‘COVID-19 and Our Regional Communities’ will also feature performances from Newcastle entertainer Timberlina

How the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting LGBTQ people in regional NSW will be explored during a special online forum ‘COVID-19 and Our Regional Communities’, hosted by NSW’s leading health organisation for sexuality and gender diverse people, ACON.

To be held on Wednesday 13 May from 3pm, the virtual forum will provide viewers with the latest health information on COVID-19 in NSW; explore issues relating to sexual health, mental health, trans and gender diverse health and Aboriginal health during the pandemic; and deliver messages on keeping safe, accessing support and staying connected in regional and rural NSW.

The panel features a range of clinical experts, health care professionals and prominent community members, including:

  • Dr Kat Taylor: Public Health Physician, Hunter New England Population Health
  • Dr David Smith: Medical Director, North Coast HIV/Sexual Health Services
  • Dr Emmanual Vlahakis: Sexual Health Physician & Gender Affirming Care Specialist, Northern New South Wales Local Health District and Mid North Coast Local Health District
  • Carlie McDonald: Youth Care Coordinator & Community Engagement, Headspace Bega
  • Simone Jordan: Community Relations Team Leader, Awabakal
  • Sarah Lambert: Director Community Health and Regional Services, ACON

While COVID-19 is affecting all Australians, its impact can play out differently for a range of communities, such as LGBTQ people living outside of major metropolitan areas.

“We know that COVID-19 is having an impact on LGBTQ people in regional communities,” said Sarah Lambert, ACON’s Director of Community Health and Regional Services, said.

“Those that live in regional and rural settings already face unique challenges when it comes to accessing appropriate health services and support, which can be compounded by the pandemic.

“There is also a lot of misinformation out there, and this can sometimes make understanding COVID-19 difficult. This online forum aims to bring together local health experts to provide timely, evidence-based and critical information on COVID-19 that is relevant and applicable to LGBTQ communities in regional NSW,” Lambert said.

‘COVID-19 and Our Regional Communities’ will be facilitated by writer and performer Maeve Marsden, and will also feature performances from Newcastle entertainer Timberlina and Northern Rivers performer Jex Jopez.

“As well as being a forum to get information, this virtual event is also a chance for LGBTQ people in NSW to come together and connect with others,” Lambert added. “So we encourage everyone in our communities – wherever you are across the state – to join in and be part of the conversation.”

‘COVID-19 and Our Regional Communities’ is on Wednesday 13 May from 3pm to 4.30pm. For event details and registration, visit the ACON website here.

For more information, resources and support regarding COVID-19 and LGBTQ communities, visit ACON’s COVID-19 online clearinghouse here