LGBTQIA+ Hub

LGBTQIA+ Hub

 


The Australian Physiotherapy Association is dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive profession. We are committed to eliminating discrimination, harassment, and vilification based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and innate variations in sex characteristics. We promote equity by advocating for safe, affirming healthcare and by challenging policies and practices that exclude or prejudice LGBTQIA+ communities within our association, the physiotherapy profession, and society.

 

 

Welcome to the LGBTQIA+ Hub, an area for APA members to connect, learn and celebrate LGBTQIA+ identities and experiences.

The APA’s LGBTQIA+ advisory panel was formed to increase awareness, inclusivity, and advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community. The panel have been developing and delivering a range of contemporary resources and educational materials, including professional education for the APA’s membership.

This LGBTQIA+ Hub provides you access to up-to-date content, education and ways to connect.

 
 

CONNECT

Facebook Group

The APA and the LGBTQIA+ advisory panel have launched the official LGBTQIA+ APA Facebook group. This group has been established as a platform for members to exchange and engage in conversations related to LGBTQIA+ health and physiotherapy. It aims to facilitate the sharing of research, articles, social media content, professional development opportunities and to engage in open discussions concerning matters that impact LGBTQIA+ individuals, their health and the physiotherapy profession.

This Facebook group is open to all APA members, regardless of gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics and sexual orientations.

Request to join.

Mentoring

Interested in finding a mentor or mentoring someone else? The APA’s Mentoring Programs facilitate connection between physiotherapists who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, those who work with (or want to learn more about) members of the LGBTQIA+ community and the broader APA membership.

Get involved.

 

 

LEARN

Enhance your knowledge and understanding of LGBTQIA+ identities and experiences in relation to physiotherapy here. This section includes links to online learning opportunities, inMotion articles, research and other educational content from the APA and the LGBTQIA+ advisory panel.

FEATURED – ONLINE COURSE 

LGBTQIA+ Affirming Physiotherapy – Part A

LGBTQIA+ individuals experience significantly poorer health and barriers to healthcare, as well as broader psychosocial issues. Negative experience can have a significant impact on access to, and utilisation of, healthcare. This introductory module is an evidence-based, interactive course designed to equip physiotherapists with the skills and knowledge to enable appropriate, and culturally safe, provision of physiotherapy to individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+.

Presenter: Dr Megan Ross APAM, BPthy(Hons), PhD

Inclusive language guide

Download our guide which underscores the APA's dedication to fostering an inclusive and equitable environment. It advocates for the use of inclusive language that respects and validates all individuals, steering clear of biases, stereotypes, and discriminatory nuances. This language highlights the powerful role in shaping inclusive perceptions and experiences, promoting respect, dignity and a sense of community.

Cpd4physios has a Special Interest Area for LGBTQIA+ content, which dedicated to educating physiotherapists about how to work safely, sensitivity and inclusively with the LGBTQIA+ community. Below are some of the eTalks and APA lectures on demand that you will find in the LGBTQIA+ Special Interest Area.

APA lectures on demand

1. Gender affirming pelvic surgeries

This 1.5 hour presentation covers gender affirming (bottom) surgeries, complications and the role of physiotherapy. It also discusses lived experience for MTF vaginoplasty and the benefits of physiotherapy.
Presenters: Samantha Richter APAM, PhD and Tayla Allen

2. Trans inclusive practice: a journey towards understanding

Trans and gender diverse people are less likely to access appropriate healthcare due to negative experiences of assumptions, judgement and feeling unsafe. This session will introduce terminology for LGBTQI+ identities and explore practical advice for sensitive consultations and conversations in the clinical setting.
Presenters: Bronte Scott (she/her) and Cassandra Mangos (she/her)

3. Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy and the Musculoskeletal System

Discussion of typical effects of gender affirming hormone therapy, with a focus on changes relevant to changes in muscle mass, strength and bone density.
Presenters: Dr Lachlan Angus, MBBS FRACP

4. Pelvic Health Physiotherapy: a focus on inclusivity and the LGBTQIA+ community

This lecture will focus on what you can do as a continence and pelvic health physiotherapist to ensure all patients have a more positive experience and feel supported, acknowledged and respected for who they are.
Presenters: Dr Megan Ross, APAM

5. Interpersonal communication and LGBTQIA+ communities

This session provides an introduction to important terminology and concepts for LGBTQIA+ identities and experiences, provides practical advice to navigate sensitive conversations in clinical settings, and explores how to apply inclusive language in clinical case studies.
Presenters: Tamara Crook (she/her), Bronte Scott (she/her), Jess Hiew (she/her), APAM

6. Physiotherapy care for gender diverse patients: Introduction to chest binding

An introduction to physiotherapy for gender diverse patients with an emphasis on chest binding. The session includes an introduction to LGBTQIA+ identities, barriers to healthcare access for gender diverse patients and how barriers can be lowered, and an overview of chest binding including a review of the current literature.
Presenter: Guest speaker

7. Understanding trans health

This session provides an introduction to transgender and gender diverse medicine, including practical issues working with patients who are trans and an overview of medical and surgical affirmation practices. The session is designed to support clinicians to feel comfortable working with patients who are trans and ensure trans inclusive practices.
Presenter: Dr Sally Murray

8. Innate variations of sex characteristics: Intersex bodies and the people that live in them

This 101 style intersex awareness session provides a brief introduction to sex, an overview of what intersex is, who people with intersex variations are, and what some of the issues associated with having intersex traits are including intersex health and human rights issues, intersex and mental health outcomes and finishes with a focus on the intersex community, visibility, peer support and advocacy.
Presenter: Bonnie Hart

eTalks

1. Avoiding assumptions and bias - how to communicate respectfully with people who identify as LGBTQIA+

In this eTalk, a panel of experts provide practical advice and ideas on how to communicate respectfully with people who identify as LGBTQIA+. The session is divided into three parts, key terminology and concepts, using appropriate language, and challenging normativity in the physiotherapy context.
Presenters: Dr Megan Ross, Dr Sam Richter, Dr Jenny Setchell

2. Working respectfully with patients who identify as LGBTIQ+: practical suggestions

Patients who identify as LGBTIQ+ have identified that they have experienced judgement or assumptions or feel unsafe. However, some LGBTIQ+ patients have highlighted very positive experiences with some physiotherapists – feeling supported, acknowledged and respected for who they are. This seminar will focuses on what you can do to provide such positive experiences for your patients.
Presenter: Dr Jenny Setchell

3. Health and the transgender community

In this session, Jessica provides insight into the challenges and issues surrounding trans healthcare, about what it means to be transgender and addresses and corrects many myths and misconceptions about the transgender community.
Presenter: Jessica Hopkins

October 2023: Saying 'we're inclusive' isn't enough

Dr Julie Walters of the APA’s LGBTQIA+ advisory panel describes how physiotherapists can create genuinely culturally safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ communities.

July 2023: Diversity and inclusion in cycling

Physiotherapist and member of the APA LGBTQIA+ advisory panel Susan Mitchell has a special interest in inclusion and diversity in workplaces and sport. Here she talks about her experiences in cycling.

June 2023: Physiotherapists' approaches to LGBTIQ+ patients

Dr Megan Ross answers questions about a recently conducted a qualitative study examining the attitudes, beliefs and knowledge gaps of physiotherapists in Australia regarding working with patients who identify as LGBTQIA+.

May 2023: Data collection and LGBTQIA+ patients

Dr Megan Ross, chair of the APA’s LGBTQIA+ advisory panel, explains how to accurately and sensitively collect data on gender, sex, variations of sex characteristics and sexual orientation in clinical practice.

March 2023: Pride

What is the history behind Mardi Gras and Pride Month for the LGBTQIA+ community?

December 2022: Communicating with LGBTQIA+ communities

Inclusive and respectful communication with patients and colleagues who are LGBTQIA+ is an important part of physiotherapy practice. Dr Megan Ross, Bronte Scott and Jess Hiew of the APA’s LGBTQIA+ Advisory Panel explain why and offer some tips.

November 2022: Who’s who of LGBTQIA+

LGBTQIA+ Advisory Panel committee member Tamara Crook sheds some light on important concepts and terminology related to the LGBTQIA+ community.

October 2022: Chest binding and physiotherapy

Binding is a process of using garments to compress chest tissue to create a flatter appearance. Holly Shuttleworth (they/them) of the APA’s LGBTQIA+ Advisory Panel explains what physiotherapists need to know to treat clients who bind.

July 2022: A safe and welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ people

The APA recently convened an LGBTQIA+ advisory panel to increase awareness and inclusivity and advocate for both patients and physiotherapists. Committee chair Megan Ross outlines the committee’s aims and introduces its members.

Conference Conversations: Inclusive and respectful communication

Dr Jenny Setchell and Dr Megan Ross discuss the importance of inclusive and respectful communication with patients and colleagues who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

This section includes links to recommended external resources, identified by the APA’s LGBTQIA+ advisory panel, that provide valuable information about LGBTQIA+ identities and experiences for health professionals.

Rainbow Tick
A quality framework that helps health and human services organisations show they are safe, inclusive and affirming services and employers for the LGBTQIA+ community.

ACON
NSW’s leading health organisation specialising in community health, inclusion and HIV responses for people of diverse sexual orientations and genders.

TransHub 
ACON’s digital information and resource platform for all trans and gender diverse people, allies and health providers.

Pride in Health & Wellbeing 
A national membership program that provides year-round personalised support to organisations within the Health, Wellbeing and Humans services sector to improve their LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the services they provide and within their workforce.

1. Ross MH, Setchell J. Physiotherapists vary in their knowledge of and approach to working with patients who are LGBTQIA+: a qualitative study. Journal of Physiotherapy. 2023.
doi.org/10.1016/j.jphys.2023.02.012

2. Ross MH, Hammond J, Bezner J, et al. An Exploration of the Experiences of Physical Therapists Who Identify as LGBTQIA+: Navigating Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Clinical, Academic, and Professional Roles. Phys Ther. 2022;102(3).
doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzab280

3. Brenner N, Ross MH, McLachlan E, McKinnon R, Moulton L, Hammond JA. Physiotherapy students’ education on, exposure to, and attitudes and beliefs about providing care for LGBTQIA+ patients: a cross-sectional study in the UK. European Journal of Physiotherapy. 2022:1-9.
doi.org/10.1080/21679169.2022.2080252

4. Ross MH, Setchell J. People who identify as LGBTIQ+ can experience assumptions, discomfort, some discrimination, and a lack of knowledge while attending physiotherapy: a survey. J Physiother. 2019;65(2):99-105.
doi.org/10.1016/j.jphys.2019.02.002

 
 

FROM THE PANEL

Why the advisory panel was formed

The APA lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and other related identities (LGBTQIA+) advisory panel was formed in 2022. The formation of this advisory committee demonstrates the APA’s commitment to the principle of “Respectful and culturally safe practice for all” (Ahpra 2022) and global physiotherapy efforts towards greater inclusivity.

While diversity is increasingly accepted, and even celebrated, our recent research exploring the experiences of patients and practitioners during physiotherapy encounters, revealed that patients and physiotherapists who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community experience assumptions, stigma and discrimination.1 2  In Australia, for patients this is accompanied by discomfort about physical proximity, touch and exposure of their bodies, as well as a lack of physiotherapist knowledge about health issues specific to the LGBTQIA+ population.2

Vision

To increase awareness and inclusivity, and to provide a strong voice from within the APA to advocate for positive experiences for both patients accessing physiotherapy care and physiotherapists working in the profession.

How we hope to affect change within the profession

Two key areas: education and visibility. The committee hopes that by highlighting issues that are important and relevant to the LGBTQIA+ community and providing the APA’s members with education developed by experts in the LGBTQIA+ health space, we can positively impact the experience of both patients and physiotherapists.

Concurrently, we also hope to increase visibility and awareness of the importance of being both respectful and understanding of the additional barriers that individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+ may experience within healthcare and specifically physiotherapy. An internal voice within the APA will ensure future decisions and strategies are appropriate, inclusive and sensitive to the perspective of the LGBTQIA+ community.

More broadly, we hope to affect change and challenge normative discourses present within the physiotherapy profession through promoting and demonstrating that the APA, their members and physiotherapy in Australia is a safe and welcoming space for all.

 
 

GET INVOLVED

Chair

Dr Megan Ross – she/her (2022 – present)

Dr Megan Ross is a physiotherapist and postdoctoral research fellow at The University of Queensland. As well as being the inaugural Chair of the APA LGBTQIA+ Advisory Committee, Megan is a member of the Queensland Musculoskeletal NG and serves on the UQ Ally Action Committee. Megan has published over 20 journal articles and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the RECOVER Injury Research Centre, focusing on access to and utilisation of health care, specifically in relation to marginalised populations, digital health and consumer perspectives.

Megan has received funding from the PRF to co-design, implement and evaluate an educational resource to improve physiotherapists cultural safety for LGBTQIA+ communities, which you can read about here. You can access the online educational resource here.

Read more about Megan and her research, or listen to her Conference Conversations podcast episode.

Members

  • Bronte Scott – she/her
  • Holly Shuttleworth – they/them
  • Jenny Setchell – they/them
  • Jess Hiew – she/her
  • Julie Walters – she/her
  • Liisa Laasko – she/her
  • Susan Mitchell – she/her
  • Emre Ilhan – he/him