The recent Midsumma Pride March saw our biggest Well Proud turnout in the three years Wellways has taken part in the annual St Kilda event. It was a sea of feathers and rainbows as Wellways staff, consumers, carers and volunteers, together with their families, marched in support of the LGBTIQA community and mental health

People travelled from as far as Warrnambool and Geelong, as well as across metropolitan Melbourne, to be part of the Well Proud network for Pride March. Though staff from Wellways Tasmania who, “due to the tyranny of distance but in the spirit of Pride” couldn’t be there, provided great suggestions for banners: ‘Well proud – love should be visible’ and ‘Proud communities are strong communities’.

Pride March camaraderie saw thousands of people walking alongside one another in an expression of community, solidarity and acceptance.

“I felt like I was with my people for the first time in years,” said one participant.

“I had a sense of belonging, acceptance and significance, and I would love to go again.”

The Wellways Well Proud network, which includes staff and volunteers who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and Asexual (LGBTIQA), as well as their friends, families and allies, is looking beyond showcase events in order to put Pride into practice for LGBTIQA mental health.

Our services are informed by a sensitive approach to LGBTIQA issues, with policies guided by our commitment to community inclusive practices and continual service improvement.

We’re looking at how we present information on our website, the language we use, the training we undertake, the events we support, and how we engage with the LGBTIQA community to understand the issues raised, particularly around isolation and social connection.

While events such as Pride March, the Queer Film Festival, ChillOut and TasPride may draw our regular participation, it’s the way we do our work in the community—including and supporting people of all backgrounds—which will ultimately engender the greatest pride and benefit to others.

If you are interested in getting involved with Well Proud, you can email us or phone 1300 111 400.