The ALSO Foundation is hosting its annual rural forum this month.

Held in Ballarat on June 25 and 26, the event will include workshops on issues for rural GLBTI community members and those who work in the field of youth health or with same-sex attracted and transgender young people.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission CEO Helen Szoke will launch a new WayOut Project initiative, OUTThere -” the Rural Victorian Youth Council for Sexual Diversity. The council has been in operation for 12 months.

OUTThere is made up of young people involved in GLBTI partner agencies from towns across the state ranging from Warnambool to Shepparton.

The group is looking to conduct a range of activities including online research with rural secondary students and teachers to track the level of homophobia in rural schools and to document schools proactively creating safer environments.

The OUTThere initiative aims to engage with local and often isolated communities in promoting a culture of acceptance.

Organisers of the rural forum say the event is designed to bring rural people together and workshop ideas that can be used to buld support networks in isolated communities.

info: Registrations open at also.org.au

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