Forum to open discussion on local LGBTIQ community

A FORUM will be held to discuss how Ballarat can be more welcoming to the LGBTIQ community on Monday. 

Creswick resident Andrew Heaver helped organise the event after questioning what was being done when the City of Ballarat adopted a motion supporting the No to Homophobic campaign. 

Mr Heaver said the campaign was a step in the right direction, but was largely a symbolic gesture. 

He had contacted the council to see what else could be done to make Ballarat a more Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Inter Queer (LGBTIQ) welcoming place. 

He said although Ballarat wasn’t overwhelmingly unwelcoming, there were very few signals that Ballarat was safe and accepting for people to be who they are. 

“Little things like having a rainbow sticker in the window, like at Java Lounge, says yes, you are welcome here

and free to be yourself,” Mr Heaver said. 

He said the forum was to have the LGBTIQ community and business community come together to voice their ideas. 

“If only people from the business community came, or only people from the LGBTIQ community came, the event won’t have served its purpose as it’s about that discussion,” Mr Heaver said. 

“This is a chance for Ballarat’s LGBTIQ citizens to have their say about how things can be made better, and for the city’s employers, service providers and decision makers to share ideas about how they can help.”

He said he had reflected on his own personal experiences, but it wasn’t enough to base it around one person’s ideas. 

“The council seems to want to do the right thing, and there are a number of individuals and organisations doing great work to make Ballarat safer and sparklier for same-sex attracted and gender variant folk.

“But we need to get those people together, because there’s a limit to what any one person or organisation can do on their own.”

Mr Heaver said IBM had taken a proactive approach in being inclusive, and a speaker from IBM would present at the forum. 

nicole.cairns@fairfaxmedia.com.au

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: The Ballarat LGBTIQ Inclusion Forum

WHERE: Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka

WHEN: Monday May 12, 6.30pm to 8.30pm

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