In 2008, Bec Johnson co-founded a support group for Indigenous lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex and queer women.
Since then, half of the original members have died by suicide.
It's a shocking outcome for IndigiLez Womens Leadership and Support Group, but Ms Johnson said the broader statistics were just as shocking.
"Recent data shows about 80 per cent of LGBTIQ+ people suffer from mental illness. Of those, a high percentage do not access healthcare, and that's concerning for me," Ms Johnson said.
Speaking to the crowd at the recent Rural Doctors Association of Queensland's annual conference in Gladstone, she said GPs had a big role to play in improving the lives of LGBTIQ+ people.
"It tells me that there is a really clear barrier. But we have to be able to listen, to engage, to truth tell, and to know that what we're shaping in standing up for basic human rights is a journey. And that journey contributes to healing," she said.
Ms Johnson is an LGBTIQ+ advocate, proud First Nations woman and an Australian South Sea Islander who was born and raised in Bundaberg.
She is the Brisbane Pride festival president, a Queensland government LGBTIQ+ roundtable member, and has also participated in the United Nations in Geneva on issues impacting LGBTIQ+ human rights.
It wasn't until she was about 21 that she realised the doctor she started seeing was going to become her long term doctor.
"Finally, I got to attend an appointment and I wasn't asked a million questions that I had to say ridiculous answers to," she said.
"I was able to be honest and to tell her who I was and how that came about, and the support that I need, and what that support will need to look like for a little while until I gain a little bit of confidence.
"I'm mindful that back then, there was no person-centred approach. But we're having those yarns now. That's what we're talking about. To get into those uncomfortable spaces. We have to be willing to carry the journey of the knowledge that's been shared with us in the uncomfortable spaces."
Ms Johnson said there was something about being a Queenslander that set her and its residents apart from other states.
"There tends to be this real strong community spirit that we operate through: 'Give old mate a go'," she said.
"It's part of the community. That's the spirit that we want to see, regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity or how we identify or the colour of my skin or my background.
"That I will have the basic human right to sit with you, to yarn with you, to hope that you will take the time to have a worldview and look outside the box.
"It's more than these resources that we put up in the waiting rooms, it's challenging the personal development and the workforce development within our organisations.
"If you have a person that is sitting in front of you that is LGBTIQ+ and you are shifting the power and handing the power over and having an open mind worldview - that no matter what, you are going to listen and shape this person's experience - then that might be the experience that changes their life; that saves their life."
Ms Johnson grew up in Bundaberg as one of eight children and her coming out journey started at 16.
"From 16 till about 18, I didn't really come out, I pretended," she said.
"That didn't work, so I thought I'd sit dad down and tell him. [I said], 'You know dad, I think me and this person are a bit more than friends', and dad's response was, 'That's really great daughter. I'm glad that you have special friends and best friends that can be there for you'.
"I was like, 'No, we're really closer than friends, dad'. He's proper old school and he said to me, 'If you're happy and you're safe, I'm happy. The moment you are not happy and safe, we have a problem'.
"For me, that was a privileged and an easy journey with my old man. For many others, the reality is they are disconnected and not accepted from their family.
"So [a doctor] might be their first point of connection, of trust. That means in the short time that we do have in an appointment, we need to make sure we're hitting the mark."
Ms Johnson then recalled the time she received a phone call from an unknown number while in WA for a conference. It was an invitation to the UN.
"Going over there for a month to work on LGBTQI+ issues really opened my eyes to just how privileged I am in a country where I feel that I'm not privileged at all.
"I heard many stories of people that their lives are at risk, they will be imprisoned and they will be stoned to death, and I remember thinking at the time, what on earth would the UN want with a country girl from the bush in Bundy?"
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