BreastScreen Victoria’s #BeautifulWomen campaign a celebration of self
One in eight Victorian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and so BreastScreen Victoria is committed to providing inclusive and accessible services that recognises and respects the diversity of our community.
BreastScreen Victoria has collaborated with photographer Lisa White for the Midsumma Festival Premier Event, Beautiful Women, a campaign celebrating the beauty of LGBTI women and the contributions that they have made in challenging narrow definitions of female beauty.
The Beautiful Women exhibition is free and will run from 21 January to 12 February, 2017.
BreastScreen Victoria has collaborated with White as part of the organisation’s commitment providing LGBTI inclusive services that recognise and respect women’s diversity.
Older lesbian and bisexual women are significantly less likely to screen regularly. While there is limited evidence about breast cancer risk for transgender people, we know that hormone therapy increases breast cancer risk in transgender women.
BreastScreen Victoria CEO Vicki Pridmore said the images and messages from the Beautiful Women campaign will be used for a health promotion campaign to increase awareness of breast cancer and encourage screening by LGBTI women.
“BreastScreen Victoria is committed to achieving Rainbow Tick accreditation for our services over the next two years, so that LGBTI women can be assured that our staff will provide LGBTI inclusive services,” she said.
If successful, BreastScreen Victoria will be the first service of the national breast screening programs to achieve the Rainbow Tick.
Dr Catherine Barrett, Director of Celebrate Ageing and project co-ordinator for the development of the Rainbow Tick has been working alongside BreastScreen Victoria to improve outcomes for LGBTI women. Dr Barrett explained that while there was an initial search for 20 women to participate in the Beautiful Women project, the response was so positive that double that put their hand up to be photographed.
“The timing for this project was right,” Dr Barrett said. “In reaching out to my own networks to find the people willing to participate there was definitely a sense in reaction to the topic of what makes a beautiful woman of, ‘why not me?’ and ‘I should be celebrated,’. It has got a lot of women thinking about the importance of being proud of who they are.”
Midsumma Program Manager, Daniel Santangeli, said that Lisa White’s photography would prompt people to consider their own perceptions of beauty.
“We live in an image-saturated society but diverse bodies are rarely seen on our screens and in our advertising,” he said. “Lisa White's photographic portraits play a powerful role in making some of Australia's most marginalised visible.”
Artist Lisa White, known as ‘The Social Photographer’, has merged social activism and creative skill in collating the images for the exhibition.
Lisa White said the images tell stories of everyday lives and aim to build understanding across diverse communities.
“The Beautiful Women project is storytelling at its very best,” Ms White said. “The women who participated showed a willingness to be open and their physical presence has allowed me to capture the essence of their experience in society.”
BreastScreen Victoria has already been recognised a best practice example in LGBTI-inclusive health and community service practice by the Victorian State Government.
Beautiful Women exhibition
Venue: Incinerator Gallery | 180 Holmes Road, Moonee Ponds, 3039
Date: 21 January – 12 February
Times: Exhibition open Tues – Sun 11am–4pm
Tickets: FREE ENTRY
About BreastScreen Victoria
- BreastScreen Victoria is an accredited part of BreastScreen Australia, jointly funded by State and Federal Governments.
- Women, aged 50-74, are invited for free breast screens as part of the service.
- BreastScreen Victoria operates across the state, providing both fixed clinics and a Mobile Screening Service for equitable access throughout regional, rural and metropolitan communities.
- BreastScreen Victoria doesn’t ask women to identify sexual orientation/gender identity.
About breast cancer
- 1 in 8 Victorian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime – 75% of those will be over the age of 50.
- 9 out of 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. While women with a family history of breast cancer have a higher than average risk, the biggest risk factor for breast cancer is being a woman over the age of 50.
- Older lesbian and bisexual women were significantly less likely to check their breasts and to have regular breast screens than exclusively heterosexual women. They were also more likely to be high risk drinkers and heavy smokers, factors that increase their risk of developing breast cancer. This means these women aren’t giving themselves the best chance for early detection and successful treatment of breast cancer.
- For transgender women and men, we know that hormone therapy increases breast cancer risk however, there is limited evidence about when they need to be screened.