The City of Yarra needs to reinstate a youth worker to address issues facing same-sex attracted and gender questioning youth.

That was the clear message to come from a meeting of Yarra Council and leaders of the Melbourne GLBTI community last week — the second in a series of consultation meetings.

c said it was an “oversight” not to have a position supporting same-sex attracted youth in the council.

“This would be the one thing that is most needed that would give the whole effort real legitimacy and put the support where it’s really needed in this community,” she said.

Youth workers have been funded by council in the past to address these concerns, however, no such position now exists to cover the 100 services Yarra offers young people.

Drummond Street Relationship Centre chief executive officer Karen Field told the meeting she was frustrated a consolidated response couldn’t be reached between councils on youth issues.

Field said the GLBTI community was being overlooked, with little information collected by councils on the community “You need to be able to say something and tell the story of this community,” she said.

Cr Sam Gaylard proposed a steering committee be formed to tackle issues faced by same-sex attracted youth.

Yarra Community Programs director Craig Kenny said it would be up to councillors to raise the proposal.

Cr Dale Smedely told Southern Star he would raise the proposal with other councillors.

He admitted when the council was developing its Youth Services Strategy and Action Plan 2009-2013, the issue did not arise in the consultation process.

The idea of libraries becoming ‘safe havens’ for gay youth was raised, however, Yarra Cultural and Library Services manager Jenny Ruffle — with the general approval of those in the meeting — ruled out putting identifying rainbow stickers on books with queer content because it would be “more stigmatising”.

Port Phillip Council recently included a small rainbow sticker on the spine of books in its libraries.

Cr Gaylard moved that council produce a report to assess if sporting groups using council sporting grounds are complying with recent changes to Victoria’s sporting code of conduct which take a zero-tolerance approach to sexuality discrimination.

The Council has released its proposed budget for 2010-2011 with submissions due by June 7.

The draft budget includes a $20,000 allocation to establish a gay monument in the municipality.

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