Identifying the experiences and needs of LGBTI communities before, during and after emergencies in Victoria

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This research report is relevant for humanitarian and development practitioners working with emergency responders, especially for its focus on resistance to attitudinal change among responders.

This small scoping study investigated the experiences of LGBTI communities in Victoria before, during and after disasters. Specifically, the study looked at the extent to which LGBTI communities feel included and have their needs met during disaster response, and the extent to which emergency responders consider and respond to the needs of LGBTI people and communities.

The report opens with an introduction, methodology and summary of key findings before providing a background on the issues faced by LGBTI people in disaster contexts, supported with data from the research. LGBTI respondents reported that they would be unlikely to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity when seeking emergency services, or that fear of discrimination might prevent them from accessing services. LGBTI respondents were very unlikely to access faith-based services.

The research found that some emergency responders have openly hostile attitudes towards LGBTI people, and do not view sexual orientation or gender identity as relevant factors in their work; 42% conveyed a commitment to understanding the specific needs of LGBTI people and communities. The report explores the responses of emergency responders to ideas of changing practice to focus on the needs of LGBTI people.

The report concludes with recommendations.

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“'Treating everybody the same'” usually means that all people are treated as heterosexual and this can be alienating to GLBT people in all sorts of ways."

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This small scoping study investigated the experiences of LGBTI communities in Victoria before, during and after disasters. Specifically, the study looked at the extent to which LGBTI communities feel included and have their needs met during disaster response, and the extent to which emergency responders consider and respond to the needs of LGBTI people and communities.

The report opens with an introduction, methodology and summary of key findings before providing a background on the issues faced by LGBTI people in disaster contexts, supported with data from the research. LGBTI respondents reported that they would be unlikely to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity when seeking emergency services, or that fear of discrimination might prevent them from accessing services. LGBTI respondents were very unlikely to access faith-based services.

The research found that some emergency responders have openly hostile attitudes towards LGBTI people, and do not view sexual orientation or gender identity as relevant factors in their work; 42% conveyed a commitment to understanding the specific needs of LGBTI people and communities. The report explores the responses of emergency responders to ideas of changing practice to focus on the needs of LGBTI people.

The report concludes with recommendations.