Launch of Brothers & Sisters NT in partnership with the Alice Springs Women’s Shelter Diversity Project

On Friday 24th October 2014, the Alice Springs Women’s Shelter was proud to host

the official public launch of Sisters & Brothers NT “Celebrating Diversity” Advocacy

Group. The event also marked the launch of resources created by Sisters & Brothers

NT in partnership with the Alice Springs Women’s Shelter’s Diversity Project.

The launch was held at the Andy McNeil Room at the Council Chambers and was

officially opened by the Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson, who

appeared via video link. The launch comprised a panel discussion that canvassed

some of the issues faced by gender, intersex and sexuality diverse people, and the

sharing of newly developed resources aims to promote community awareness of and

respect for people of diverse backgrounds living in Central Australia.

A panel of gender, intersex and sexuality diverse Indigenous and non-Indigenous

people came together to discuss the local issues of discrimination faced by the

community, and led an engaging discussion that included personal insights and

experiences. The panel speakers were Senior Sistergirl Crystal Love from the Tiwi

Islands; Sistergirl Brie Curtis from Alice Springs; Miss Que Kenny from Ntaria; Intersex

advocate Shon; and Dale Wakefield, Executive Officer at the Women’s Shelter. The

panel was hosted by Tiwi comedian and advocate Jason de Santis.

Close to 100 community members and representatives from a range of service

providers attended the launch. The discussion encouraged reflection on the impact

of discrimination and the ways in which we as both individuals and organisations in

Alice Springs, can better promote inclusivity, respect, support and celebration for

people of diverse gender, sex and sexuality. Audience members were able to ask

questions and hear about the personal experiences of the panellists, including the

types of intersecting discrimination, exclusion and violence they are subjected to in

different spaces, and their recommendations for education and social justice.

Feedback about the launch has been incredibly positive and is already helping to

further a positive dialogue around gender, sex and sexuality diversity in Alice Springs

and beyond.

Intersex advocate Shon, reflected on her experience of being on the panel, “I felt

honoured to speak openly as a representative of a little known demographic in our

society, to such a supportive and attentive audience. The immediate and ongoing

response to the launch and panel has been extremely positive and somewhat

moving. I have had several people approach me while I have been going about my

personal business in Alice Springs, to congratulate me on my courage and to thank

me for enlightening them on the little known topic of Intersex bodies. I have also

been respectfully approached by people who have seen the posters and posts on

Facebook to ask me about Intersex diversity and to seek a deeper understanding. I

celebrate this openness and genuine interest.” Since the launch, Sisters & Brothers

NT has been approached to provide further training to local organisations.

Awareness training has already been successfully delivered to staff at Clinic 34. The

partnership between the Alice Springs Women’s Shelter and Sisters & Brothers NT

has helped to not only increase community and government awareness of these

issues, but continues to increase the capacity of Sisters & Brothers NT advocates,

and enabled the development of a range of educational workshops and poster

resources

The resources feature local, positive role models of intersex, sexuality and gender

diversity. They give a clear message to individuals, their families and service

providers that our organisations are inclusive and celebrate diversity; and that

everyone has the right to feel safe and be respected.Recently, the Northern Territory

Aids and Hepatitis Council joined the partnership with plans to produce educational

pamphlets, relevant to the NT, that promote gender, sex and sexuality equality.

The Alice Springs Women’s Shelter sees intersex, sexuality and gender diversity

issues as human rights issues. Our Diversity Project focuses on ending discrimination

against people of diverse backgrounds, and encourages local services to increase

their awareness of these issues and expand their accessibility.

Senior Sistergirl Crystal Love from Tiwi Islands said about the panel “It’s important

for us to express ourselves; our ideas for change and to educate our fellow men and

women about all the issues that our communities face, like domestic violence and

discrimination. The panel was about making a change and putting things in place to

help our people.”

The Alice Springs Women’s Shelter is proud to be in partnership with Sisters &

Brothers NT, to support individuals and organisations explore how we can make

Alice Springs and Central Australia a safe and inclusive place that celebrates

diversity.