As part of World Pride 2023 celebrations, Carers Queensland has launched a dedicated contact channel,, a culturally sensitive and safe way for people from LGBTIQ communities to connect, be supported and feel the freedom to be themselves.

People with disability, their families and carers who identify as part of the LGBTIQ community, will be able to connect directly with a rainbow responder, one of our many LGBTIQ team members, and will be welcomed and treated with respect and dignity.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant, Tim Lachlan, identifies as queer and neurodivergent and supports the introduction of a dedicated communication channel as a “good step in the right direction”.

“I think having resources and people who understand that identity and disability connect with each other is a good thing,” Tim said.

“They’re making it a space where people know they’re not going to be judged, but actually can have those supports and get people to advocate for them if they do come across barriers because of their queerness or disability.

“I think having a space where people know they’re going to be understood and not judged, that’s definitely something that’s needed.”

Carers Queensland commenced the journey to LGBTIQ inclusivity in 2015, achieving Rainbow Tick accreditation in 2018 and again in 2021. Carers Queensland CEO, Debra Cottrell, said when it comes to accessibility and inclusion for people with disability, their families and carers, those from LGBTIQ communities can experience unique challenges because of their identity-mix of abilities, age, gender, race and sexuality.

“Our Rainbow Tick accreditation sends a clear message to our clients and our staff that we recognise that being an LGBTIQ inclusive organisation is about the whole organisational culture,” Debra said.

“We have a role to play in ensuring LGBTIQ people with disability, their families, carers and supporters have the opportunity to reach their full potential and participate in all aspects of community life.”

Carers Queensland employs LGBTIQ team members, including more than 40 Rainbow Allies, who support and promote a culture inclusive of all differences.

“Rainbow Allies will continue to actively foster and support an organisational culture that respects, welcomes and supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex staff and volunteers, enabling them to be themselves, where their diversity is celebrated, and their individual identity affirmed.”

Carers Queensland NDIS Local Area Coordinator, Rainbow Ally and rainbow responder, Lauren

Beecroft, said when she found out about the new communication channel, she jumped at the chance to be involved.

“My heart was filled with pride; I was quick to put my hand up, alongside others, to be a rainbow responder,” Lauren said.

“To know that someone responding to an enquiry will have a unique understanding of one’s situation is an absolute gift. It is an act of saying ‘we see you’, ‘we stand with you’, and ‘your vulnerability will be held with care in our organisation’. We are setting a standard.

“I have worked with many families in central Queensland who have been fearful of accessing the NDIS due to their LGBTIQ identity. Fear of disclosing information at a planning meeting, fear of being misgendered by support workers, fear of their identity being disclosed to their family.

“Our organisation is thinking outside the box, to offer a unique experience to the people we walk alongside. It makes me feel emotional, for I know if I had access to something like this, as a young and frightened person, life could have been made that little bit easier.

“To work for an organisation that is stepping up to the table to offer a tangible, culturally safe and accessible pathway for people with disability, their families and carers, who identify as part of the LGBTIQ community, is incredible.”

Tim Lachlan said he is in full support of Carers Queensland as a Rainbow Tick organisation that is supporting inclusion and employing LGBTIQ staff.

“If you can see somebody in the organisation who resembles yourself, it makes you much more likely to trust that organisation. It makes it easier to build rapport with the person who’s helping you out with your NDIS (plan).”

Cover image supplied.