Melbourne transgender social support network Zoe Belle Gender Centre (ZBGC) has been officially launched, with a gathering held on Sunday to welcome the new community resource.

Although still only a ‘virtual’ centre, ZBGC spokesperson Sally Goldner said she was pleased the initiative was well and truly into its establishment phase.

“We’re looking forward to things moving ahead,” Goldner told Southern Star Observer.

“It’s going to take some time, but I’d expect … we would see the centre up and running over the next three years.”
The launch attracted about 60 people to Radio Bar in Gertrude St.

“We were pretty rapt with the turnout,” Goldner said. “In particular Zoe’s wife and one of their three daughters, who we were very honoured to have.”

The centre is applying for a grant with the Department of Planning and Community Development to do a scoping study on what sort of gender centre is required.

A working group is seeking funding options, with the eventual aim to set up a walk-in support centre, along with online resources.

The centre is currently operating on a small one-off grant from Melbourne gay and lesbian business group GLOBE but would need ongoing funding to run efficiently in the future.

Victoria does not have a dedicated gender centre, unlike NSW which has a Government-funded service in Sydney.

Victorian youth workers have voiced their concerns about the limited resources available when referring young people to appropriate services or to seek information.

ZBGC aims to be a one-stop referral point for Victoria and is asking trans-friendly organisations and businesses to list their services in an online resource directory.

info: To list a trans-friendly business or organisation, visit www.gendercentre.com

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