THE whole state of Victoria is ready for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) tomorrow, with state’s LGBTI community out in force to mark the occasion.

This year’s theme is Freedom of Expression, with the day now celebrated in well over 100 countries worldwide. Over the past few years Victorian councils and organisations have increasingly got behind the event as an opportunity to celebrate the community’s diversity.

LGBTI radio station Joy 94.9 are presenting an outside broadcast with the AFL in lead up to tonight’s match between the Essendon Bombers and the Sydney Swans. The station is setting up outside Etihad Stadium to present three hours of interviews and special guests from 4–7pm, with a focus on discrimination and diversity in sport.

In Melbourne’s west, a number of city councils have got together to organise a whole host of events, with performances, speakers, and rainbow flag-raising ceremonies in Melton, Wyndham, Brimbank and Hobsons Bay.

In the City of Wyndham today, Transgender Victoria and Ygender launched their new project What Makes an Ally? The initiative is looking to engage young people across the state to find new ways to support the relationships between young trans* and gender diverse people and their allies.

In the City of Hobsons Bay, the IDAHOBIT celebrations will conclude on Monday with a screening of the Westandproud short documentary film project at the Sun Theatre. The films in the project highlight the importance of oral history to the community, and to making sure LGBTI voices are heard.

Equal Love will use the day to mark 10 years since the amendment to the Marriage Act outlawing marriage equality in Australia with a rally outside the State Library of Victoria at 1pm tomorrow, followed by a march to the Parliament Building.

LGBTI youth organisation Minus 18 are getting involved in the international animation competition Loop de Loop, with a “Rainbow” theme to coincide with IDAHOBIT. Selected submissions will be screened internationally, in both Melbourne and Los Angeles.

The celebrations aren’t confined to Melbourne, with communities across rural Victoria taking part.

In Shepparton in Northern Victoria, events are taking place today and tomorrow, with free BBQs, live local performing artists, stalls from LGBTI community organisations and a rainbow flag-raising ceremony. As part of the Shepparton festivities, Daniel Witthaus from the National Institute for Challenging Homophobia Education (NICHE) will launch “oi!”, a campaign to tackle homophobia in rural areas.

Earlier this week the City of Geelong also took part, with a flag-raising over the Geelong City Hall.

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