This is a guest blog post from Black Rainbow, an emergent organisation that is 100% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQSB led. Black Rainbow is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Sistergirl and Brotherboy (LGBQTISB) organisation in the pursuit of positive health and well-being for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBQTISB.
The COVID-related global health inequities faced by Indigenous and LGBTIQSB peoples as stand alone communities are becoming increasingly documented. However, data on those who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and LGBTIQ remain visibly absent. This absence was unfortunately no surprise, as the broader population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to be marginalised and excluded.
Black Rainbow has seen some incremental progress with Indigenous LGBTIQSB people being recognised as a distinct population group in the 2019 Close the Gap Report for the first time in its 10-year history. What happens next and how efforts are resourced and mobilised remains to be seen. As with prior Close the Gap targets, additional targets and priority reforms are inadequate and unable to respond to the needs of the Indigenous LGBTIQSB community until we know where we are at across the whole range of targets. As it stands, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQSB peoples have zero indicators of our health and well-being status across every indicator which currently only represent our non-LGBTIQSB counterparts. This includes targets across all health, well-being, education, and justice indicators. There’s much work to be done.
We are excited to share several announcements happening in the coming months.
1. Grant funding, support by Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm
We created an Indigenous LGBTIQSB Futures Fund with the grant funding, which was part of Google.org’s global initiative to support LGBTQ+ organisations worldwide. The Futures Fund has been created to support self-selected career development and enhancement opportunities across all professions. This includes corporate, creative industries, academia and sports. The old adage that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ also rings true for our community and the Futures Fund is our attempt to help increase opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQSB peoples.The Futures Fund is for Indigenous LGBTIQSB community members aged 15-35 years. From 2021-25, Black Rainbow will provide grants of up to $1000 to four Indigenous LGBTIQSB recipients each year with 20 individual grants in total.
2. Indigenous LGBTIQSB Glossary posters
In 2019, we licensed the use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQSB artists’ work to act as backdrops to glossary posters. Packs of six were sent out to 150+ Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander organisations nationwide. They are now available for download, free, from our website.
3. Formalisation of our board
In the next month we will be taking perhaps our biggest step forward with the formalisation of our board. For us, this process has been about learning to walk before we try to run and to ensure that our leadership group will continue to have equal weighting in our decision-making processes. Black Rainbow will also be seeking additions to our leadership group toward the end of the year with a view to incorporate valued diverse identities and experiences.
We are thankful for all who have supported us in our close to now seven-year history. Black Rainbow will continue to invest in our commitment to change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQSB community. A community we live and breathe.
Them, They, Theirs