Victoria announces 'Australian first' LGBTI Multicultural grants

The Victorian government has announced grants funding designed to support lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex communities and organisations in becoming more inclusive of people from non-English speaking backgrounds.

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The Victorian State Government said it was making $500,000 available over four years to reduce the discrimination and everyday challenges that LGBTI people from migrant backgrounds face.

The LGBTI Multicultural grants are believed to be the first of their kind in Australia, and are being managed through the newly-opened and programs.

In announcing the investment, the government said research had found LGBTI people experience higher levels of anxiety, depression and significantly higher rates of suicide compared to the rest of the population.

It said while funding and support for those identifying as LGBTI had increased in recent years, there had been limited specific support for people from non-English speaking backgrounds.

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The state Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality, Rowena Allen, said the grants program would help address this deficiency.

"The aim of the grants will be, hopefully, to work with the leadership within the multicultural community to help them understand most about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex issues within their communities," she said.

"And also to support the people that are coming-out in their communities as well."

"All people deserve to live free of discrimination"
The Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott said it was believed to be the first time in Australia that government funding had been designated in such a way.

"Members of the LGBTI community who come from culturally-diverse backgrounds often face significant challenges," he said.

"These grants are really about ensuring equality for all people and ensuring that people are free of discrimination in their day to day life."

He said the initiative seeks to have a unifying outcome.

"I think it is important because there are some challenges people can face coming from communities where there are conservative attitudes and more traditional views around human sexuality," he said.

"But all people deserve to live free of discrimination and to be able to get support to face the challenges that LGBTI people face."

"And we are certainly focused as a government on ensuring all Victorians are supported appropriately and can live a life free of discrimination."

The grants will be funded from the budget of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship.

2 min read
Published 15 March 2016 at 10:21am
By Naomi Selvaratnam
Source: SBS News