Many years in the making, the Victorian Pride Centre (VPC) has been officially opened on Sunday 11 July by Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Equality Martin Foley, and Mayor of the City of Port Phillip Louise Crawford.
“Everyone deserves to be supported and celebrated, and the Victorian Pride Centre is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure this is the case for LGBTIQ+ communities – because in Victoria, equality is not negotiable,” said Premier Daniel Andrews.
The launch was proceeded by a smoking ceremony and welcome to country by Boon Wurrung Senior Elder, N’arweet Carolyn Briggs. As the new home of Koorie Pride, the Victorian Pride Centre was honoured to open at the conclusion of this year’s NAIDOC Week.
The Pride Centre is Australia’s first purpose-built centre for LGBTIQ+ people and will house a range of community organisations as well as house spaces for art, culture, events and collaboration. It is a place of belonging, support and pride for the state’s diverse LGBTIQ+ community.
“Today is an important milestone for our community. As Australia’s first purpose-built pride centre, this is where everyone can come together, honour the past, celebrate the present, and work towards a more inclusive future,” said VPC Chair Hang Vo.
“We are open, welcoming to everyone, with a culture founded on diversity, inclusiveness and belonging. We are so thrilled to be the new home to a broad community of organisations, groups, vital services and social spaces.”
“We thank the many supporters whose generosity have ensured this beautiful centre could be built. To the Victorian Government, City of Port Phillip, our founders, corporate supporters and individuals, members of our sub committees and working groups and those who have donated or volunteered we thank you for joining with us in building this stunning communal landmark,” said Hang Vo.
“Today is an historic moment for our community. Our diversity is our strength and I know the centre is well placed to serve its mission and to be a vibrant place of pride for generations,” said Inaugural VPC Chair Jude Munro.
As a co-founding member of Gay Liberation it’s fitting that as we celebrate we also acknowledge the history of criminalisation and discrimination many in our community have been subjected to and the people not with us today.”
“As we party and prepare for the even brighter future we are building together we recognise how emotional it is for so many in our community to have reached this day,” said Jude Munro.
LGBTIQ+ communities can access inclusive services, connect with each other, celebrate who they are, learn about LGBTIQ+ history and appreciate LGBTIQ+ art and performances at the centre’s theatrette and gallery.
A range of deeply-trusted LGBTIQ+ organisations will be based at the centre, including health services, LGBTIQ+ media outlets, and others such as Minus18, the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council, Transgender Victoria, Switchboard Victoria, Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Thorne Harbour Health and bookshop Hares and Hyenas.
“We look forward to welcoming the community to our centre. Whether you come to visit one of our tenant organisations, attend a meeting or attend an event we look forward to being the centre that brings together the vibrant diversity of our community,” said VPC CEO Justine Dalla Riva.
“We have staff and volunteers representing all of our community ready to welcome you, to help with information, connection and advice; kindness and care.”
As the centre is a working home for organisations not all areas will be open for the public, but these tours provide the best chance to see the building for yourself.
The virtual Pride Centre is the place to connect with the VPC wherever you are. For more information, visit: www.pridecentre.org.au for details.
Image: The Victorian Pride Centre (supplied)