at The Wheeler Centre

We Are Family: Supporting LGBTIQA+ Family Members

More than six in ten LGBTIQA+ young people in Australia have experienced family violence or abuse from family members.

How can we make sure that young LGBTIQA+ people are safe, respected and supported at home? What role do parents, siblings and other family members have to play in preventing family violence? And what needs to shift in our communities and society?

Join advocate Sage Akouri, CEO of Drummond Street Karen Field, and activist and CEO of Switchboard Victoria Joe Ball as they unpack what support can and should look like, the challenges that young LGBTIQA+ people and their families continue to face, and the small actions and words that can make a difference. Hosted by Sally Rugg, with an introduction by Respect Victoria CEO Tracey Gaudry and Victorian Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities Ro Allen.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

Presented in partnership with Respect Victoria

We Are Family: Supporting LGBTIQA+ Family Members

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, venue capacity is unfortunately limited. We will not be able to accommodate walk-ups or a waitlist as may have been the case in the past. Read more about our live events plan here. Check our website, follow us on social media or sign up to our e-newsletter The Wheeler Weekly for updates and any late ticket releases.

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Portrait of Sage Akouri

Sage Akouri

Sage (they/them) is a Queer, Non Binary, Person of Colour. Sage is an LGBTIQA+ advocate passionate about social equity and inclusion; and intersectional representation. 

Sage's experience extends across the sector having led several initiatives and programs at Minus18 and Equality Australia supporting the LGBTIQA+ community across Australia. They recently co-founded Speak, a not for profit organisation focused on creating safe spaces for LGBTIQA+ people in regional Victoria.

Portrait of Ro Allen

Ro Allen

Ro Allen is an experienced and longstanding advocate for LGBTIQ Victorians and has held leadership positions in the community and government sectors.

Ro has been a member of three Victorian Government LGBTI ministerial advisory groups and chaired the ministerial advisory committee on LGBTI Health and Wellbeing between 2007 and 2009.

Ro is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and a former Chair of the Adult, Community and Further Education Board, the Victorian Skills Commission, the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVIC), and the Hume Regional Development Australia Committee.

Portrait of Tracey Gaudry

Tracey Gaudry

Tracey Gaudry is the CEO of Respect Victoria, an organisation dedicated to the primary prevention of all forms of family violence and violence against women. Tracey has held leadership roles in corporate, government, community and for-purpose organisations for more than 20 years and has a track record in realising positive social and community change with a focus on ethics and integrity, inclusion, diversity and gender equality.

Portrait of Karen Field

Karen Field

Karen has 30 years experience in developing, managing and delivering a range of public health evidenced based programs and services to communities, families, parents, young people and children. Her work has involved a range of sectors including health (primary and mental health) and welfare, family violence, education and employment, and justice sectors within government and community based organisations. 

She is a campaigner for social justice and the human rights and dignity for all Australian’s and the recognition of all families, this is especially demonstrated in her commitment to Stepfamilies, Refugee and Humanitarian Entrants and their families and the LGBTIQ+ communities and their families.

Portrait of Sally Rugg

Sally Rugg

Sally Rugg is the executive director at She was a campaign director with GetUp and worked at the forefront of Australia's marriage equality campaign. Her first book, How Powerful We Are (Hachette, 2019), is about dirty politics, sophisticated digital campaigning and how Australia finally said 'yes' to love.

Portrait of Joe Ball

Joe Ball

Joe is a longstanding LGBTIQA+ activist and CEO of Switchboard Victoria. Switchboard runs Australia’s only LGBTIQA+ dedicated family violence prevention helpline, the Rainbow Door. Joe believes in grass roots solutions to systemic issues and draws upon LGBTIQA+ history and the wisdom of LGBTIQA+ elders to guide their work. In 2020, Joe was honoured as one of the 50 Outstanding LGBTI+ Leaders in Australia. Joe proudly identifies as trans non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them. Joe works and lives on the lands of the Kulin Nation in Narrm (Melbourne) Victoria.


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