Monthly Archives: May 2022

June is Pride Month!

Every June is Pride Month. Pride Month is an entire month dedicated to celebrating all things sexuality and gender diversity. DAS is proud to provide support services for many individuals living with a disability and who are part of the LGBTQ community.  All our staff undertake inclusivity training, and some of our staff identify as being a part of the LGBTQ community as well. This makes Pride Month important to us and we strongly believe everyone should be free to ‘Be You!’.

The Sydney Pride Festival will run from the 2nd until the 30th of June. This year Sydney Pride is about empowering each other. “Be Brave, Be Strong, Be You!” will focus on being your authentic self and finding pride. Head on over to Sydney Pride for a look at all of the events happening during the month of June.

Sydney PRIDE History

Did you know that the first ever Mardi Gras was held on the 24th of June in 1978? It was a night time celebration following a morning protest march and commemoration of the Stonewall Riots. 

More than 500 people moved down Oxford Street, calling for an end to discrimination. Although the organisers had obtained permission, this was revoked, and the march was broken up by the police. A total of 53 marchers were arrested, although most charges were eventually dropped, the Sydney Morning Herald published the names of those arrested in full, leading to many people being outed to their friends and places of employment. Many of those arrested lost their jobs as homosexuality was a crime in NSW until 1984. 

The Mardi Gras Parade occurred again in 1979, and was attended by 3000 people. While there was a large police presence, there were no arrests made. In 1980, no parade was held, but following community consultation, decisions were made to move the parade to Summer.

In 1981 the parade was shifted to February, with the name changed to Sydney Gay Mardi Gras. An increasingly large number not only participated in the event, but a crowd of 5000 came to watch it.

The mid 1980s saw pressure placed on the Mardi Gras Committee following media controversy regarding AIDS. Despite calls for the parade and party to be banned, the parade went ahead anyway with the theme “Fighting for our Lives”.

The first giant post-parade party was held in 1982, which 4000 people attended. This would continue to become an integral part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. In 1988 the parade was renamed the “Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras” at an Extraordinary General Meeting.

By 1993, the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade had become the largest night time outdoor parade in the world. Mardi Gras’ Economic Impact Study found that Mardi Gras’ total impact into the Australian economy was around $38 million Sydney Mardi Gras is one of the biggest GLBT Celebrations in the World and 2011 was attended by record crowds.

Sydney Pride Festival Website.

You can also find more info from our friends at ACON and Pride in Health and Wellbeing

Autism and Gender Diverse People

Many studies have been undertaken to understand whether there is a link between Autism and Gender Diverse People. According to the largest study to date, people who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth are three to six times as likely to be autisic as cisgender people are. The connection between this is yet to be determined. Gender diverse people are also more likely to report autism traits and to suspect they have undiagnosed autism. 

The study, led by Simon Baron-Cohen, also found that gender diverse people also report, on average, more traits associated with autism, such as sensory difficulties, pattern recognition skills and lower rates of empathy – Spectrum | Autism Research News, Laura Dattaro, 14th September 2020.

Head on over to Spectrum News to read the full article.

June Social Groups

We’re nearly half way through the year! Our June social groups calendar is here, take a look below and let us now if you’d like to join any of our groups by emailing groups@dasnsw.com.au

We have our usual Dungeons and Dragons group happening every 2nd Tuesday or weekly on Wednesday from 4pm – 7pm at the DAS office. You can choose the night that works best for you. It’s always super fun and full of laughs. There is usually some takeaway delivered to the office so it’s a good idea to bring some pocket money if you feel like ordering food. 

On the 4th we have Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) with Tactix Training at their new Broadmeadow location from 12pm – 1pm which costs $12. Comfortable exercise clothing and some water is all that’s needed to move your body and learn some new moves.

On the 11th we’re going to Holey Moley Golf Club at Charlestown! Mini putt costs $20 and we plan on having some lunch as a group afterwards. People are welcome to pack their own lunch or bring some pocket money to buy food. We suggest around $15 – $20 for lunch.

Over the weekend of the 18th and 19th we are going to SUPANOVA! The tickets cost is $37.50 for one day or $65 for both days. The event goes from 10am – 4pm each day. We will be booking tickets for this in advance so be sure to register your interest for this early. Cosplay is welcomed! We suggest bringing along some pocket money for food or souvenirs each day.
Is there a specific social activity that you’d love for DAS to run? We’d love to hear from you! Email your suggestions to groups@dasnsw.com.au

We Are Proud Members of ACON and Pride in Health + Wellbeing

DAS have been proud members of ACON and Pride in Health + Wellbeing since 2020. Our staff have undergone LGBTIQ+ Inclusive Practice training to help us improve our service for LGBTIQ+ participants. After this training we introduced the use of pronouns into our email signatures to create a more inclusive culture. Our staff can access LGBTIQ+ resources and documents through our internal training system.

We have non-gendered toilets here at DAS HQ where we run various capacity building and social groups for NDIS participants. We also have various flyers available in our meeting room for a range of different LGBTIQ+ services and events. We can help link you up with these local services.

With the help and guidance of Pride in Health + Wellbeing we’ve also changed all of our forms and paperwork to have more LBGTIQ+ inclusive language. 

We want to provide a service that is inclusive of everyone.

No matter who you are, you are welcome.

Q & A with Kylie

You may have seen one of our latest social media posts… Let’s Talk About SEX Baby! We will refresh your memory in case you missed it!

And that’s exactly what we’re doing! You can expect to see more from DAS in this area, we aren’t afraid to have those tricky conversations.
We recently caught up with Kylie (she/her/they/them) who works as a Clinic Social Worker for a publicly funded sexual health clinic. She also works in sexual health contact tracing in social media platforms.  Most recently, Kylie has engaged with DAS to help us develop some workshops in sexual health. Watch this space!

We thought we’d take an opportunity to ask her some questions about sexual health and sexual education, aswell as some light hearted personal questions. Take a read and let us know what you think! We would love to hear from you!

So what does a typical work day look like for you?

I provide counselling support to clients relating to sexual health. This includes so many things like support during a new diagnosis, STI anxiety or helping clients negotiate using condoms with new partners. I also work with community partners to try to provide our services and health promotion activities to people who don’t usually like to engage with health due to stigma or misinformation. There really is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day for me in this role, I’m always learning or trying new ideas to help clients in my area the best I can.

Tell us a little bit about some of the work you’re doing with DAS? 

DAS came to me end of 2021 wanting to chat about ways to help participants access accurate, safe and inclusive information about sexual health. After many discussions, we decided that this is bigger than sexual health now. We moved this program away from the traditional medical approach on sexual health (being solely about STIs etc) and want to open up the opportunity for participants to learn or discuss other ideas around consent, dating online, sexting, dating in covid, as well as things like expressing your gender identify or finding your people. 

We want to give clients a platform to ask questions about things they want to know about, rather than us telling them what we think they should know about. This program will be participant lead, so we created a survey to find out ‘do clients want this program??’ and ‘what do participants even want to know about?’.

I can talk to anyone about chlamydia until the cows come home but is that what people want? Or we can chat about what consent looks like and how do I make sure my partner is giving it? Or we can chat about how you make a dating profile to meet people online and have an online relationship. We know dating has changed so much with Covid restrictions but also people just meet each other differently now with a whole world of possible partners on our phone at any one time.

We want to give participants an opportunity to get this information as the only other resource easily available is the interest which can be a minefield of misinformation or targeted advertising leading to negative experiences for clients.

What are some common ‘myths’ when it comes to sexual health?

That you would know if you have an STI. A lot of the STIs are asymptomatic and there is no way you can tell if a partner has one either

Also speaking of myths, I provided information for a project called the ‘the vulva gallery’ which was based around normalising vulvas and debunking the myths. For people with vulvas, it’s an interesting read or check our their Insta (I don’t get any paid sponsorship for this, I really loved this project)

You can check out The Vulva Gallery here.

Why do you think sexual health is so important?

These topics are important as it recognises all the needs of human beings. Whether people are sexual beings or not, we want to acknowledge the whole person including topics that have been taboo for so long, like gender, sexuality and sexual health. These programs are how DAS is making strides to provide holistic service to clients in topics that have been socially neglected for far too long.

What was your sexual education like when you were in school?

I went to a private catholic school so my sex education was limited. This was a few (15+) years ago though. I remember only learning about pregnancy and very minimally about condoms (as in they existed and didn’t learn how to use them) hot tip: check the expiry and don’t use your teeth to open the wrapper!!!!

Do you think sexual education in school has progressed since you were in school?

Unfortunately with no standardised approach in schools, it’s left to the staff to interpret the curriculum to what they feel comfortable teaching. This does rely on staff having a good understanding of themselves and a comfort discussing with their students. So I would say that I don’t think this has progressed enough. Take the topic of contraception – a more holistic approach would cover unwanted pregnancy as well as topics around STI prevention, discussions on options, how to talk to partners about your thoughts and even how/where to get them. We want to equip our youth with information so they can make their own informed decisions.

Where do you see the future of sexual health and sexual education going?

I’ve definitely noticed a lot of people are meeting partners online now, some meet in person and some don’t. Ideas around ‘technological relationships’. I think we are starting to value these connections more, especially since covid where many people felt isolated and these were potentially the only social outlet we had.

What do you like to do for fun outside of work?

Hmm. I love to ride my motorbike. Having never even learnt to drive a manual car, I got my license and have never looked back. It’s my stress outlet and it’s given me a new appreciation for all the beautiful Awabakal land around us. And my doggos who regularly visit the DAS office (old man Walle, Mr Pig and baby Hippo)

If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?

I mean it would definitely be to have Superman strength.

Seeing how I ride, I wouldn’t trust myself with the power of flight.

I don’t like being cold; so being able to breathe underwater is out cause I wouldn’t go below a meter under.

Wouldn’t want to talk to animals cause I’d be stuck working from home having three dogs tell me they are hungry.

Or maybe the ability to download skills and knowledge like they do on the matrix (Probably a bit of an old reference for young peeps but I would definitely be taking that red pill)

(end of interview)

Thank you so much Kylie! Keep an eye out in your inbox over the next couple of weeks, we will be sending out a DAS Workshop Exploration Survey to find out what topics interest you in this realm. As we mentioned above, we would love to hear from YOU! Do you have any questions? Is there a certain topic you would like us to explore? Let us know in the comment section below or you can email us here workshops@dasnsw.com.au

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