A NATIONAL weekend retreat for trans and gender diverse Aboriginal people will be held for the first time in Victoria later this year.

The Victorian Government announced the retreat as a way to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHoBIT).

The Kunghah: Brotherboys and Sistergirls Retreat will give trans and gender diverse Aboriginal people the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge, as well as to address community issues.

Gender and sexuality commissioner Rowena Allen will host the retreat.

“I’m pleased that LGBTI Aboriginal people, especially Brotherboys and Sistergirls, will have this important opportunity to meet and talk together in a safe space about their aspirations and issues,” Allen told the Star Observer.

“It is vital to cater to diversity within diversity within our community, by providing opportunities not only for LGBTI people and for Aboriginal people, but for those who are both.”

The retreat was developed by the state government following consultation with Aboriginal Victorians and recommendations from the 2015 Victorian Koorie Youth Summit.

Minister for Equality Martin Foley said the government has zero tolerance for discrimination.

“I encourage all Aboriginal people who identify as Brotherboys and Sistergirls, gender diverse and LGBTI, to be involved in this important event,” he said.

“We will not tolerate any form of discrimination… we know LGBTI people, particularly those from culturally diverse backgrounds, are more likely to be discriminated against and programs like this will work to reverse this.

“Strong communities value and celebrate a range of differences, this is what makes Victoria such a welcoming and diverse place to live.”

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins said the retreat will be important in allowing Aboriginal people to set the agenda.

“It’s fantastic to see the development of this idea following the Koorie Youth Summit last month,” she said.

“This is about Victorian Aboriginals being the leaders and decision makers of their own community.”

Kunghah is an Ngarigu word for gathering. Ngarigu is the language spoken by the Aboriginal Ngarigo group.

The Kunghah: Brotherboys and Sistergirls Retreat will be held in regional Victoria between November 11 – 13.

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