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UNSW and Rainbow Families join forces to research the unmapped experiences of LGBTQ+ families and their children in Australia

Recognising the limited research conducted in Australia on LGBTQ+ parents and their children, Rainbow Families and UNSW Sydney have formed a partnership to support a new generation of researchers focused in this area.

The UNSW Rainbow Families PhD Top-Up Scholarship will offer $15,000 per year for 3.5 years (which can be received in addition to a standard scholarship) to help build research capacity, connections and insights which support the Rainbow Families purpose of increasing the visibility and well-being of LGBTQ+ parents and their children.

To find out more about this opportunity, click the link to the info session meet up on 26 October


This scholarship is designed to support doctoral candidates taking a strengths-based approach in the humanities, arts, or social sciences to understanding the experiences and needs of LGBTQ+ parents and their children in Australia.

Strengths-based research matters for this community because there has been a historical neglect of LGBTQ+ families in the Australian census and other large-scale studies, which has sustained a lack of understanding of their specific needs and unique differences.

There is also a continued lack of positive mainstream media portrayals of LGBTQ+ families, and deliberate misrepresentations perpetuated by anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which may contribute to prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination in some settings.

 Executive Officer of Rainbow Families, Ashley Scott, is excited to be working in partnership with UNSW to support the development of a new generation of researchers who can begin to address this gap. Scott envisions a society where LGBTQ+ parents and their children can be seen, valued, and supported, on par with the rest of the community.

“I am excited that finally our community will have an opportunity to be seen. We create family in so many different ways - we are not bound by gender roles, and so many parents in our community are throwing out the rule book and creating amazing families in diverse ways. This is an opportunity for queer parents to show the world that the kids aren’t just alright - our families are happy, healthy and thriving.”

 Professor Christy Newman from UNSW Sydney brings two decades of research experience to this partnership. They will ensure that the successful candidate will have access to the highest quality research training, while also being supported to learn how to appropriately conduct collaborative research in partnership with an LGBTQ+ focused organisation. They will also draw on their personal experiences as a queer/bi+ and non-binary parent of two teenagers, and a longstanding commitment to advocating for LGBTQ+ communities:

 “Research about communities that experience stigma and marginalisation should always be conducted in partnership with the organisations who represent those communities. I’m so excited to work with Rainbow Families in this new partnership which we hope will support more research being conducted on the experiences of queer and trans people in becoming parents, and children growing up in families created outside of cisgender and heterosexual norms. There is so much for us to learn from these families, but we need talented, dedicated researchers to be able to capture those stories, and to use them to create policy and practice recommendations that can improve their lives”


For more information, please visit 

Contact Professor Christy Newman to discuss PhD pathways and topic options.

E: [email protected]


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