VICTORIA’S Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Ro Allen has used Horsham’s LGBTI Equality Roadshow Community Dinner to tell gay and transgender youth that ‘it gets better’.
Wimmera Pride Project co-founders Maddi Ostapiw and Loucas Vettos hosted a Q&A session with Commissioner Allen as part of the roadshow’s community dinner in Horsham’s Up Tempo Cafe on Thursday night.
Commissioner Ro Allen said the slogan was part of a global campaign to support young people to be themselves and prevent self harm.
“What would I tell myself when I was 16? I had suicidal ideation at that stage based on my sexuality and gender identity,” she said.
“I would tell myself at 16 that it gets better. It gets awesome, actually.
“That’s so important for young people to understand.”
The dinner followed a day of workshops at Wimmera Trade Training Centre around the roadshow’s goal of improving health and wellbeing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in rural and regional areas.
Guests were invited to take photos in the mock-up roadshow bus, featuring a rainbow paint job and rooftop glittery heel in a homage to The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
The roadshow also visited Stawell and Ararat on its journey to visit 17 towns around regional Victoria.
Cabaret artist Dolly Diamond performed ‘Sway’ and Nat King Cole’s L-O-V-E and put on a stand up comedy routine,
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy, Horsham Rural City Council Mayor Pam Clarke, Councillor Les Power and chief executive Peter Brown, and Hindmarsh Shire chief executive Greg Wood were among community representatives at the dinner.
Commissioner Allen said she hoped her role would not be necessary in 15 years because discrimination would have been eliminated.
She also said Horsham need only a little bit of help with LGBTI inclusion compared to some regional towns.
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