How will we build a community that is better together?

As part of Better Together® 2024, the national rainbow conference organised by The Equality Project, Pride by Side facilitated an interactive two-hour session to explore how we might create a more collaborative rainbow community.

Approximately 60 participants from the rainbow community, allies, government, and other stakeholders engaged in generative conversation using a World Café format.

This page is a super condensed list key insights from the session, but you can also read the full summary.

People sitting around a table brainstorming and chatting
People standing around a table brainstorming and chattingRavi Teja and Lee Crockford facilitating a world cafe


A vision of the future

A deeply collaborative LGBTQIA+ community is one that is:

· Inclusive and diverse, respecting all identities within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, ensuring representation, and creating an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued.

· Genuinely connected and supportive, creating safer spaces for all voices, providing support during vulnerable times, and fostering mutual solidarity and hope.

· Transparent, honest, and respectful dialogue, and constructive conflict resolution without fear of judgement or backlash.

· United by shared values and purpose, prioritising collaboration over competition, recognising each person’s contributions, and sharing resources and knowledge to enhance collective impact.

· Resilient, challenges power dynamics, supports personal and professional growth, and shows genuine commitment in words, actions, and decisions.


The session brought to the surface a mix of structural, systemic, interpersonal, and resourcing barriers to bringing this vision of a deeply collaborative community to life:

· Limited resources and funding: Limited time, money, and energy are significant barriers. Reliance on volunteers often leads to burnout and insufficient ongoing support for initiatives.

· Social and structural barriers: Discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, and systemic structures built on dominant group assumptions are posing challenges. Government policies, corporate donors, and societal norms perpetuate exclusion and hinder collaboration.

· Internal conflicts and competition: Internal conflicts, lateral violence, and competition within the LGBTQIA+ community are creating divisions. Structural powers and competition for grants are hindering collective progress.

· Lack of inclusivity and representation: Absence of key voices and understanding of intersectionality are major issues. Barriers include geographic isolation, systemic exclusion, and a lack of diverse representation.

· Communication and collaboration challenges: Effective communication is hindered by language differences and lack of awareness about all communities under the rainbow.

A roadmap of action

How can we start breaking down these barriers?

Addressing structural and financial barriers:
· Explore new funding models, such as tying funding for larger organisations to support smaller grassroots groups and offering grant application assistance.
· Build trust within the community and with external stakeholders to promote genuine co-design and co-production practices.
· Take collective action to dismantle existing power structures that perpetuate exclusion and inequality.

Building inclusivity and overcoming bias:
· Implement training programs to raise awareness about unconscious biases, lateral violence, and systemic discrimination, including resilience building and conflict management education.
· Establish inclusive environments where all voices can be heard without fear of judgement or backlash.
· Consult widely to understand the needs of different community members, and design inclusive governance structures.
· Increase visibility of all identities through campaigns, public engagements, and educational initiatives to combat ignorance and tokenism.

Promoting sustainable collaboration:
· Foster communities of practice and facilitate cross-sector collaboration among individuals, organisations, and government entities at local, state, and federal levels to achieve shared goals.
· Encourage improved time management and long-term strategic planning for sustainable efforts, including mapping individual skills and community assets to optimise resource use.
· Develop mentorship and peer support programs to alleviate pressure on individuals and prevent burnout, with support from leaders and the creation of psychological safety nets.

Encouraging collective action and shared purpose:
· Foster a shared vision and collective goals that all members can work towards, aligning values and creating a common purpose that transcends individual differences.
· Maintain national and global connections to exchange ideas and support each other’s efforts, engaging in collective action on common issues nationally and learning from successful practices globally.

Towards the end of the session, the participants committed to one action they can implement in their work to contribute to building a more collaborative LGBTQIA+ community. Read their commitments as well as comprehensive insights from the session in the full summary.