Why Claire Wears it Purple

Published 23 August 2023

Woman standing on balcony with a rainforest view, wearing a tshirt that says "wear it purple"

Assistant Community Engagement Officer, Claire Williams, joined Anti-Discrimination NSW (ADNSW) in 2005. With a background in psychology and training, and extensive experience working with diverse communities and not-for-profit organisations, Claire is passionate about supporting, developing and empowering young people, carers and LGBTQA+ people.

We talked to her about what Wear it Purple Day means, and highlights of her work.

What does Wear it Purple Day mean to you?

Wear it Purple Day is an annual awareness day for gender-diverse young people in Australia. Supporters wear purple to celebrate diversity and show support for young people from the LGBTIQA+ community.

Many gender-diverse people experience poor mental health and higher risk of suicide than their peers, research shows. This is directly related to experiences of stigma, prejudice, discrimination and abuse.

I wear purple on August 25 to say I support LGBTI+ young people in Australia and everywhere.

What do you love about your role?

My role is to consult and collaborate with community groups to understand and highlight their experiences. This helps ADNSW continue to be relevant and effective, and address key issues and concerns.

Over the years, I’ve facilitated many information sessions with community groups and organisations. I’ve participated in many fabulous community events, from Mardi Gras Fair Day to International Day of People with Disability, Carers Week and Harmony Day.

I work in a great team and wonderful organisation. Every day is different. It’s a privilege to work with people and talk to them about our services. Diverse communities often lack support and appropriate information. This has motivated me in my work, to make a positive impact on people’s lives by providing information and referrals to services.

I love the lightbulb moments community members experience during an information session. Their relief when they learn how they can easily use our free services, including our enquiry line and conciliation services - and can make a complaint in their own language.

What are some of the highlights from your time at ADNSW?

Mardi Gras Fair Day at Sydney’s Victoria Park is always a fantastic event, and I enjoy coordinating our stall. This year Sydney also hosted WorldPride, and our team had an interactive stall at the conference.

I’ve been privileged to work with many amazing organisations and run workshops with their members and staff. Recent examples include Rainbow Families (a voice for LGBTQ+ parents and their kids), Twenty10 (supporting young LGBTIQA+ folks) and ACON (a global leader in community health, inclusion, and HIV responses for people of diverse sexualities and genders).

Working with the Gender Centre has been a highlight. I worked with them recently to provide Department of Communities and Justice staff training and a webinar for Legal Aid NSW.

I’ve also facilitated workshops with the Advocate for Children and Young People, their Youth Advisory Council and the Office of Regional Youth Taskforce, hearing about young people’s experiences of discrimination in NSW.

I work with Carers NSW, and have enjoyed running workshops for young and adult carers, and presenting at their conference. We developed online fact sheets about carers discrimination at work and are working together on stage 2 of a Carer Rights Education Project.

I’m a proud member of Parramatta Queer Forum, an initiative run by ACON that organises safe and inclusive activities in western Sydney for the LGBTQ+ community. We worked with ACON to ensure TransHub (a digital information and resource platform for trans and gender diverse people in NSW) had accurate information about our services.

Do you think community engagement has changed over the years?

Participating in outreach and community events has been amazing throughout my time at ADNSW. During COVID-19 this transformed into further collaboration with other agencies and online events, which have been very successful for us, and an interesting experience. A lot of my work continues to be online to ensure greater reach and accessibility.

Last updated:

31 Aug 2023

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