The dominant models for explaining family violence, domestic violence and intimate partner violence are both binary gendered and heteronormative. These models widely used in research, government policy, the services sector and broader society, focus exclusively on “the most dominant pattern of violence occurring in the home: the gender-specific dynamics of violence perpetrated by men against women” (Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, 2011). While this focus on the unequal power relationships between men and women accurately describes the majority of family violence occurring in Australia, it also serves to exclude, hide or disregard the dynamics of violence in same-sex relationships, relationships involving heterosexual trans people, or those involving non-binary and/or intersex people. We would argue that many LGBTIQ+ people do not identify what they are experiencing or have experienced as family violence due to the general lack of recognition of its existence in same-sex or gender diverse relationships (Leonard et al. 2006).
We recognise that LGBTIQ+ people experience violence in their families and relationships at similar if not higher rates to non-LGBTIQ+ people. Undercurrent’s LGBTIQ+ workshop program is appropriate for groups of LGBTIQ+ young people or adults. This program is designed to affirm LGBTIQ+ identities and experiences, and to provide space for LGBTIQ+ participants to have discussions about relationship and family violence that are specific, appropriate and centre their experiences.
We can run single or multi-session workshops. Research shows that education programs are more effective in changing attitudes, beliefs and behaviours when they run over multiple sessions. Our facilitators also prefer multi-session workshops as they give space for participants to develop deeper critical thinking skills, and provide an opportunity to talk in depth about the topics. We recognise that it can be hard to find time to incorporate multiple workshops into your curriculum or program, and we are able to adapt our workshops to fit into the time you have available. At a minimum our workshops run for 90 minutes. We design workshops specifically to address the needs of schools/organisations/groups/young people, and take into account the time requirements of the workshops, and the age of the participants.
As we believe in the importance of peer facilitation, our LGBTIQ+ programs are always run by facilitators who identify as LGBTIQ+. Workshop participants can often relate to our facilitators, and often acknowledge feeling able to have honest and involved discussions around issues relevant to them, and to ask questions they may not always feel comfortable asking. We aim to give participants the tools to explore their own ideas in a positive and non-judgemental space.
Some of the topics and exercises that we can cover in workshops include:
Relationship skills - negotiating boundaries, communication strategies, expectations and assumptions
Relationships with sex, body image, identity, community and popular culture
Recognising types of violence and exploring homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and misogyny
Power and control in both friendships and intimate partner relationships
Frameworks for understanding violence within LGBTIQ+ relationships and against LGBTIQ+ people/communities
Deconstructing gender. We recognise that everyone experiences gender differently and we aim to discuss gender in ways that are empowering and inclusive for trans and non-binary participants
Supporting LGBTIQ+ people who have experienced violence
Resources & support services appropriate for LGBTIQ+ people and their allies
Sexual health and sex education - we discuss sex and sexuality in ways that aim to de-centre compulsory heterosexuality, and that are inclusive of trans and non-binary people
Consent - realities, challenges, and empowerment in sexual decision making and respectful sexual choices
Feedback we have received about our LGBTIQ+ program in 2018:
“It’s good to talk about things that are often considered ‘taboo’ for example violence.”
“It’s really helpful and interesting listening and understanding others opinions.”
“Got to speak to other LGBT+ people about these issues.”
“I have friends who have been in abusive relationships so now I know more about how I can help.”
“It can be both validating and refreshing to talk about these things without being judged.”
“The opinions of others helped myself to understand my own and other’s views.”
“I feel safer with this group of people”
“Freedom to discuss LGBT issues (some people never listen to or believe me).”
“Being in a safe space and talking about things that feel unsafe in a healing and educational way”
“Discussions about consent, context driven, relationships, negotiating boundaries, how might go about thinking about things “
“Being in a group setting with other survivors discussing things that aren’t addressed enough given their importance”
“Learning and sharing with people from my community is really helpful and educating”
“Shared feeling of learning, support and compassion and the discussions about different values in relationships”
“Challenging some myths and assumptions around LGBTIQ sexuality and consent, talking with other participants”
“Discussing how to support someone who shares their experience of sexual assault with you”
Free or by donation.