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HomeNewsDriving LGBTIQ+ strategy across NSLHD

Driving LGBTIQ+ strategy across NSLHD

Jemma Clifton is on a mission to support and strengthen Northern Sydney Local Health District as a place where everyone is accepted and recognised regardless of their sex, gender and sexuality.

Jemma (she/her) has recently taken on the role of project officer to support the implementation of the NSW Health LGBTIQ+ Strategy across Northern Sydney Local Health District.

The strategy marks a significant commitment by the NSW Health system providing direction to all NSW Health organisations and staff so that collectively the system can deliver the best care to LGBTIQ+ people and work with them to achieve optimal health and wellbeing outcomes. 

Jemma said a key problem she sees is many people have not met a queer, transgender, intersex or sexually diverse person and there is fear and lack of understanding what that looks like and how to be around people like her. 

“I am just a human being and a woman – I might do woman slightly differently to some, but don’t we all," she said.

“Part of the amazing gift diversity brings is creating more space for everyone. We all experience the frustrations of having assumptions made about us based on our sex – whether that be roles or what our capabilities are or where our career trajectories can lead to and what things we can be interested in. 

Just by being here I hope to show people that it’s normal
Jemma Clifton, Project Officer, NSW Health LGBTIQ+ Strategy

“This is a special opportunity to expand our social systems, so we all have more freedom to question and express ourselves in broader ways.”

Jemma will be working with the PRIDE-plus network who she said was instrumental in creating her role. She will also be working closely with NSLHD directors and hospital general managers in a consultative and advocacy-based position. 

Jemma is focused on upskilling the workforce with simple tools that create space for everyone to show up as their full selves at work.

“This could include foundational education on how sex, gender, and sexuality are distinct aspects of a person’s identity,” she said.

“It’s also about changing language to unpack the assumptions we implicitly make about a person’s sex, gender, and sexuality, as well as updating data collection to capture patients’ sex, gender, and sexuality more appropriately. 

“I also want to focus on distributing best evidence-based LGBTIQ+ health standards and resources to services across the district.” 

Jemma said it is also important to acknowledge people may have concerns about how these changes might impact their ways of working.

“It is normal and common for people to experience fear about making mistakes,” she said.

“I just want to reassure people these changes are about creating more space for everyone, so our behaviour and language supports all identities.”

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