Victoria Pledges $15 Million To Build Australia’s First Pride Centre
The Victoria government will spend $15 million to create Australia’s first Pride Centre in next week’s 2016 state budget, according to documents seen by BuzzFeed News.
Tracey Nearmy / AAPIMAGE
The final design, location and timeframe for the “Pride Centre” will be decided in consultation with the LGBTI community and health professionals, but BuzzFeed News understands it will be within Melbourne’s CBD.
State premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the centre is intended to be bigger than San Francisco’s LGBT Community Centre and will showcase LGBTI history and offer free health and support services.
The Chronicle / Paul Chinn / Via sfgate.com
The centre will offer medical services staffed by doctors trained in LGBTI specific issues including gender dysphoria, transitioning and sexual health, and be free for anyone with a Medicare card.
It will serve as a hub for LGBTI groups and organisations to share ideas and resources, with the aim to support equality, diversity and inclusion.
The 2016 state budget will also include $6.4 million for the expansion of gender dysphoria health services to meet the rapidly growing demand from Victoria’s transgender and gender diverse population.
Gender dysphoria is when people identify with a gender other than their birth-assigned gender, and want to make their body match their affirmed gender, either through counselling or transitioning.
The $6.4 million in new funding will be allocated specifically to Monash Health- an agency that is struggling to treat the one hundred-plus patients who seek out its services every year.
Last year’s budget gave additional funding to the Royal Children’s Hospital for gender dysphoria treatment for children aged 5 to 17, which they say doubled their capacity and halved their waiting list.
The funding will help Monash Health expand their gender dysphoria clinic and deliver a more comprehensive multidisciplinary psychiatric and psychological assessment service, additional counselling services plus education and training to build clinical care for transgender Victorians.
The Government aim to roll out gender dysphoria services in the new Pride Centre, once it’s up and running.
“Victoria is doing what every other state government should be doing - and what the Commonwealth should be doing,” said Victorian premier Daniel Andrews.
Andrews is a strong supporter of the LGBTI community and an advocate for same-sex marriage. He told BuzzFeed News his aim is to turn Victoria into the progressive capital of Australia.
“Everyone in our state should have the right to feel respected and safe in being exactly who they are,” he said.
This funding comes as the state prepares to make a formal apology to the LGBTI community in parliament on 24 May for those convicted under unjust and prejudiced laws against homosexual acts.
Newzulu / David Hewison
“Equality is not negotiable in Victoria. Discrimination is wrong in any form - and that’s not negotiable either. Everyone in our state should have the right to be who they are and marry who they love,” Premier Andrews told BuzzFeed News.
AAP / David Moir
Under Andrew’s watch Victoria has become the most progressive state on LGBTI rights: The state has a Minister for Equality (the first in Australia) and rewritten equality opportunity laws to make it harder for faith-based organisations to discrimination against workers because of their sexual orientation.
Next week’s budget is also expected to lock in funding for the Safe Schools program to be rolled out in every school across the state.
Anthony M Leong
Andrews has pledged to make up any shortfall in Safe Schools funding if the federal government proceed with their plan to cut funding to the program in 2017.
“The notion that straight politicians from Canberra, and indeed right wing ultra conservative politicians, re-writing the program… that doesn’t make any sense to us,” he said.
- Alice Workman
To read more, and view pictures, please visit: https://www.buzzfeed.com/aliceworkman/victorias-got-pride