Silver Rainbow: A case study from Northern Territory AIDS & Hepatitis Council (NTAHC)

This case study demonstrates the theory of change working in practice. Through their engagement with their communities, alignment with the sector and their adaptation, the Northern Territory AIDS & Hepatitis Council (NTAHC) was able to achieve increased reach, increased effectiveness, increased efficiency, and stronger partnerships – all of which, led to better outcomes for their communities.

Many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) people are concerned about how they will be treated in the aged care system, given past experiences of prejudice and discrimination, and may feel uncomfortable or unsafe in disclosing their identities. The resulting invisibility of older LGBTIQ people, and a lack of awareness from people working in the sector, can lead to the needs of older LGBTIQ people being unrecognised.

In response to this challenge, the National LGBTIQ Health Alliance developed the Silver Rainbow project, which (among other strategies) delivers LGBTIQ aged care awareness training to service providers, policy makers and governments. Strong partnerships between AIDS Councils and other organisations in this peak body (alignment) allow this training to be managed at a national level, but adapted and delivered by local organisations (engagement and adaptation), which increases efficiencies.

As part of the Rainbow Alliance, NTAHC has responsibility for delivering Silver Rainbow training in the Northern Territory. Sessions have been delivered in Darwin, Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Tenant Creek and Alice Springs. To meet the needs of the Northern Territory, the training has a focus on the intersection of LGBTIQ issues and cultural diversity, particularly the needs of older Indigenous LGBTIQ people (relevance). The training is co- presented by Indigenous sister-girls who share their lived experiences and stories specific to the local community, increasing the credibility of the training. NTAHC has found that this kind of peer leadership leads to more interaction and a better reception of the training, increasing its effectiveness. This peer leadership strategy also provides an opportunity for LGBTIQ people to be the drivers of change in their communities.

The one-day training includes topics such as: gender identity and gender expression; the effects of stigma and discrimination on the health of LGBTIQ people; inclusive practice in the workplace; and specific LGBTIQ ageing issues. The training has been well- received, with comments from participants like: “Training was fantastic and comprehensive and much needed” and “Opened my eyes to the challenges they [LGBTIQ people] may face”. By raising awareness and reducing stigma, Silver Rainbow training contributes to building an environment where older LGBTIQ people can receive the services they need, including services to reduce their risk of HIV transmission.

NTAHC’s ability to provide high-quality training with an authentic and practical message for positive change has led to interest from other organisations in the Northern Territory, such as corrections facilities, in receiving similar training around LGBTIQ awareness (increased reach). NTAHC continues to build relationships with the broader health and services sectors to support their goal of safe, inclusive and stigma-free communities.

Case Study Theory of Change















HIV transmission
are reduced

Communities are safe, inclusive and free from stigma and discrimination