A new hub for Melbourne’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer community will drive equality, the Victorian government says. Australia’s first purpose-built LGBTIQ+ centre will permit community members to interface and celebrate what their identity is, find out about their history, and appreciate art and performances.
Above a dozen LGBTQIA+ associations will take up home today in a groundbreaking new community centre that will have fundamental groups and services for LGBTQIA+ individuals across Melbourne.
“Everyone deserves to be supported and celebrated, and the Victorian Pride Centre is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure this is the case,” Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday.
The Pride Centre, on Fitzroy Street in St Kilda, is the first of its sort in Australia, worked to associate the queer community with fundamental services, including health, legal, financial, and entertainment providers.
Pride Centre chair Hang Vo said it was critical to making permanent spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Members of our community no longer have to … be in temporary accommodation, or you know, visit a service through the back door because there’s judgment,” Ms. Vo said.
“Now we’re all here in this place where we’re visibly here, and we’re here to stay.
The state government and the City of Port Phillip united to get the $50 million hubs up and running. The council donated the land and the state government made significant investments.
Set up associations find a permanent home
One of the associations relocating to the building is JOY 94.9, the only LGBTI radio station in the country.
After nearly 30 years on the airwaves, station president David McCarthy said he anticipated having a permanent home for JOY.
“We decided to come here because we wanted to be part of something special, we wanted to be part of the future,” he said.
JOY will be one of 15 resident associations that have tracked down a new home at the centre, including the Australian Queer Archives, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and the Monash Health Gender Clinic.
“This is our home, this is the future, and we’re secure. And it’s that security, that actually more than anything else, is what the standard is about, you know, we ain’t going nowhere,” Mr. McCarthy said.
The centre is wanted to be a space for connection, celebration, and services for the queer community, yet previous pride centre chair Jude Munro said it was not simply the queer community that would profit.
“We think about it as a facility and a community centre for the LGBTQ community, but in fact, it’s going to be a place for the whole community too, and for people living around this area,” she said.
“St Kilda residents and the shopkeepers and traders are so excited about it.”
Exceptional design a St Kilda showstopper
The novel structure is currently a landmark on Fitzroy Street, and the Pride Centre board members say it is a reflection of the community.
“They say that success is the child of audacity, and we were audacious. So we decided to go for an iconic building, not an ordinary run-of-the-mill building — something that was an architectural statement, something that we could all be proud of,” Ms. Munro said.
“That’s there for when the pride March goes past in January every year.”
Mr. McCarthy considers it as a chance for queer individuals to occupy space in the community.
“It sends a really strong signal to people out there that we are here and we are proud,” Mr. McCarthy said.
In the interim, Mr. Andrews has reported Melbourne Pride 2021 will be held on December 5 to mark the 40th anniversary of the decriminalization of relationships between men in Victoria.
Events will be held across regional Victoria, finishing in a one-day road party in Melbourne’s inner north.