Carers Program
Carers Program

Caring for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer and Intersex People

As a Carer of a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Intersex (GLBTQI) person, many of the challenges associated with caring for someone would be the same as when caring for another person. However, you may find that you also face other problems, due to discrimination or misunderstanding of your situation. You may also feel that you are a "hidden" Carer, and be unaware that you have the same rights as other Carers.

Recognition of GLBTQI relationships and caring roles has increased, and GLBTQI people and their Carers are now much more recognised. Nevertheless, Carers NSW has found in their research that some Carers of GLBTQI people may not ask for support out of fear of discrimination or vilification of the person they care for. Additionally, Carers looking after GLBTQI people could find that traditional family support is sometimes not available or is not adequate.

Legal Concerns
Legal issues may also arise when caring for a GLBTQI person. Same sex partners who are Carers of GLBTQI people need to know their rights, especially when someone becomes incapacitated or dies. Not being aware that you have legal rights can affect joint ownership of property, joint bank accounts, guardianship of children, medical decision making and superannuation benefits. Some important points to be aware of are:

  • De facto relationships are recognized: cohabiting same sex couples are recognized as de facto couples and have the same rights as heterosexual couples under state law.
  • The term "person responsible" has replaced the common term "next of kin" in relation to another person who can make most lifestyle and treatment decisions for a patient when they are either unable to make decisions themselves or have given permission for the person responsible (who will often be the Carer) to do so. Go to Guardianship under Help for Carers on this web page for more information

Financial Concerns:
Carers in a same sex relationship may be entitled to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Carer Allowance, Carer Payment or Carers Leave (if you are working). Carers Leave, which is usually taken out of your sick leave, is a workplace entitlement and applies to all Carers.

For more information about possible financial assistance, go to Money Matters under Your Rights on this web page for more information.

Services for GLBTQI People and Their Carers

Carers NSW
The following services may not cater specifically for GLBTQI Carers but are GLBTQI friendly and inclusive:

  • Carers NSW Carer Line - available weekdays from 9am - 5pm to offer support and information on GLBTQI-friendly services. Phone 1800 242 636;
  • Short term counselling through the National Carer Counselling Program;
  • Carer Support Groups (which may be specifically for GLBTQI people);
  • Talk Link - an eight-week Carer Support Group, facilitated on the telephone, catering to a variety of groups.

Other Services for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People

ACON (AIDS Council of NSW):
ACON recognises that GLBTQI groups face the same broad health issues as everyone else; however, mainstream service providers may not always respond adequately to the unique needs of GLBTQI people.

ACON addresses this problem by working to improve the health and wellbeing of people not only with HIV, but also the broader GLBTQI population.

Support, information and counselling is, however, provided for people at risk of or affected by HIV, including the family and/or Carers.

Ph: 9206 2000
Freecall: 1800 063 060
Hearing Impaired: 02 9283 2088
Email: acon@acon.org.au
Or see Important Links

Twenty Ten:
Twenty10, incorporating Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service NSW (GLCS) is a free and confidential service that  works with and supports young people of diverse genders, sexes and sexualities, their families and friends.
Contact email: info@twenty10.org.au

Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service:
GLCS provides free telephone counselling, referrals and support groups for GLBTQI people and their families on matters of sexuality and life issues.

Phone: 02 8594 9596 (5.30pm - 9.30pm, 7 days per week)
Freecall (rural) 1800 184 527
Or see Important Links

City Legal Centre:
Phone: 9332 1966
Freecall 1800 244 481

The Gender Centre: (this includes an over-55s support group)
Phone: 9569 2366
Or see Important Links

Positive Life NSW
Advocacy and support for people living with HIV
Phone: 9206 2177
Freecall: 1800 651 011

Bobby Goldsmith Foundation:
Phone: 9283 8666
Freecall: 1800 651 011

Organisation Intersex Australia:
Activist and support organisation by and for intersex people
Phone: 0418 290 336

Uniting Care:
Offers residential, community and housing services for older people, with an appointed GLBTQI project officer.

Care Connect:
Community care support for older people living at home. Appointed GLBTQI project officer
Phone: 9690 3100
Hearing Impaired: 1800 116 166

NSW Anti-Discrimination Board:
The board provides advice regarding rights and responsibilities under anti-discrimination laws.
Phone: 9268 5555
TTY: 9268 5522

Gay-Friendly GPs:
Gay-friendly GP Directory
Phone: 9206 2000

Important Links
www.acon.org.au
www.gendercentre.org.au