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Supporting Victoria’s LGBTI communities

gay pride

With work already underway on Australia’s first Pride Centre, the LGBTI Equality Roadshow travelling throughout regional Victoria and more dedicated grants programs, Labor has made it clear – equality is not negotiable.

But there’s more to do and a re-elected Labor Government will deliver $6.4 million in a range of initiatives to further support our LGBTI community, an official press release said on Nov 17.

Acknowledging the courage and resilience of our LGBTI communities, a re-elected Labor Government will back a Melbourne Pride 2021 celebration – marking 40 years since State Parliament decriminalised homosexuality.

The event is dedicated to marking this important milestone, and recognising the LGBTI communities’ long fight for equality, led by our LGBTI elders and trailblazers.

Visit Victoria – working alongside community leaders – will organise the event, aligning Melbourne with significant Pride events around the world, including London, New York and Berlin.

This commitment builds on Labor’s ongoing support for the annual Midsumma Festival and Pride March, and is also expected to make a healthy contribution to the state’s economy, supporting local tourism and jobs, the release said.

In addition, our Pride Events and Festivals Fund will be given a $200,000 boost, specifically for regional and rural pride events.

LGBTI Victorians and their loved ones will also get more support – including family counselling and better access to homelessness services.

Labor will dedicate $2.5 million to expanding family counselling services for LGBTI Victorians and the people who care about them the most.

A gap identified by many in our LGBTI communities, this funding will go towards providing free counselling services for families as they come to terms with their loved ones’ orientation or identity.

By providing dedicated assistance to help families understand and support their LGBTI loved ones, this investment is devoted to keeping families together, and making sure LGBTI Victorians feel safe and valued, the release further said.

Recognising the heartbreakingly high rate of mental illness and suicide for LGBTI people, an additional $500,000 will go to increasing mental health support, including through Switchboard Victoria.

A re-elected Labor Government will also dedicate $3 million towards specifically targeting the root causes of homelessness for LGBTI Victorians, and ensuring existing providers deliver safe and LGBTI-inclusive services.

LGBTI people are more than twice as likely to become homeless, and often at a younger age. By working to address the causes – which can include discrimination or not being accepted at home – a re-elected Labor Government will help more LGBTI Victorians avoid life on the streets.

Labor will also continue to fight discrimination in all its forms and ensure LGBTI voices remain at the decision-making table by re-committing to the LGBTI Taskforce to continue our agenda of reform.

We remain committed to removing barriers for trans, gender diverse and intersex Victorians seeking new birth certificates that reflect their gender identity, a move that was previously blocked in Parliament by the Liberals, the release added.

Labor will also await the progress of the federal Discrimination Free Schools Bill 2018, and if gaps remain in protections for LGBTI students, teachers or staff, a re-elected Labor Government will introduce amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.

(TIW)

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