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LGBTQI+ people and cancer

 

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Supporting an LGBTQI+ person through cancer

Being a carer can bring a sense of satisfaction, but it can also be challenging and stressful. For more information on your role as a carer, common emotions and how your relationships can change, check Caring for Someone with Cancer.

Specific issues for LGBTQI+ carers

Caring can be challenging for everyone but LGBTQI+ carers may have added challenges. 

Discrimination

You may feel uncomfortable accessing services and support groups for fear they will discriminate against you because of your sexual orientation, gender or sex characteristics. This may be based on previous experiences with health professionals. You may worry that your relationship to the person you care for will not be recognised and you won’t be included in decision-making. Some people deal with anticipated discrimination by hiding the nature of their relationship when accessing support.

Rights at work

If you are caring for someone in your family or household and working, you have the same rights as other employees. Talk to your employer about your caring responsibilities, and how they can support you with carer’s leave and flexible working arrangements. See Cancer, Work & You.

Ask others for help

You don’t have to do all the practical, emotional and financial tasks of caring alone. Your friends and chosen family may be keen to help, especially if the person’s family of origin has rejected them due to their sexual orientation, gender or intersex variation.

For resources designed specifically for LGBTQI+ carers, visit Carer Gateway.

Financial help

Since federal reforms in 2008, everyone has the same rights and entitlements. This means you can access the Carer Allowance and Carer Payment if you meet the criteria. For more details, see servicesaustralia.gov.au.

Isolation and loneliness

You might feel lonely if friends stay away or if the LGBTQI+ communities aren’t always as supportive as you’d assumed. Or you may feel too tired to socialise or enjoy your usual activities. Consider joining a support group or call QLife on 1800 184 527 for support.

Available support

Try to look after your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Give yourself some time out and share your concerns with a counsellor or your doctor. There is a wide range of support available to help.

Support services

Support services such as Meals on Wheels, home help or visiting nurses can help you in your caring role. You can find local services, as well as information and resources, through the Carer Gateway. Call 1800 422 737.

Support groups and programs

Many cancer support groups and cancer education programs are open to carers as well as to people with cancer. Support groups and programs offer the chance to share experiences and ways of coping.

Carers Australia

Carers Australia provides information and advocacy for carers. 

Support for young people

Canteen offers support to families with children aged 12–25 who have cancer, or close family member with cancer. Visit canteen.org.au.

Cancer Council

You can call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or visit your local Cancer Council website to find out more about carers’ services.

 

LGBTQI+ People and Cancer

Download our LGBTQI+ People and Cancer booklet to learn more.

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Expert content reviewers:

The chief investigators on the project were Prof Jane Ussher, Prof Janette Perz, Prof Martha Hickey, Prof Suzanne Chambers, Prof Gary Dowsett, Prof Ian Davis, Prof Katherine Boydell, Prof Kerry Robinson and Dr Chloe Parton. Partner investigators were Dr Fiona McDonald and A/Prof Antoinette Anazodo. Research Associates were Dr Rosalie Power, Dr Kimberley Allison and Dr Alexandra J. Hawkey.

Page last updated:

The information on this webpage was adapted from LGBTQI+ People and Cancer (2023 edition). This webpage was last updated in December 2023. 

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