The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre hosted a panel discussion with ACON on the meaningful inclusion and engagement with LGBTQ communities in research as part of our Learning and Development Webinar Series on Thursday 3 June, 2021.

More than 500,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people live in NSW and tens of thousands more visit every year. While many sexuality and gender diverse people live happy and healthy lives, at a population level, LGBTQ communities experience disparities across a range health and wellbeing domains.
ACON is the leading community health organisation specialising in HIV, community health and inclusion responses for sexuality and gender diverse communities in NSW.  ACON seeks to encourage researchers to meaningfully include and engage with LGBTQ communities throughout all stages of the research process.
With an overarching focus on alcohol and other drug (AOD) research this webinar will cover:   

  • The importance of including sexuality and gender diverse people and communities in research
  • Meaningful data inclusion, collection, and reporting as it relates to sexuality and gender identity 
  • Ethical considerations when working alongside LGBTQ communities and an overview of the ACON Research Ethics Review Committee
  • An example of innovative practice in results dissemination and community engagement from the ‘Crystal Pleasures and Sex Between Men’ study.

The webinar was hosted by Jack Freestone, featuring panellists Teddy Cook, Rachel Deacon and Kerryn Drysdale.


About the speakers

Mr Teddy Cook (he/him) has over 15 years of experience in community health and non-government sectors. Joining ACON in 2012, Teddy is currently acting as Director, Community Health where he oversees client services, LGBTQ community health programs, Pride Training and Trans Health Equity. Teddy specialises in community development, health promotion and program delivery, and is architect of TransHub. He is the Vice President of the Australian Professional Association for Trans Health and is Adjunct Lecturer at the Kirby Institute, UNSW. Teddy joins ACON’s senior leadership team as a proud man of trans experience.

Dr Rachel Deacon (she/her) is a Research Associate with the Clinical Research and Evaluation team, SESLHD Drug and Alcohol (D&A) Services, and the Discipline of Addiction Medicine within the University of Sydney. Her work spans research and evaluation within D&A treatment services, and improvement of clinical data collection systems. Rachel also co-leads SWASH, a comprehensive survey of important health issues relevant to lesbian, bisexual, queer and other non-heterosexual identifying women engaged with Sydney’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities, and has been a member of ACON’s Research Ethics and Review Committee since 2017.

Dr Kerryn Drysdale (she/her) is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Research in Health, located within the Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture, UNSW Sydney, and the Community Partnerships Fellow at the Health Equity Research and Development Unit, is a unit jointly held  at UNSW Sydney and Equity and the Sydney Local Health District. Her current area of research lies at the intersection of social inquiry and public health, particularly in the experiences and expressions of health and wellbeing among marginalised and vulnerable communities.

Mr. Jack Freestone (he/him) is a PHD student enrolled with the Kirby Institute at UNSW and working in close collaboration with the National Centre for Clinical Research on Emerging Drugs. Jack is concurrently the Manager of AOD Research and Development Programs at ACON. Jack’s PhD research comprises of two projects addressing substance use among sexuality and gender diverse communities, exploring GHB use and overdose and another evaluating peer led interventions to address harms associated with sexualised drug use. Prior to commencing his PhD, Jack worked as the Manager of Alcohol and Other Drug Programs at ACON. He has worked with LGBTQ communities across the fields of health promotion, service delivery and evaluation, community development and volunteer management for over seven years.

Date Commenced
03 Jun 2021
Resource Type
NDARC Seminars