At Meridian, we’re about celebrating diversity and strengthening community. We empower our LGBTIQ+ community members to live their best lives and live them proudly. We recognise that every individual is unique and that our differences are what make us who we are. A hub of community connection and service provision, Meridian is a safe space where people with different needs and identities can come together and get support. It’s a place where people can express their whole selves, knowing they will be seen, heard, and accepted.
Our services are person-centred – there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to improving health and wellbeing. At Meridian, we build our services around the goals, needs, and experiences of our clients and communities. We bring our lived experience to our roles so we can walk alongside our clients and build collective resilience against the adverse experiences that impact our communities.
We acknowledge that as a term, LGBTIQ+ has some limitations. It can’t capture the full spectrum of diversity that exists within our communities. We use LGBTIQ+ to refer to diverse identities, sexualities, bodies, and experiences. This includes people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer, agender, non-binary, gender fluid, asexual, and pansexual. Through the + sign, we hope to communicate that labels do not limit our identities, sexualities, and bodies. And while it has its limitations, using the term gives us a powerful tool to explore collective experiences of stigma and discrimination and to advocate for more inclusive services.
As a peer-led organisation embedded in LGBTIQ+ communities, we understand the issues that impact our communities. In many cases, we’ve experienced them personally. Experiences of stigma, discrimination, and abuse are all too common for our LGBTIQ+ community members, and they can have a negative impact on our health and wellbeing, both as individuals and as a collective. As a result of these experiences, LGBTIQ+ people are more likely to experience mental health issues, suicidality, self-harm, substance abuse, domestic violence, and social exclusion. This is especially so for trans and gender diverse community members. LGBTIQ+ people also face barriers when accessing effective and appropriate healthcare services, which can make it harder to seek and get help.
The Meridian team works to change this every day. And to do so, we operate across multiple spaces. Our peer-led counselling service supports our community members to navigate issues affecting their health and wellbeing, and our peer-navigation service helps LGBTIQ+ people access inclusive services. With this support, we empower our community members to develop skills and build confidence to become leaders in their own lives and within the community. We support members of our communities living with and impacted by HIV through our HIV positive counselling and tailored client-support services. And we bring people together to celebrate and nurture our communities’ rich diversity and to strengthen our collective resilience against the adverse effects of stigma, discrimination, and abuse.
We also work to effect systemic change, to prevent stigma, discrimination, and abuse from occurring in the first place. To do this, we use our lived experience to improve the broader community’s understanding of HIV, sex and gender diversity, and the impact of stigma and discrimination on our communities. And we support mainstream service providers and organisations to deliver LGBTIQ+ inclusive and competent services.
Our community members are the reason we’re here. So if you have an idea, question, or feedback about service delivery or gaps in services for LGBTIQ+ Canberrans, please get in touch with our Community Engagement Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 02 6257 2855.
At Meridian, we’re proud to walk with our LGBTIQ+ communities. Together, we are stronger – both as individuals and as a community.