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Guide to Melbourne for parents with rainbow families

4 June 2024

Discover playgroups, parenting books, creative spaces and family services that welcome rainbow families with open arms in the City of Melbourne.

Time Out describes Melbourne as the fourth most queer-friendly city in the world and we are proud that 84 per cent of the electorate of Melbourne voted yes to marriage equality. That’s 22 per cent above the national average.

We’re committed to creating a city where everyone feels safe and welcome to be themselves and live life to the fullest.

Read on to discover some of the groups, events and resources available in your neighbourhood to support parents with rainbow families, or follow the links to skip to sections of interest:

Rainbow playgroup in Kensington

Rainbow families with young children are invited to come along to the City of Melbourne’s dedicated rainbow families playgroup that runs every Monday and every second Saturday in Kensington. This is just one of our many inclusive playgroups.

The rainbow playgroup offers fun, friendship and resources, including a hearty directory of support services and recommended children’s books. To register your interest, visit Playgroups.

A group of people marching holding pride signs and flags
Families from our Rainbow Playgroup marching at Midsumma Festival
Inclusive family services

The City of Melbourne offers a wide range of child health, early literacy, family and parenting services, all of which are inclusive to all families. Or browse through all our services for children and families.

Additional information and support can be found through the Rainbow Families charity.

Welcoming creative spaces

ArtPlay

Head to the banks of the Birrarung behind Federation Square to discover a welcoming creative haven for babies, toddlers, children and diverse families.

ArtPlay brings together children (from babies to 13 years of age) and artists to explore and create innovative experiences that encourage self-expression and playful exchange, inspiring other world-class institutions around the globe.

Families of all kinds are warmly welcomed into the packed program of workshops and events, which includes shows devised and presented by the By Kids for Kids collective – a group of children who come together with professional artists for two years of creative collaboration. Tickets to their upcoming shows are on sale now.

A group of children throwing their hands in the air
Members of the By Kids For Kids collective

“The richest of processes and outcomes happen when different ages, minds, diversities and lived experiences join up.”

Alex Walker from House of Muchness, co-leader of the By Kids for Kids program

To learn more about ArtPlay’s long history, international acclaim, By Kids for Kids program and opportunities for artists, visit ArtPlay turns 20: riverside hub nurtures next-gen creatives.

Signal

For those a little older, Signal is the City of Melbourne’s inclusive creative studio for young people aged 14 to 25. Located in Northbank, Signal offers young people the opportunity to work alongside artists in a collaborative way, through multi-artform workshops and mentoring. Signal runs programs in partnership with Queerspace Youth every month, and during the school holidays. To learn more, visit Signal.

A rainbow umbrella held up to a street sign that says Rainbow Alley in rainbow colours
The Rainbow Alley street sign next to Melbourne Town Hall

Signal artist explores diverse definitions of words and experiences

Jessica Tanto is a queer artist and mindfulness facilitator born and raised in Java. Countering Java’s modest culture, queerness is often linked to a high-energy, loud, exaggerated and maximalist aesthetic.​

Jessica is working to collaboratively define the term ‘quiet queer’ to encapsulate this perspective and create space for a more contemplative and restful expression of queerness.

As part of the Signal Young Creatives Lab project, Jessica is working with the community to develop an online dictionary and toolkit that explores diverse definitions of words and experiences.

Learn more about the latest Young Creatives Lab projects.

Library books that celebrate rainbow families

Our welcoming public libraries are stocked with books that celebrate diversity. Below is a small selection. Find more books in our library catalogue, or ask one of our friendly librarians for their recommendations.

Reading lists from our expert librarians
  • Reading list for rainbow families: including Rainbow revolutionaries: 50 LGBTQ+ people who made history and Queer heroes.
  • Essential queer reads: add a rainbow to your book stack with reading suggestions including Holding the Man by Timothy Conigrave and Monkey’s Mask by Dorothy Porter.

Children’s books recommended by rainbow families

Events and activities

We run and support events and activities throughout the year that welcome diverse families. Here are a small sample.

  • GAYming Bonanza: Minus18 is hosting an in-person gayming event for LGBTIQA+ people and their mates on Saturday 8 June at narrm ngarrgu Library and Family Services, 141 Therry Street, Melbourne. Minus18 runs a range of amazing events throughout the year, such as the popular Queer Formal.
  • Trans and gender diverse writing group: join trans and gender diverse young people aged between 13 and 25 for a guided online writing group. Fortnightly on Tuesdays.
  • Laneway Learning: this Melbourne Award-winning organisation presents regular Queer Social events in everything from car maintenance to jewelry design.

To browse more events of all kinds, visit What’s On Melbourne.

Guiding principles and plans

The work we do at the City of Melbourne is guided by our Inclusive Melbourne Strategy – we want Melbourne to be a place where all genders and sexualities are welcomed, celebrated and protected.

Our Gender Equality Action Plan 2022–25 guides our work in equality for people of all genders.

Our Melbourne Pride network also supports our planning and growth in this space, as well as marking days of significance for the LGBTIQA+ community, and leading a joyful march each year at Midsumma Festival.

To learn more, read our Guide to Melbourne for LGBTIQA+ folk, which features queer fitness classes, community-building grants, resources, awards, information for older people and much more.

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