Us mob: gar’ban’djee’lum networkadmin
Us mob: gar’ban’djee’lum network
HIV Australia | Vol. 11 No. 3 | October 2013
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this article of HIV Australia contains names of people who have passed away.
By Dion Tatow
gar’ban’djee’lum (‘us mob’) is an independent social network for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, sistergirls and brotherboys (GLBTSB) in and around Brisbane.
The network, which grew out of the 2 Spirits program at Queensland Association for Healthy Communities (Healthy Communities), carries out the following activities:
- supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GLBTSB people
- advocates for and supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GLBTSB social issues
- shares information to support healthy lifestyles
- celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and sexual identity
- hosts social events
- raises funds to assist members to attend relevant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and/or GLBTSB events.
In November 2012, gar’ban’djee’lum hosted a Healthy Lifestyles Retreat which was attended by 40 members.
The retreat aimed to build participants’ confidence and support them to make informed, positive decisions regarding sexuality, sexual identity, drugs and alcohol, sexual health and general physical health and wellbeing.
The retreat was also an opportunity to increase participants’ knowledge of and access to services within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Members participated in a series of workshops delivered and designed by health professionals that focused on HIV prevention and education.
Presenters at the workshops included Neville Fazulla, a long-term Aboriginal HIV-positive advocate, who shared his personal journey of managing his health and wellbeing.
Brett Mooney and Phillip Sariago from the 2 Spirits program at Healthy Communities provided vital information about HIV and other STIs, and stressed the importance of taking responsibility for one’s own health.
Phil Bennett from Queensland Positive People (QPP) focused on the support services provided by QPP to people living with HIV in our community.
gar’ban’djee’lum also hosts an annual Brown Sugar Dance Party. These events focus on entertainment, socialising, fun and laughter, but also provide opportunities to promote positive health messages, inclusiveness and diversity.
Staff and volunteers from the 2 Spirits program (including gar’ban’djee’lum members) use the event to educate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – particularly gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, sistergirls and brotherboys – about HIV, sexually transmissible infections and blood borne viruses.
Dion Tatow is Manager, Social and Emotional Well Being Workforce Support Unit at the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council. Us mob: gar’ban’djee’lum network