International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersex Discrimination and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) aims to spread awareness of LGBTQIA+ rights violations and discrimination. Events are held all over the world to highlight the issue, promote inclusion, and stamp out discrimination. The day hopes to enable LGBTQIA+ people all over the world to be seen, to feel affirmed, valued, and welcome.
On Wednesday, May 17, an IDAHOBIT event was produced by YO Events (the City of Greater Bendigo) in the Library Gardens. The event included a flag-raising ceremony and a Rainbow Jam, - an open mic jam that’s part of YO Bendigo’s Jam Sandwich series. The goal of the series is to create performance opportunities for young people in Greater Bendigo by having them perform and jam with/for each other.
The event began with speeches by MC Youth Mayor Ryan Peterson (he/him), Mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf (she/her), Tenzin Marius (he/they) and Issy Deleeuw (she/they). Some inspirational words were heard from these speakers regarding the importance of IDAHOBIT Day:
“Your participation and support (as a Rainbow Ally or as part of LGBTQIA+ communities) are key to helping make Bendigo a safer and more inclusive place for LGBTQIA+ people - in workplaces, organisations, schools and sporting clubs,” said Youth Mayor Ryan Peterson.
Also at the event were three stalls that gave away merchandise and hosted delightful activities for the community to participate in. The purpose of the stalls was to provide support for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. The organisations that were present include:
- Headspace- supports young people with mental health, physical health (including sexual health), alcohol and other drug services, as well as work and study support Australia-wide.
- Thorne Harbour Health- offers a safe and supportive space for LGBTQIA+ people and people living with HIV. The organisation offers a range of services and programs to support the health and well-being of Bendigo communities.
- Trans and Gender Bendigo and Beyond- focuses on improving health and well-being for the trans and gender-diverse community in Victoria. Their goal is to empower trans and gender-diverse people so that they feel safe, connected, confident and valued.
- Bendigo Community Health Services - We have GPs for your general health and services covering specific areas such as families and children, mental health and counselling, alcohol and other drugs, sexual health, men’s, and women's health clinics, the LGBTIQ community, refugee settlement and support.
- Mind Australia - We support people experiencing mental health and well-being concerns to find help, hope, and purpose in their lives. We partner with health, community, and government organisations to provide holistic support and a safe environment for people experiencing mental health and well-being concerns to live in the community.
- YO Bendigo/City of Greater Bendigo – The City of Greater Bendigo is committed to helping the community and joined YO Bendigo in the celebration of IDAHOBIT. The City also launched its LGBTQIA+ Action Plan on the 17th.
The speeches were followed by the Inclusive Pride Flag and Trans Flag Raising and the Rainbow Jam. Amps, microphones, and a drum kit were provided and anyone, including those outside of the LGBTQIA+ community, could have a go at something that may have been outside of their comfort zone with confidence in the fact that they will receive respect from their audience. The Rainbow Jam was a massive success. We heard many talented singers and musicians share the music that they enjoy.
In the lead-up to IDAHOBIT, the YO Bendigo team coordinated a digital campaign to Turn Bendigo Rainbow for the day. It was fantastic to see the results of this at the IDAHOBIT celebrations in the library gardens. The audience was a sea of bright rainbow colours, demonstrating support for the LGBTQIA+ community.