The Victorian government announced that it will provide around $820,000 to LGBTQI organisations in the state to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on the community. The amount will go towards helping the organisations support LGBTQI Victorians who are at risk of homelessness and mental illnesses.

“We know the effects of this pandemic are being felt in complex and difficult ways among our LGBTQI communities – so we’re supporting the organisations on the frontlines to ramp up their efforts and support more Victorians,” Martin Foley, Minister for Equality said in a press statement.

Victorian Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality Ro Allen welcomed the funds that will help organisations in their work to support the mental health and well being of LGBTQI people. “LGBTQI communities have shown yet again that we thrive on supporting each other and we need that now more than ever. We welcome funds from a government that not only recognises but prioritises this.”

 A bulk of the funds – around $450,000 – will be provided to Switchboard Victoria, Thorne Harbour Health and Drummond Street Services. These funds will be used for counselling and support services for LGBTQI people and their families impacted by coronavirus. Thorne Harbour Health and Switchboard Victoria, along with JOY 94.9 FM will receive around $300,000 for work to support mental health.  An additional $70,000 will go to the Pride Cup, Celebrate Ageing and Drummond Street Services towards projects to reduce the impact of social isolation.

The Victorian government’s financial support is the latest in its support for LGBTQI communities. Last year, it signalled its plans to bring in legislation to ban conversion therapy practices. On May 1, 2020, a law that allowed for persons to change the sex marker in their birth certificates without a requirement to undergo sex reassignment surgery came into force.

Another showpiece project – the Victorian Pride Centre – Australia’s first and world’s second multi-purpose LGBTQI centre, is scheduled for a late-2020 opening. “The Victorian Pride Centre represents the best of our values – resilience, solidarity and community connection – and with the structure complete, we’re one step closer to providing a hub for LGBTQI services,” said Foley.

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