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Guide to Melbourne for LGBTIQA+ folk

14 May 2024

Everyone should be able to bring their whole selves into the city. As we mark IDAHOBIT, here’s how we support diversity and inclusion in the City of Melbourne.

Whether you’re here for work, play or a playgroup, here are some ways to follow the rainbow throughout the municipality.

Take a moment on IDAHOBIT – the International Day Against LGBTQIA+ Discrimination – to explore the city that Time Out describes as the fourth most queer-friendly city in the world.

Read on to become an instant expert, or jump to your areas of interest.

Ways to celebrate our LGBTIQA+ community

We’re proud to provide and support a range of initiatives for our diverse LGBTIQA+ communities living, working, studying in or visiting the City of Melbourne.

Look up to see the pride-inspired street sign on the corner of Rainbow Alley and Little Collins Street. It was installed on World AIDS Day in 2020, and launched by Lord Mayor Sally Capp.

“This sign is the city’s first permanent recognition and celebration in the public realm of our LGBTIQA+ community – and we hope to build on this in future,” the Lord Mayor said.

“You can’t be what you can’t see. By installing this sign here, we are saying to the community and its allies that we see you, we support you and we stand with you.”

Lord Mayor Sally Capp holds a rainbow umbrella up to a colourful street sign that reads 'Rainbow Alley'
Lord Mayor Sally Capp at the launch of Rainbow Alley in 2020

Melbourne Awards

The Melbourne Awards give us a chance to thank the people making a difference in our city, from long-standing initiatives to fresh new ideas that propel us forward.

Know someone in your community who fits the bill?

Share your story and inpsire others as applications open on Monday 20 May for the Melbourne Awards 2024 and close on Friday 21 June 2024.

Read on to meet some leading lights from the queer community, including Young Melburnian of the Year – Georgie Stone OAM, and recent winners of the LGBTIQA+ Award.

A young woman in a deep pink velvet dress smiles, holding an award that reads Melbourne Awards 2023
Young Melburnian of the Year, Georgie Stone OAM

The LGBTIQA+ Award

Melbourne is proud to be a city for all people. The LGBTIQA+ Award recognises and celebrates organisations and individuals who support and promote the LGBTIQA+ community. It’s also judged by members of the LGBTIQA+ community.

Past winners include Transfamily, and the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre.

Melbourne Award winner Melbourne Sexual Health Centre

Young Melburnian of the Year – Georgie Stone OAM

Actress and advocate for trans and gender diverse children and youth, Georgie Stone OAM is our Young Melburnian of the Year for 2023.

Meet Young Melburnian of the Year, Georgie Stone OAM

What’s on at our libraries for queer readers and writers

Find a safe and welcoming space at City of Melbourne Libraries. As well as a glorious collection that grows with our community, our libraries offer a place for groups to meet and run events, and bookable spaces for community events.

A person in colourful clothes with pink hair reads in a library
Find a quiet corner at Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre
Free LGBTIQA+ events coming up at libraries in the City of Melbourne
  • Join lawyer and trans masculine writer Sam Elkin for a session about queer narratives and the law during Vic Law Week. Book now. At narrm ngarrgu Library and Family Services, 141 Therry Street Melbourne. Wednesday 22 May.
  • Calling all gaymers. Minus18 is hosting an in-person GAYming Bonanza for LGBTIQA+ young people and their mates. Book now. At narrm ngarrgu Library and Family Services, 141 Therry Street Melbourne. Saturday 8 June.
  • Join a Melbourne History Talk on Queer history in Melbourne. Publisher Graham Willett unearths queer lives through history. Book now. At narrm ngarrgu Library and Family Services. Tuesday 11 June.
Inspiration for readers and writers
  • Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards are closing soon. This year features a category for stories by trans and gender diverse writers. Submit your story by midnight Monday 3 June.
  • 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.
  • Reading list for rainbow families: including Rainbow revolutionaries: 50 LGBTQ+ people who made history and Queer heroes.
  • Queer Book Club: join the waiting list for this popular monthly book club. Upcoming books include Endpapers by Jennifer Savran Kelly and Me by Elton John.
  • 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.

Grants to foster your community

If you belong to a community organisation that provides a great service for LGBTIQA+ communities, you may be eligible to for funding through our community funding and grants.

Our Connected Communities and Social Partnerships program, for example, has supported numerous organisations and community groups, including:

Older people who are LGBTIQA+ in the City of Melbourne

Connect with other like-minded people and have fun at events and activities designed for older members of our LGBTIQA+ community.

You’ll find a social group, LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club, support group for older lesbians, the Rainbow Door referral service and a community visitors program and more.

The free volunteer visitor service Out and About, offered by Switchboard Victoria, helps to reduce isolation and build community.

Which services would you find useful in the City of Melbourne? Let us know what you’d like to see offered for LGBTIQA+ older people. Call 9658 9190 or email us.

Rainbow families in the City of Melbourne

Join a rainbow playgroup for people in LGBTIQA+ families who live, work or play in the City of Melbourne.

Simply fill in a playgroup registration form and check the box for ‘cultural and diversity playgroups’ to find out more. Sessions run on Monday and Saturday morning in Kensington.

We offer a range of playgroups, where children can learn through play and you can meet other families.

Queer fitness classes at Carlton Baths

At Carlton Baths, Q Fit queer friendly group fitness classes offer small group fitness training for members of our LGBTIQA+ community.

The aim is to create a safe space and friendly environment for the LGBTIQA+ community, with the aim of making fitness more accessible.

Find Carlton Baths at 216-248 Rathdowne Street Carlton. Email us.

Two baby-blue dumbells and a rainbow ribbon placed against a yellow backdrop
Q-fit queer friendly fitness classes at Carlton Baths

How LGBTIQA+ friendly is the City of Melbourne?

Here at the City of Melbourne, we want people to bring their whole selves to work. We’re doing everything we can to make sure our workplace is inclusive, safe and respectful.

That means offering support to our LGBTIQA+ communities and staff.

We proudly show the Pride flag in the foyer of the administration building at Melbourne Town Hall to signal to everyone that this is a safe and inclusive space.

All couples are welcome in Melbourne. We have long affirmed our support for marriage equality, and maintained a relationship declaration register from 2007 until Australians voted yes to marriage equality in 2017.

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.

Melbourne Town Hall lights up on days of significance to the LGBTIQA+ community, with Melbourne Pride network offering advice to select the best days to celebrate.

  • Team Melbourne marches in the Midsumma Pride March every year, with joyful coordination from our Melbourne Pride network.
  • Pride in Diversity supports us as we strengthen inclusion. We use staff training sessions and the Australian Workplace Equality Index to track our progress.
  • Gender Impact Assessments are applied to new and revised policies, services and programs that have a direct impact on community.
  • We are guided by our Inclusive Melbourne Strategy, and believe Melbourne is 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.
A grand old railway station at night. Flinders Street Station lit up in rainbow colours
Flinders Street Station in the colours of the Pride flag

Calendar of LGBTIQA+ events in the City of Melbourne

  • Midsumma: Victoria’s premier three-week LGBTQIA+ arts and cultural festival Midsumma celebrates diversity and inclusion. It takes place in January and February across the city and is principally sponsored by City of Melbourne.
  • IDAHOBIT: The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia calls on people across Australia to stand against discrimination and support our LGBTIQA+ mates, colleagues and families. IDAHOBIT Day takes place on 17 May.
  • Melbourne Queer Film Festival: A showcase for contemporary queer cinema from Australia and beyond. Melbourne Queer Film Festival is the largest queer film festival in the southern hemisphere screens in cinemas across Melbourne. From 14 to 16 June.
  • YIRRAMBOI Festival: YIRRAMBOI Festival platforms the interconnectedness and diversity of First Nations creatives, locally, nationally and internationally. This biannual festival returns in 2025.
  • Queer-friendly venues: Head to What’s On Melbourne to discover fabulous queer-friendly venues and inclusive events across the city.
Two people sit together in a rooftop bar surrounded by palm trees
Find more welcoming venues at What’s On

Resources for LGBTIQA+ communities in Melbourne

  • Queerspace: As well as offering counselling, case management, advocacy and research, Queerspace offers professional development for organisations who work with LGBTIQ+ people and their families. 100 Drummond Street Carlton.
  • Victorian Pride Centre: Celebrate and protect equality in the Victorian Pride Centre, bringing Victorian LGBTIQA+ communities together in a single space.
  • Inclusive language guide: Get clear guidance on appropriate language to use when working with LGBTIQA+ communities in the Victorian Government’s Inclusive language guide. Developed for the public sector, and useful to all.
  • Switchboard Victoria: Get peer support for LGBTIQA+ people, their families and allies at Switchboard Victoria: Access counselling through partner QLife and a visitor service for older people through Out&About.
  • Thorne Harbour Health: Australia’s oldest LGBTI health organisation, Thorne Harbour Health offers services including HIV testing, disability and alcohol and other drugs, and family violence.

Find all kinds of support for LGBTIQA+ communities across the City of Melbourne.

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