By promoting inclusion, the LGBTIQ+ Rural and Regional Program has aimed to drive long-term benefits for LGBTIQ+ communities, including:
- Improving mental health outcomes
- Boosting population retention and economic inclusion
- Building the capacity for communities to empower themselves, for example, by supporting and developing leaders
- Developing lasting networks between LGBTIQ+ communities, service providers and government agencies; and
- Improving broader community understanding and support for inclusion and diversity.
The program began with a roadshow which travelled across rural and regional Victoria between 2016 and 2017.
During this roadshow, regional and rural communities indicated the need for resources to assist their communities to improve LGBTIQ+ inclusion. A set of resources – known as the Rainbow Ready Roadmap – is currently being developed.
The LGBTIQ+ Rural and Regional Roadshow
In November 2016, the Victorian Government’s first Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities, Ro Allen (previously known as the Gender and Sexuality Commissioner) undertook a roadshow across rural and regional Victoria to promote LGBTIQ+ equality and inclusion.
This roadshow was designed in partnership with communities and was tailored to the specific needs of local areas.
In 2016-17, the roadshow visited more than 29 towns across the state, engaging with local LGBTIQ+ communities, allies, business leaders, representatives of local service providers and local government.
A VicHealth evaluation found the roadshow had a powerful impact on communities, with LGBTIQ+ people reporting greater acceptance and displays of support in their communities. The roadshow also empowered LGBTIQ+ community members to drive change in their local areas through building their skills and confidence. This also helped to improve the commitment of organisations to play their part in achieving LGBTIQ+ equality.
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.
This page features stories about the impact the roadshow on local people and their communities. For more information on what the Roadshow achieved, click here.
The Rainbow Ready Roadmap
During the roadshow, LGBTIQ+ people, as well as supporters and local leaders, consistently identified the need to share and hear about best practices for LGBTIQ+ inclusion across regional and rural communities, including a clear action plan to improve LGBTIQ+ inclusion.
The Rainbow Ready Roadmap is a set of resources being developed to respond to these needs.
Consultations with communities to help create and test these resources are currently being held. The resources will be finalised in 2021 and distributed throughout rural and regional communities online.
An online community update was held in December 2020 to update rural and regional LGBTIQ+ communities about the development of the Rainbow Ready Roadmap, including its structure and the approach being taken. You can view the webinar below.
Highlights and achievements so far.....
The LGBTIQ+ Rural and Regional Roadshow met many
inspirational and hardworking LGBTIQ+ community members, allies and supporters.
"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."