Demolition work on Monroe’s restaurant will begin on Wednesday, making way for construction to commence on the Victorian Pride Centre in May.

Chair of the Victorian Pride Centre Jude Munro AO and Port Phillip Council Mayor Dick Gross were joined by representatives of LGBTIQ organisations the Pride Centre will house in a ceremony to mark the demolition of Fitzroy Street’s long-standing Monroe’s restaurant.

Representatives from Thorne Harbour Health, Switchboard, JOY 94.9, the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, Minus18 and Transgender Victoria joined Munro and VPC board members to symbolically knock out the first brick.

“Port Phillip Council is proud of its history of breaking down barriers to promote a fair and just community where everyone is welcome and valued,” Gross said.

“This is why we contributed $13 million to the VPC. This important landmark will provide a safe place for the LGBTIQ community where their stories, struggles and accomplishments can be shared with visitors.

“We can’t think of a better home for the VPC than St Kilda and we expect the resurgence already underway in Fitzroy Street to continue when this fantastic addition opens its doors.”

Monroe’s first opened in the late 1970s and became a Fitzroy Street institution, later becoming known in the ’90s for welcoming Melbourne’s trans and gender diverse community.

Chair of Transgender Victoria, Brenda Appleton AOM, remembered Monroe’s as a “safe haven for trans people in the 1990s”.

“I look forward to the Pride Centre providing a safe haven for all LGBTIQA+ people and future generations,” Appleton said.

“Trans and gender diverse people have a long connection to this location as various TGD groups would hold formal committee meetings and casual gatherings at Monroe’s,” added Transgender Victoria CEO Sally Goldner.

“We look forward to the Pride Centre continuing the same spirit of pioneering more celebration of diversity for our communities.”

“We are ensuring that the history of site will be reflected in the Pride Centre, either through retaining some of the materials, signage or a plaque,” Munro said.

“Our histories are extremely precious and drive our commitment to creating a safe and inclusive place for all LGBTIQ communities.”

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