs as well as profile new and emerging research, innovative programs and services being delivered to address these needs in our communities
The next conference will be held on 4 & 5 June 2020 in Sydney.
This event is co-presented by ACON & Thorne Harbour Health.
For more information and to sign up to our newsletter for updates, visit the conference website.
Promoting the health and wellbeing of lesbian, bisexual, queer and same sex attracted women living in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.
The labrys is a double-headed axe, which became a symbol of strength and self-sufficiency for the lesbian and feminist movements in the 1970’s. The labrys continues to represent the pride and strength of our communities today.
In 2014 and 2015, ACON and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District partnered to establish the Labrys Project.
The project conducted a community based survey, a series of focus groups, delivered mental health first aid training and developed a resource to explore issues affecting the lives of lesbian, bisexual, queer (LBQ) and same sex attracted women living in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.
LBQ and same sex attracted women can face a range of factors that impact their health and wellbeing in unique ways.
General Support & Services
We provide a range of counselling and community care services for lesbians and same sex attracted women, including those with HIV or who use drugs. To find out more please visit our Mental Health section.
Alcohol & Drugs
We provide a range of resources and support services to help lesbians and same sex attracted women who use alcohol and other drugs. To find out more please visit our Alcohol & Drugs section.
Safety & Inclusion
We provide a range of resources and support services to help lesbians and same sex attracted women who are experiencing homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination. To find out more please visit our Safety & Inclusion section.
Domestic & Family Violence
We provide a range of resources and support services to help lesbians and same sex attracted women who are experiencing domestic and family violence. To find out more please visit our Domestic & Family Violence section.
We provide a range of resources and support services for older lesbians and same sex attracted women (50+). To find out more please visit our Ageing section.