On 26 August, 2022, Jules Cole (they/them), Director Regional Strengths and Stakeholder Engagement at the Latrobe Valley Authority attended the Rainbow Brick Road project held by the Gippsland Pride Initiative at PollyannaR Gallery in Morwell.
The event coincided with Wear It Purple Day - which aims to raise awareness about inclusive, safe and empowering environments for rainbow people. It included a lunch time discussion with members of the LGBTIQA+ community, local businesses, community organisations and services to hear about the experiences of LGBTIQA+ community across Gippsland and to identify the ways in which services can become allies. A key part of the project is the collection of data specific to Gippsland LGBTQIA+ communities to build a strong evidence base for change for safer and more inclusive services.
"As a member of the LGBTIQA+ community here in Gippsland, it is heartbreaking to hear that our community still feels unsafe, and experiences abuse and discrimination when accessing services. The Gippsland Pride Initiative is helping shine a light on these issues, as well as providing opportunities for LGBTIQA+ Gippslanders to be visible and come together to celebrate,” Jules Cole said.
“Having recently commenced at the Latrobe Valley Authority, I am proud to experience genuine allyship for the LGBTIQA+ community in the organisation. Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of our work across the region, and I know that our organisation will be keen to use the report to strengthen our work and to advocate for change where it is most needed.”
The Gippsland Pride Initiative will produce a report in October generated from outcomes from consultations and the survey that will be made available to organisations, services and community groups across Gippsland.