LGBTI Equality Rural and Regional Roadshow
The Rural and Regional Program aims to drive long term benefits for LGBTI communities including:
- Improved mental health outcomes
- Greater population retention and economic inclusion
- Capacity building for communities to empower themselves e.g. developing leaders
- Building lasting networks between LGBTI community, service providers and government agencies
- Greater broader community understanding and support for inclusion and diversity.
In 2016, Victoria Government's first Gender and Sexuality Commissioner, Ro Allen, undertook an LGBTI Equality Roadshow across rural and regional Victoria. Working with local LGBTI communities, key stakeholders and allies, the roadshow included workshops, community dinners, networking opportunities and other community events.
The LGBTI Equality Roadshow visited over 29 towns across Victoria since November 2016.
Towns visited include Swan Hill, Shepparton, Mildura, Ballarat, Stawell, Horsham, Geelong, Bairnsdale, Morwell, Wonthaggi, Violet Town, Benalla, Wangaratta, Wodonga, Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton, Colac, Bendigo, Buloke Shire (Donald, Charlton and Wycheproof), Kerang, Macedon Ranges, Cohuna, Nhill and Ararat.
Through a co-design approach, the program has worked with communities to understand issues, tailor visits to each community and give priority to local LGBTI voices. Since it began the program has hosted over 220 engagement activities with over 2500 attendees with each town visited more than once.
As part of the evolution of the Program, a two-day regional and rural LGBTI Community of Practice was held in April 2018 to share best practice and learnings through a co-design process.
The Community of Practice brought together nearly 80 regional and rural leaders together and was the first of its kind in Australia.
The next phase of the Program over 2018 to 2020 will respond to emerging community needs and challenges and will continue to be driven by co-design principles.
Highlights and achievements so far.....
The Rural and Regional Program has met many inspirational and hardworking LGBTI community members, allies and supporters since it began in November 2016.
"They stepped out of their offices, into a bus. They stepped out of the world of policy and legislation, and opened their hearts and minds to the community they served. They challenged rural community organisations to live out those principle of inclusion and diversity that populated their local policies and procedures."