The Roadshow has met many inspirational and hardworking LGBTI community members, allies and supporters since it began in November 2016.

Achievements

The Roadshow has empowered an overwhelming number of LGBTI community members to connect with their communities and supporters. The roadshow has achieved clear successes in generating cultural and systemic changes in the broader community, including:

  • Clear demonstration of the Victorian Government’s commitment to combatting homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and intersexphobia and promoting LGBTI inclusion across the State
  • Mainstream services and community activities being more knowledgeable, supportive and accessible to LGBTI people
  • Increased awareness and support of sexual and gender diversity amongst communities and mainstream services across the State
  • Shifting the assumption that LGBTI people from rural and regional communities need to move to Melbourne or another urban centre to live safe and rewarding lives

Outcomes

The Roadshow has led to the following outcomes:

  • 90% of towns had local government Councillors commit to supporting LGBTI Inclusion during their terms
  • 5 local councils committed to incorporating LGBTI into their Diversity Plans, with other councils reviewing their diversity plans, protocols and promotional materials;
  • 13 LGBTI working groups formed in communities with other communities in discussion. Members included representatives from council, mainstream health providers, Victoria Police, community organisations and LGBTI community members;
  • 3 Pride Sporting games were held in Roadshow towns following the Roadshow. The model was shared to empower other communities to implement;
  • 23 Inclusion plans created with the local community of initiatives that could be initiated within 6 months of the Roadshow visit;
  • Switchboard Victoria, a volunteer run support service for LGBTI people and their allies, being enabled to establish regional ambassadors;
  • All-gender toilet signs being implemented on the Hume Highway through VicRoads, at Horsham Secondary College, East Gippsland Water and Barwon Water;
  • an LGBTI position being created in a mainstream organisation (Headspace Horsham); and
  • The launch of a Gender Service at Gateway Health in Wodonga providing support, information and referral for trans and gender diverse young people, with the model shared across Victoria.

Stories from the Roadshow

  • One community advocate, an older trans woman, spent a week with the Commissioner and Roadshow team as the LGBTI Equality Roadshow travelled through the Goldfields, Grampians and Wimmera regions. This included her hometown of Stawell. After a week of attending workshops, community dinners and community inclusion planning sessions, this advocate cried, telling everyone, "I feel like I've come home. I've lived here, however I've realised that I felt like I never really belonged. Now I do, I can't believe it".
  • A Health Promotion Officer was asked what he wanted after the LGBTI Equality Roadshow left his small rural community - a town that had a recent history of publicly homophobic incidents . They responded "That it doesn't feel like I'm the only one around here who is working for local LGBTI inclusion". At the end of a community inclusion planning session where every mainstream stakeholder in town committed to publicly support a local LGBTI support group for young people, they broke down with tears of relief. "I can't believe I'm not the only one that cares about this".
  • A parent attended an LGBTI Equality Roadshow session and shared a harrowing tale of the lack of local service options and understanding of their transgender child's needs.After being linked with the appropriate supports, this parent cried, "This will save my child's life".A few months later this parent said, "The Roadshow saved my child's life, and changed my household forever. It was like the [State] Government, someone, was finally listening. It's given me confidence to keep on asking for what my family needs".
  • We spoke with an older man, a publican, and asked him why he’d attended an LGBTI equality workshop. He told us his reason: “I refuse to be ignorant”.
  • We met two government workers who had sat next to each other at the office for years. It was only upon going to an LGBTI equality workshop that was part of the roadshow that they realised they both had gay sons, and had experienced challenging periods when their sons were coming out. Through their courage in taking part in the roadshow, they found the building blocks for a support system within their own workplaces.