Canberra is Australia’s Capital of Equality
The Capital of Equality Strategy sets out how the ACT Government will continue to make Canberra the most LGBTIQ+ welcoming and inclusive city in Australia. This means ensuring Canberra is a place where LGBTIQ+ people, their families and communities are visible, valued and respected. Our whole community benefits when all Canberrans can contribute and participate to their full potential.
Over the next four years the strategy will guide the ACT Government’s focus on:
- Fostering understanding and awareness of LGBTIQ+ people and issues so that barriers to equality can be removed.
- Delivering more inclusive and accessible services.
- Continuing reforms to ensure equal rights are reflected in law, data and policies.
The first action plan under the Capital of Equality strategy explains the changes that the Government wants to make by the end of 2020 to improve the lives of LGBTIQ+ Canberrans.
The ACT Government is committed to ensuring all Canberrans are treated equally and our laws should reflect these standards.
The Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bill 2020 (the Bill) has been introduced to ban conversion practices.
The Bill proposes that it would be a criminal offence for conversion practices directed at protected persons, and anybody affected will be able to make a complaint to the Humans Right Commission.
The Bill defines protected persons to mean 'a child or a person who has impaired decision-making ability in relation to a matter relating to the person's health or welfare'.
The government first announced plans to legislate to prohibit conversation practices in May 2018. This prohibition was also included in the Capital of Equality First Action Plan 2019-2020. You can read more about the engagement process that contributed to the development of the Capital of Equality Strategy and First Action Plan.
To inform the development of the Bill, a direct consultation was held with stakeholders most likely to be affected by this change. This included the education, disability, religious, health, LGBTIQ+ and legal sectors.
The Bill was introduced in the ACT Legislative Assembly on 13 August 2020.
Conversations about conversion practices may bring up strong feelings and questions. Be assured you are not alone, and that there are many services and support groups available to assist. Some options for advice and support include Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Westlund Counselling on 02 6257 2855.
Successful applications were approved in June 2020.
The following organisations received grants to deliver projects enhancing LGBTIQ+ visibility and inclusion in Canberra through round two of the Capital of Equality Grants Program. Applications are now closed for the 2020 Capital of Equality Grants.
|Applicant||Approved funding||Project title and description|
Forward Together: Inter-generational digital storytelling project
Delivered as a partnership between PhotoAccess, Gen S Stories, A Gender Agenda and Meridian (formally Aids Action Council) 'Forward Together' is an inclusive digital storytelling workshop, ﬁlm festival event and online publication that aims to foster inter-generational dialogue within Canberra's LGBTQI+ community and promote public understanding of the evolving challenges and diverse joys of living LGBTQI+.
|Tuggeranong Community Arts Association||18,500|
Queer Arts Creative Developments
Queer Arts Creative Developments will support the development of three new works to be premiered as part of a mini festival of Queer* arts at Tuggeranong Arts Centre. Trans Voices, After the Glitz and Glam, and Deqolonise.
YWCA Canberra Sexuality and Gender Diverse Prom
A safe and inclusive activity for LGBTIQ+ young people aged 12 to 25 years.
A Community in Isolation - Stories from the ACT LGBTQI+ Community
A Community in Isolation - Stories from the ACT LGBTQI+ Community aims to highlight the experiences of LGBTQI+ Youth and Adults in periods of social, emotional, and physical isolation.
|Forcibly Displaced People Network Ltd||10,000|
Building capacity for a strong voice of LGBTIQ+ people in forced displacement
Supporting organisational development and capacity building of newly created Forcibly Displaced People Network (FDPN). The purposes of FDPN is to be an LGBTIQ+ refugee-led voice in promoting human rights and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex, transgender and queer persons in forced displacement, as well as providing education, information and peer support.
|Ono Chowdhury (auspiced by A Gender Agenda)||7,500|
DEiFY (formerly Qinship) - Sex and Relationships Event Series
DEiFY hopes to recognise, aﬃrm and draw on existing cultural strength and connections to increase resilience in Queer, Transgender, Intersex People of Colour (QTIPOC) communities, to promote mental health and healthy relationships with oneself and others. These online and in-person workshops, panels and discussion groups will explore a range of topics which address the needs of QTIPOC and their unique intersectional experiences of their bodies, desires and relationships. DEiFY aims to make ideas about safe sex, intimacy and connection with self and community more accessible to QTIPOC. Written and audio-visual resources will be developed from information and stories shared in the series to be more broadly disseminated.
Not So Binary
The Not So Binary Project is an exploration of and response to the use of language as a weapon against the LGBTIQ+ community. Not So Binary is both a production of a performance work and a photography exhibition. The performance process will be captured on ﬁlm and still photographs.
|A Gender Agenda||5,000|
Intersex Children's Book
Producing a fully illustrated children's book to be launched on Intersex Awareness day. This book would be a resource that teaches kids about diﬀerent bodies and consent in a medical setting and help parents understand the need for bodily autonomy, while giving children some tools to protect and accept themselves.
|Meridian Incorporated (formerly AIDS Action Council of the ACT Inc)||5,000|
Encampment 2021 is a peer-led mentorship program for young LGBTIQ+ people. Encampment 2021 will be an event which is organised and facilitated by mentors who are trained and supported by Meridian. The program is designed to support participants (young people 15-18) navigate their gender and sexuality identities and strengthen their connection to community. It will create a safe space for participants to express their identity, build resilience, make friends, and have fun. The mentors will also learn new skills and develop personal capacity through mentoring young people.
Localjinni - Aboriginal LGBTIQ+ digital story
The Aboriginal LGBTIQ+ digital story will be a 3min video walk from Localjinni. Localjinni is a lesbian run, art /social enterprise which screens virtual exhibitions on the street, using mobile projectors, lighting up park benches, walls, paths and buildings. Transforming spaces into places using visual art, poetry, music, ﬁlm, oral history and digital stories.
A list of organisations who have previously received grants through the Capital of Equality Grants program is available here.
The Canberra Inclusive Partnership is a new program providing targeted, peer-led services to support and strengthen LGBTIQ+ Canberrans.
- 1000 hours of peer-led psychosocial support services to LGBTIQ+ people and their families; and
- 100 hours of training and tailored support to build the capacity of mainstream service providers to deliver inclusive and appropriate services to LGBTIQ+ people, their families, and communities.
This investment will help peer-led LGBTIQ+ agencies like Meridian (formally Aids Action Council) and A Gender Agenda meet evolving community needs over the coming years, tackle new and emerging issues and be more active and visible in the Canberra community.
About the Office for LGBTIQ+ Affairs
The Office for LGBTIQ+ Affairs coordinates and supports strategic government projects and policy to promote Canberra as the most LGBTIQ+ welcoming and inclusive city in Australia. It is located within the Policy and Cabinet Division of the Chief Minister Treasury and Economic Development Directorate.
- coordinates a whole of government approach for promoting Canberra as the most LGBTIQ+ welcoming and inclusive city in the country
- engages relevant areas of government with subject matter expertise to implement legislative reform, promote inclusive events, and appropriately targeted services for LGBTIQ+ people
- supports and engages with the LGBTIQ+ Ministerial Advisory Council on matters where the government is seeking advice and guidance
- provides policy advice to the Chief Minister on LGBTIQ+ matters.
Please note: LGBTIQ+ is respectfully being used as an umbrella term to refer collectively to a wider range of people than just those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and/or queer. The use of the acronym is not intended to exclude people that may not be specifically represented by this term.
For further enquiries please contact the Office by email LGBTIQOffice@act.gov.au.