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YMCA NSW launches LGBTI employee staff and advocacy group
YMCA NSW has officially launched its LGBTI employee staff and advocacy group, the Affinity Network, to advocate for and facilitate a culture of inclusion and respect regardless of sexuality, gender and expression.
Founding member and YMCA NSW’s Youth Empowerment and Inclusion Coordinator Angus Lonergan said the Affinity Network, the first of its kind for a YMCA in Australia, raised awareness of LGBTI+ people and issues to support the Y as a ‘safe place’.
Lonergan explained “the Affinity Network is an employee support network about advocacy and education, however we want Affinity to mean something more than being just tick-box social group.
“We want it to be a group that provides development opportunities, support when times are tough, and spreads the mantra of empowerment through diversity and inclusion throughout our services.
“This network has the opportunity to mean so much to so many people, to be the difference between feeling safe at work, the difference between others looking to the Y as an employer of choice, the difference between forming exciting partnerships with like-minded organisations. We are at the start of our journey – we know it’s going to be an exciting one with many challenges.”
Lonergan was earlier this year named the Out Role Model at the Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards hosted by ACON’s Pride in Diversity – the national not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTI workplace inclusion.
Speaking on behalf of the organisation at the launch, YMCA NSW interim Chief Executive Lisa Giacomelli advised “globally, nationally and on a community level, since our inception in 1844 the YMCA has always been a place for people to belong. We are deeply committed to these ideals because it is morally right to do so and because we see the incredible value diversity brings; its strength and beauty.
“The Affinity Network is part of our long-term strategy to promote inclusivity and diversity in our organisation and in all the communities we serve and to celebrate the benefits diversity brings. I’m very proud that we are taking this step as an organisation and congratulate the founding members of the Affinity Network for their exceptional work to bring this into being.”
The YMCA is a strong advocate for LGBTI Australians, last year launching the #whynot campaign in support of marriage equality that featured global superstar Boy George covering the pop classic ‘YMCA’.
YMCA NSW also participated in the 2018 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Fair Day.
Yesterday’s launched featured Director, producer and presenter Patrick Abboud and LGBTI activist and Executive Director of change.org, Sally Rugg as guest speakers at the event at Chippendale’s Twenty10.
Also celebrating the launch were YMCA NSW Board members, senior executives and staff including Affinity Network members.
Image (from left): Maxine Kauter, Angus Lonergan, Lisa Giacomelli, Bryan Jader and Patrick Abboud.
20th June 2018 - Athletes, clubs and organisations recognised for LGBTI inclusion
8th April 2018 - New awards to celebrate LGBTI inclusion in Australian sport
20th June 2017 - Boy George records iconic anthem for YMCA campaign
11th January 2017 - YMCA NSW to create innovative wellness facility for the Broken Hill community
3rd December 2016 - YMCA’s Leisa Hart calls for national water safety education program for children
5th July 2016 - AUSTSWIM and YMCA NSW join forces on water safety
1st June 2016 - YMCA NSW Chief Executive to take part in the Vinnes CEO Sleepout
28th April 2016 - YMCA NSW introduces job sharing in communications appointment
16th March 2016 - Major sporting codes sign up for new system to measure LGBTI inclusion
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