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Western Australia Allocates $900,000 of Public Funds Towards LGBT Inclusion Strategy

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The state is establishing an LGBT peak body to enhance representation for queer individuals.

The government of Western Australia has allocated $900,000 (US$591,390) toward the development of a strategy focused on promoting inclusivity for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender in the region.

Managed by the Department of Communities, this initiative will distribute the funds to three not-for-profit organizations over two years—Living Proud, TransFolk of WA, and GLBTI Rights in Ageing Inc.

These organizations will work to amplify the voices of the queer community by providing phone services and peer support networks.

The Western Australian government emphasized the urgent need for this strategy due to the “significantly higher levels of stigma” faced by the LGBT community.

Minister for Youth, Hannah Beazley, stated on Feb 23 that “We know that young LGBTQIA+ people are far more likely to face discrimination and exclusion, which is completely unacceptable in 2024.”

“Equality and freedom from discrimination are fundamental human rights that belong to all of us, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

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Furthermore, the government aims to establish a peak body to implement the strategy and enhance the representation of the LGBT community at a national level.

This strategy will involve collaboration among various government agencies, including the Departments of Communities, Education, Health, and the Mental Health Commission in Western Australia.

“This whole-of-government strategy will strengthen our efforts to combat discrimination—ensuring LGBTQIA+ individuals in WA are provided with every opportunity to thrive and succeed,” Ms. Beazley emphasized.

Queer Hub Unveiled

This initiative coincides with the launch of Australia’s first queer history museum on Feb. 23, with support from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, significant investment from the New South Wales government, and a $1 million donation from News Corp chairman Lachlan Murdoch.

Formerly a police station that detained queer individuals, the site has now opened to the public as Qtopia Sydney, serving as a museum to exhibit the history, culture, and art of the LGBT community.

“The strength of this great nation lies in diversity, which must not only be tolerated but celebrated, and that is the essence of Qtopia,” Mr. Albanese expressed at the launch.

Following a $6.7 million (US$4.4 million) renovation, the venue has been transformed into an entertainment hub with a theatrette for hosting performances and school tours.

David Polson, founder of Qtopia and one of the first 400 men diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Australia, stated that there is still work to be done to advance the rights of the queer community.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arrives for the opening of Qtopia Sydney at the National Art School, Sydney, Australia, on Feb. 23, 2024. (Dean Lewins/AAP)
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arrives for the opening of Qtopia Sydney at the National Art School, Sydney, Australia, on Feb. 23, 2024. (Dean Lewins/AAP)

“You think we’ve got marriage equality, you think everything’s great, it’s not. There [are] still elements out there who are trying to rip everything away from us, so we have to keep educating people about queer life,” Mr. Polson mentioned.

“The HIV/AIDS epidemic wiped out a good third of our population in Sydney alone.”

Qtopia was initially conceived by David Cooper, Mr. Polson’s doctor and an HIV/AIDS researcher who envisioned an AIDS museum in Sydney, a vision that has come to fruition thanks to Mr. Polson.

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