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A message from our CEO - May 2024

As we all head into June my mind turns to Pride Month, and celebrating the diversity of the LGBTIQA+ communities.

Across the world we will see Pride celebrations erupt with people dressing fabulously, standing proud, and claiming their space in local communities. How far we have come since homosexuality was erased from the psychiatric diagnostic books as a ‘mental illness’ in the 1970s.

In reflecting on that history, we are still reminded of the trauma of conversion therapy and the efforts here in Australia and internationally to ban it and its terrible, traumatising effects on people’s mental health. We’re also reminded of the criminalisation of homosexuality in many countries across the world, with some still exacting the death penalty.

This week I was able to join in an event celebrating LGBTIQA+ inclusion in workplaces. It was an amazing opportunity to celebrate organisations large and small, and their inclusive approaches and supports for their LGBTIQA+ staff. The smiles on peoples’ faces demonstrated the positive impact being able to bring your whole self to work makes.

But as we think about all of these issues and the progress we have made I acknowledge that we have so much more to do so before we can truly say our workplaces and communities are welcoming and safe for everyone. Diversity and inclusion in workplaces and communities is an ongoing project for all communities, organisations, and each of us, as we strive to create welcoming spaces for everyone no matter their sexuality, gender identity, intersex status, culture, religion or any other diversity characteristics we can name.

As a Member of Pride in Inclusion and Pride in Health and Wellbeing, programs run by ACON, Australia’s leading LGBTQ+ health organisation, Flourish Australia is committed to respecting and supporting our team members and people accessing our services from LGBTIQA+ communities. But in this commitment we are also committed to diversity and inclusion more generally, knowing that the people who come to us for support are as diverse as the communities we work in.

Feeling safe, respected and valued are important foundations for good mental health. Celebrating Pride Month, and being a beacon diversity and welcome, is an important sign of hope to others that there is a better tomorrow where we all live free to be who we are and equal in our rights and responsibilities.

I hope you enjoy reading Helena, Mark, Ebony and Dorothy’s stories of recovery and hope for a better tomorrow in this month’s newsletter.


Mark Orr AM

Chief Executive