Social work research – LGBTI ageing


Research on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) ageing is relatively new in the Australian context, only gaining the attention of researchers, policy makers and service providers since the early 2000s. The body of research work undertaken in this field by Professor Mark Hughes has developed in parallel with wider reforms occurring in the community around LGBTI rights both generally and in the aged care system.

Mark's various research endeavours have a common focus on improving the quality and effectiveness of service delivery to LGBTI older people. The approach taken throughout these projects was to work closely with community organisations and service providers so they had input into developing research priorities and were able to implement the research findings.

Overview of Impact

Social work research – LGBTI ageing

The impact of this work can be seen in the areas of policy, legislation and service delivery.

The work has been cited in numerous submissions to public inquiries such as the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Caring for Older Australians (2011), the National Safety and Quality Framework in Australian Health (2010) and the Senate Inquiry into Suicide in Australia (2010). Mark gave evidence at the Senate Inquiry into the Exposure Draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill (2013), leading to the reform of the Sex Discrimination Act, which removed the capacity of religious providers of aged care to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender diversity.

Findings from Mark’s research have been cited in government strategy documents and reports (e.g. findings on the fear of discrimination in accessing services were cited in the South Australian Strategy for Inclusion of LGBTIQ People 2014-2016).  Four publications were included in the key reading list of the National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Strategy (2012).

Service providers have included these research findings in numerous reports, training materials and strategic planning documents. For example AIDS Council of NSW (ACON) Health Outcome Strategy, VicHealth (guidance on advance care planning resource) and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (Position Statement on ‘recognising and addressing the mental health needs of the LGBTI population’).

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