Growing Queer Families Alliance


The Growing Queer Families Alliance was established in 2021 to ensure that CRE HiPP is inclusive of all women and people who experience pregnancy. Our goal is to co-design evidence-based information, supports and resources for, and with, the LGBTIQA+ community.

In particular, we want to celebrate the experiences of conception, pregnancy and birth for the LGBTQA+ community, celebrate the important work of midwives and doctors in supporting this community, and deepen our understanding of reproductive and lifestyle health during these life phases to inform policy and practice.

For more information or to get involved please contact Jacob Thomas at

Meet the Alliance


Jacob Thomas

Jacob Thomas (they/them) is one of Australia’s most prominent leaders in sexual orientation and gender identity. They are currently undertaking their PhD in the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine at Monash University’s Health and Social Care Unit. Jacob is a key advisor on LGBTIQA+ community needs, while teaching and researching the needs of LGBTIQA+ youth. In their spare time Jacob is an advisor to the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, chief advisor to Pride Academy, clothing designer and drag artist.

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Jess Permezel

Jess (she/they) is a queer midwife and a childbirth & parenting educator. With a commitment to public health and health equity, Jess arrived at their midwifery career with a background in community development and organising, and a passion for making sustainable change from a grassroots level. Jess works clinically at a large metropolitan hospital where it is their goal to provide culturally competent, trauma informed care and to remove the barriers to holistic, individualised care for marginalised and vulnerable groups. They also deliver professional development to other midwives and perinatal care providers around providing LGBTIQA+ competent care, and teach LGBTIQA+ specific birth and early parenting classes.

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Amelia Arnold

Amelia Arnold is a cisgender bisexual woman (she/her) and works as a trainer, facilitator, researcher and consultant in areas involving mental health, reproductive health, fertility and LGBTIQA+ topics.

Amelia works with Rainbow Health Victoria - the LGBTIQA+ research translation and training arm of La Trobe University's Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS). Here she coordinates projects within the Capacity Building and Training team, and delivers training to health and human service organisations looking to increase their capacity to deliver safer and affirming services to LGBTIQA+ communities.

Amelia is also available for consultation through her consultancy Queer Health Collaborations, where she works with health services to increase their literacy on LGBTIQA+ reproductive health and fertility, LGBTIQA+ mental health, and LGBTIQA+ diversity and inclusion. 

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Dr Ruth McNair AM

Dr Ruth McNair AM is an Honorary Associate Professor at the Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne, and a general practitioner at an inner-Melbourne general practice. She has clinical and research interests in lesbian and bisexual women’s mental health, sexual health, LGBTIQA+ parenting, trans and gender diverse affirmation, and LGBTIQA+ health care and homelessness. She became a Member of the Order of Australia in 2019 for significant service to medicine and as an advocate for the LGBTIQA+ community.

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Dr Rhonda Brown

Rhonda Brown is a counsellor and family therapist working in private practice. She works with individuals, couples and families, as well as providing clinical supervision to a range of health and counselling professionals. Rhonda has extensive experience working with people of diverse gender and sexuality.

Rhonda’s research interests include physical and mental health outcomes of people of diverse gender and sexuality. She is interested in developing strategies and interventions that promote health and address physical and mental health disparities among marginalised population groups. Rhonda has a particular interest in the experience of creating families and parenting within diverse relationships.

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Professor Helen Skouteris

Helen Skouteris is the Monash Warwick Alliance Joint Professor of Health and Social Care Improvement and Implementation Science, Head of the Health and Social Care Unit, and Co-Lead of the Division of Evidence Synthesis, Qualitative and Implementation Methods, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University. Helen is also Director of the National Health and Medical Research Council Centre of Research Excellence in Health in Preconception and Pregnancy (CRE HiPP 2020-2024).

Helen has a strong track record in longitudinal multi-factorial research, randomised controlled trials, implementation research and higher degree research supervision. Her research since 2010 has been predominantly focused on building agency/capacity in the consumer to promote health and wellbeing across preconception, pregnancy, preschool, and childhood, including adolescence, to reduce the prevalence of obesity. Her work has also been focused extensively on social service and educational sector improvement that translates to better health outcomes for children, young people, adults and families and is critical to transforming policy across these sectors.

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This article in Health Times is relevant to the Growing Queer Families Alliance's mission: 
Are you providing LGBTQIA inclusive health care?