A Monash University academic is urgently calling out for LGBTI people living in Melbourne’s western suburbs to speak up on local queer issues.

Senior lecturer Dr Anne Harris is reviewing issues in the area to find any opportunities that local councils can address through funding initiatives.

Harris is looking for anyone with ideas or problems in all areas including disability, ageing and community groups.

She is preparing a preliminary report for a working group of several councils in Melbourne’s west.

“Over the past five years, there has been an increasingly strong response to homophobic bullying in schools,” she told the Star Observer.

“What’s happening now, as I see it, it’s starting to branch out at a council level.

“The benefit will largely be determined by the responses we get.

Some of Melbourne’s western councils have shown a strong interest in queer issues over the past few years.

Three city councils in Melbourne’s west, Hobsons Bay, Brimbank (pictured) and Wyndham, held events to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) in May this year.

Hobsons Bay also held its own events for this year’s Midsumma festival.

In 2010, several councils in Melbourne’s west took part in the GO West forum to discuss LGTBI issues in the area.

Recommendations from the meeting included more gay literature in local libraries and providing council staff with diversity training.

Harris is urgently looking for people to interview in the next two weeks but said it was also an ongoing project.

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