A network of central Victorian groups held an information evening to explore opportunities for volunteers and participants for a new organisation dedicated to advocating for the LGBTI community.
LEAD Loddon Murray, Friends Alike Bendigo and Central Victoria, and the North Central Regional LGBTI Network were awarded a state government grant in April this year to help them launch the organisation.
LEAD Loddon Murray executive officer Leah Sertori said they were delighted to have received funding from the state government.
“It will be great to introduce a LGBTI advocacy and leadership organisation for the region, the first of its kind.
“We’ve done a great job of supporting rural and agricultural communities to find their voice, find strength in numbers and put their interests and concerns to federal and state governments.”
Ms Sertori said the marriage equality debate really raised awareness on the need for the public to understand LGBTI community issues.
Harry McAnulty from FAB CV was an organiser for Bendigo Says Yes during the marriage equality debate.
“We want to build on that support by coming together to develop a vibrant and sustainable future for LGBTI groups, organisations and individuals living in central Victoria,” Mr McAnulty said.
“This grant will help us galvanize the support and turn it into real action to assist LGBTI people to step up and be a voice for their communities.
“LGBTI people are often not openly represented in leadership and public positions across central Victoria –this program aims to support capacity building of LGBTI groups and community members to enable increased representation and advocacy.”
Established regional leaders will be encouraged to come on board to help build further awareness and promote an understanding on the issues and opportunities for the LGBTI community.
Justin Di Caprio of the NCR LGBTI Network said he was ‘honoured’ to be a part of the new organisation.
“It’s vitally important the LGBTI community and their allies in rural communities have access to programs like this to support up and coming LGBTI leaders,” he said.
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