Peter Mac is getting behind Wear it Purple Day to show young LGBTI people that they’re heard and supported when they walk through our doors.

Whether LGBTI young people are at Peter Mac for cancer treatment or here to work in our labs, wards or offices, we want it to be a place where they can feel safe to express who they are.

Peter Mac social worker Mairghread Clarke (pictured above) has been working with young people to develop a resource geared specifically towards LGBTI young people who are diagnosed with cancer. 

Mairghread and her team have spent the past year conducting research and engaging with Peter Mac’s Victorian and Tasmanian Youth Cancer Action Board and young LGBTI patients to formulate a resource that will start to start fill some of the gaps.

We sat down with Mairghread on Wear it Purple Day to talk about her research project.

Tell us about your role here at Peter Mac?

I'm a social worker in ONTrac at Peter Mac Victorian Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Service and I’ve been here for the past five years. Part of my role within that wider multidisciplinary team is supporting young people aged 15-25 when they are diagnosed with cancer and having treatment and even up to 12 months post treatment. 

I’ve been conducting research over the past twelve months to find out more about the intersection between sexuality/gender diversity and cancer and what we can do to improve access for people in this group.

Tell is about the LGBTI resource you’re producing with Peter Mac’s Youth Cancer Action Board.

We are developing a hardcopy resource geared specifically toward LGBTI young people who are diagnosed with cancer. This resource will be visible recognition that says ‘we see you and you’re safe here’.

The content draws on the lived experience of young LGBTI people and includes their stories, anecdotes and experiences with cancer. 

We took the lead for the project from our youth board and LGBTI patients. It will be in their language, their tone, their words. We hope that this first project will provide a springboard to a suite of more targeted resources once we start building an evidence base.

A secondary purpose is that it will be also be a useful resource for healthcare professionals to educate them on some of the unique needs of LGBTI young people. 

Why is it important for us to recognise days like Wear it Purple at Peter Mac?

What an institution or organisation says and does matters. By recognising and celebrating days like Wear it Purple we are showing to LGBTI people that they are safe and welcome here. It also starts a conversation and it’s a visible reminder to young people that they have LGBTI allies here at Peter Mac.  

Click here for more information about Wear it Purple Day