The Lived Experience Speakers Bureau was established by the Canberra Inclusive Partnership, an alliance of agencies in the ACT working together to contribute to a community where LGBTIQA+ people are healthier, more resilient, and have a stronger community identity, improved social capital and increased connection. The Canberra Inclusive Partnership is funded by the Office of LGBTIQ+ Affairs (ACT Government).  The Canberra Inclusive Partnership is led by Meridian and A Gender Agenda (AGA) with support from Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT (SHFPACT), and Northside Community Services.

The speakers bureau aims to amplify the voices and experiences of people with diverse identities and experiences who are too often marginalised in our community. Real voices and real stories deepen understanding, foster connection and develop intuition. We know that providing forums for people to share their lived experience is a powerful mechanism for fostering inclusion and reducing myths, fear, stigma, and discrimination.  

The speakers bureau is designed to complement education and training on LGBTIQA+ awareness and inclusion provided by the Canberra Inclusive Partnership. The speakers bureau is not training nor education - speakers often accompany and support the training services provided by Meridian. AGA or the work of SHFPACT through the Safe and Inclusive Schools Initiative (SIAS). Presentations from the lived experience speakers are not designed to be a training or education session.


About training and Education 

Meridian and AGA provide comprehensive training, information, and educational services to assist community organisations, groups, businesses and others to increase their knowledge and understanding of people with diverse sexuality and gender identities as well as people with an intersex variation - broadly this is termed LGBTIQA+. 

Meridian specialises in LGBTIQA+ awareness an inclusivity [AI] © training focusing on fundamental concepts of sex, gender and sexuality and inclusive practices tools to help build organisational cultural competency.  Added to this core curriculum, Meridian has developed training modules specifically targeting focus areas including AOD, mental health and Allyship.

AGA specialises in a more complex or nuanced training program specific to trans, gender diverse and intersex people and communities. 

There are many great options for training in the ACT through both AGA and Meridian.

The Lived Experience Speakers Program is not training. Meridian and AGA trainers are community members and allies with lived experience however there is a distinct difference in the education/training provided and the lived experience speakers bureau.  Whilst training is evidence based and incorporates lived experience and peer-driven stories the speaker bureau focuses on lived experiences and personal stories to inspire, celebrate and acknowledge diversity.  The Lived Experience Speakers Bureau is collection of speakers who talk about their lived experience as a way to share stories and break down barriers. 

For more information on education and training please see the links below - 

Training and Education - meridianact2

Training - A Gender Agenda (genderrights.org.au)