Rainbow Tick flies the flag for equality

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The Rainbow Flag flew at St Kilda Town Hall on the 30th of October, as the Port Phillip Council was accredited with the Rainbow Tick.


This was received through recognition of providing an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (GLBTI) community.


The Rainbow Tick was awarded to Council after a comprehensive process, developed by Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria and in consultation with Australia’s leading non-profit accreditation organisation QIP.


Mayor Amanda Stevens said Port Phillip Council had a proud history of being an inclusive and diverse community.


“We provide services to more than 1500 people to help them remain independent in their homes and the community. Sadly, many older GLBTI people have lived through discrimination and prejudice, making them less likely than older heterosexual people to access mainstream service providers,” Cr Stevens said.


The Access and Ageing Department staff supports people that need assistance living at home, and made changes over the last 18 months to make the GLBTI community feel confident and welcome in utilising services.


Cr Stevens said many same sex home care recipients had “de-gayed” their houses, removing pictures of partners prior to inspection. This led to awareness training in the department as handbooks were altered and procedures were updated to enhance inclusivity.


Marcus Barlow is a member of the community that has council workers visit his home weekly to provide assistance. He is grateful for the help himself and his partner Martin receive, as both men have physical disabilities.


“They help us so much. We want other same-sex couples to know that if they need help, the Rainbow Tick accreditation means they will be visited by Port Phillip Council staff who will make them feel comfortable,” Mr Barlow said.


According to QIP CEO Stephen Clark, service providers don’t always understand the needs of the GLBTI community despite them having equal rights to safety and quality.


“For some, the experience of exclusion and discrimination can contribute directly to poorer health and well-being, particularly mental health. Striving to continually improve how you support members of your local community and being responsive to their needs should be commended. QIP congratulates Council’s Access and Ageing Department on reaching this benchmark by receiving the Rainbow Tick,” Dr Clark said.


With the detrimental affects of exclusion from society so alarming, the appreciation is clear from residents.


“Sometimes we feel as if we are being judged and not treated as a couple when we go to medical appointments, for example, some people snigger when we sit beside each other on the tram.”


“We’re forever grateful for the Council workers being so supportive and non-judgemental. I hope every council will seek the Rainbow Tick,” Mr Barlow said.


The GLBTI community struggled to locate welcoming service providers in the past, but the Rainbow Tick places the Port Phillip Council at the forefront of equality.

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