Australia's southern state is investing big in equality.
Victoria is putting $15 million AUD toward a new Pride Center in its capital, Melbourne. The center, which will reportedly be bigger than San Francisco’s LGBT[Q] Community Center, will offer health and support services, community spaces, and showcase LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) art and history.
“Equality is not negotiable in Victoria,” Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement about the new center. “Victoria’s LGBTI community has a lot to be proud of and I congratulate everyone who has worked hard to make Australia’s first Pride Center a reality.”
The move is part of the state of Victoria's larger equality agenda for 2016 and 2017, which will also allocate $6.4 million AUD to the expansion of gender dysphoria health services, according to BuzzFeed. The center and entire equality agenda are important wins in the continued fight for equality in Australia, which has recently seen positive progress. Earlier this year, Andrews promised the state government would ensure the continuance of the important LGBTQ education program, Safe Schools Coalition, should the federal government cut funding. And next month, the state will issue a historic, formal apology for past legislation that prosecuted people for homosexual acts. (The state of New South Wales recently issued a similar apology.)
As for the Pride Center, there’s no word on when it’ll open, but the LGBTQ community will be involved in the process as it continues, and will have a say in the timing, as well as the final design and location. “The Pride Center is long overdue and will attract people from across Victoria, Australia, and the world,” the Victorian Minister for Equality, Martin Foley, said in a statement. “It will be a great gathering place for the LGBTI community and allow for much greater collaboration between services and community organizations.”