THE Victorian Government will introduce LGBTI multicultural grants to support sexuality and gender diverse people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds across the state.

The grants, announced today, will comprise $500,000 worth of government funding to be rolled out over four years.

Through the funding, the government hopes to work with LGBTI communities and organisations to make them more inclusive of people with CALD backgrounds.

Victorian Multicultural Commission chair Helen Kapalos said it was important to recognise the LGBTI community in the dialogue around multiculturalism.

“It’s something our sector has been asking us for a long time,” she told the Star Observer.

“It’s an important part of social inclusion and really what we have to do is acknowledge that the LGBTI community is as important as the rest of the sector.

“The way LGBTI issues play out across our community in some ethnic groups can have profound effects… such as the disenfranchised members of our youth in particular.”

With members of the LGBTI community face higher levels of anxiety and depression, the grants aim to tackle some of the intersectional discrimination faced by LGBTI people of CALD backgrounds.

The grants are the first of their kind in Australia.

Multicultural Affairs Minister Robin Scott was also at the announcement today, where he highlighted the greater issues faced by LGBTI Victorians from CALD communities.

“I think it’s really important we start to marry up the worlds in which we work,” he said.

“There are greater issues that exist for LGBTI people who come from some of our diverse communities in Victoria… we don’t tolerate any form of discrimination.

“There are issues around racism within the LGBTI community that make it harder for culturally diverse LGBTI people to feel accepted, and these are different issues to deal with but it doesn’t mean a progressive government shouldn’t address them.”

Gender and sexuality commissioner Ro Allen said it was great there would now be funding to address these issues.

“Sometimes I feel I have to pinch myself that this is all happening in my lifetime,” Allen told the Star Observer.

“Discrimination and harassment around the LGBTI community within multicultural communities has been an area that’s been taboo.

“People have been telling me about the issues in their community, and now there’s funding to do something about it.

Allen added it would be exciting for the government to liaise with LGBTI and multicultural groups and organisations to help support those facing discrimination.

“There’s great leadership coming from multicultural leaders who are keen to learn about the issues and learn that their communities are safe,” Allen said.

The grants will be managed through the Community Harmony Grant and Capacity Building and Participation programs.

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