LGBTQ+ families working with NDIS service providers
If your child has disability or developmental delay and your child or someone in your family is LGBTQ+, you can expect NDIS services to be respectful and inclusive. For example, you can expect NDIS service providers, NDIS professionals and NDIS support workers to:
- accept your family without judgment or explanation
- treat your family with respect and dignity
- make your family feel welcome and safe.
This includes when:
- your child applies to join the NDIS
- your child develops an NDIS plan and sets goals
- you choose service providers
- you work with service providers
- you review your child’s NDIS plan or change your child’s NDIS plan.
Signs that NDIS services are culturally safe and inclusive for LGBTQ+ families
If you’re an LGBTQ+ family, you can look for signs that NDIS service providers are culturally safe and inclusive. For example, service providers might:
- use images of or stories about families like yours in their service information or website
- display symbols of support like rainbow or pride flags, posters, stickers and badges
- use language and forms that include or recognise same-sex relationships and non-binary gender identities.
You can also ask NDIS service providers directly about whether they’re culturally safe and inclusive. For example, you could ask them:
- whether they’ve worked with LGBTQ+ people before
- what they know about including LGBTQ+ people
- whether they have, or are working towards, the Rainbow Tick accreditation
- whether their staff attend LGBTQ+ inclusivity and/or cultural safety training and who provides this training
- where you can find their inclusion and anti-discrimination policies.
Cultural safety in NDIS services: what it might feel like for LGBTQ+ families
NDIS service providers have a responsibility to create an environment where you and your family feel genuinely safe and welcome.
If you’re working with a culturally safe and inclusive LGBTQ+ NDIS service provider, here’s how you might expect to feel:
- You or your child can be authentically yourself – for example, in the way you dress or speak.
- Your gender or sexuality, or your child’s, is affirmed by NDIS providers and support workers. For example, they use correct pronouns.
- You can describe your family in your own words without having to justify or explain it. For example, ‘Craig’s donor dad will be coming to his appointment tomorrow’.
- You don’t have to be an LGBTQ+ educator. For example, you can ask for your child to use the toilet of their gender without explaining why.
You can check in with your partner, if you have one, your co-parents and your child’s siblings to see how they’re feeling about NDIS service providers too. For example, you could ask:
- Does the experience ‘feel right’ to you?
- Do you feel you can be yourself?
- Do you feel that your life and needs are understood?
- Do you feel that your privacy is respected?
- Do you think there are any areas where the service could improve?
If you notice that family members seem uncomfortable when working with NDIS providers, you could ask about this too. For example, ‘I’ve noticed you go out when your sister’s therapists come over. Is that something you want to talk about?’
Tips for LGBTQ+ families working with NDIS services
Many NDIS service providers and NDIS support workers are experienced in working with LGBTQ+ families, but it might be a new experience for others. If it feels safe and OK, here are some ideas for improving the cultural safety and inclusivity of the NDIS providers and workers your family works with:
- Give NDIS providers feedback about their cultural safety and inclusivity. For example, if you don’t see your gender identity on a form you’re asked to complete, you could explain why this is important and request an updated version of the form.
- Tell NDIS providers what they need to know about your LGBTQ+ family to give your child the best support. For example, you might tell them why or how your chosen family will be involved in your child’s therapy.
- Be explicit about what you need in service agreements or plan reviews. For example, you could specify that progress updates need to be sent to both you and your co-parent if you’re separated and you both need to see this information.
- Advocate for your child, if you think their needs aren’t being met. For example, you might explain to your child’s NDIS providers and workers why a family-centred approach is important to you.
When NDIS experiences aren’t culturally safe or inclusive
Your child has the right to develop and learn in a safe and healthy environment.
If you’re unhappy with the way an NDIS service provider or NDIS support worker is treating you, your child or your family, you can make a complaint. You might be able to work with your child’s service provider to resolve the complaint or you can ask the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to help you sort out the complaint. The NDIS Commission can also take action against a provider if necessary.
If you speak up about your concerns, it can help NDIS providers to improve their services to other LGBTQ+ families. It can also help to improve overall quality and safety for other children in the NDIS. But if you choose not to complain, or you can’t resolve the situation, it’s also OK to change providers.