LGBTI Equality Roadshow to create opportunities for Wimmera community
By SARAH SCULLY
Wimmera Pride Project leaders hope a visit from Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Ro Allen will help the group establish a strategy to help improve the lives of LGBTI members of the community.
Ms Allen is in the Wimmera as part of an LGBTI Equality Roadshow, designed to reduce discrimination, share information and promote the importance of inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Victorians in regional communities.
The roadshow rolled into Stawell yesterday and will travel to Horsham tomorrow.
Wimmera Pride Project co-founder Maddi Ostapiw said the roadshow comprised several events concerning LGBTI people, their supporters and key stakeholders in the Wimmera.
“The aim is to raise awareness of homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, intersex phobia; reduce discrimination, recognise the work and achievements or regional and rural programs supporting LGBTI equality, and create networks and connections,” she said.
Ms Ostapiw said the group had been working towards the roadshow for about three months.
She said members had met with stakeholders in the region, including representatives from the health and education sectors.
“The Wimmera Pride Project’s goal is to get everyone we need in one room so we can develop a strategy for the next few years,” she said.
She said the strategy would cover everything from mental-health issues to information in schools to educating community groups about how to be an ‘ally’ for LGBTI people.
Ms Ostapiw encouraged Wimmera people to attend a roadshow event tomorrow or Friday.
The roadshow will kick off in Horsham at 9.30am tomorrow with an LGBTI Equality Workshop at Wimmera Trade Training Centre.
“The workshop will be a practical session looking at the opportunities and challenges of everyday LGBTI inclusion,” Ms Ostapiw said.
“Participants attending will learn about the latest research and hear from local LGBTI individuals and statewide organisations about how they can provide support to LGBTI people.
“They will also have the chance to workshop challenging scenarios that people are experiencing in everyday life. Ms Ostapiw invited residents to a free community dinner at Up Tempo Cafe tomorrow night to celebrate the LGBTI community and its allies.
The dinner, from 6.30pm to 9pm, will feature entertainment from LGBTI artist of the year Dolly Diamond.
Wimmera Uniting Care will host an LGBTI Inclusion Planning Session from 9am to 11am on Friday.
“The session will be an opportunity for key stakeholders to have their say about what a local, LGBTI inclusive community looks like and shape how new conversations and new partnerships will take place locally,” Ms Ostapiw said.
Grampians Community Health’s Rainbow Committee will host a community dinner in Stawell tonight.
Ms Ostapiw said people could visit https://engage.vic.gov.au/lgbti/grampians-wimmera-events to RSVP to any or all of the events, or for more information.