Council backs working group to support rainbow community

An LGBTIQA+ community working group is being formed with the backing of Hume City Council. Up to 10 people are now being sought to join the group which is expected to meet four times a year. Once formed its members will advise council on issues faced by the rainbow community across the city.

The decision to support the formation of the group was made at a meeting of the full council on Tuesday 11 June, and follows a petition handed to council earlier in the year asking it to establish an LGBTIQA+ advisory committee.

Susan Lodge, founder of the Sunbury and Surrounds LGBTIQ Social Club, told councillors that more needs to be done to support rainbow children and indicated that LGBTIQA+ young people experience poorer mental health outcomes than their peers.

Her club, which has almost 250 members, holds social events that Ms Lodge says helps reduce its members’ social isolation. She told councillors an advisory group is vital. 

“It is going to give my community visibility in Hume,” she said.

“Hume’s reputation and history is not rainbow friendly. Take it back a couple of years, during covid, and I had homophobic slurs yelled at me from a passing car. That’s okay, I know what I am. But these kids are still exploring, and still developing. And a comment like that makes them a statistic.

“So by having an advisory committee we have a voice that you will listen to. Right now, especially in Sunbury, it ain’t good.”

Census data from 2021 shows that 835 people in Hume are living as same sex couples. Data for individuals who identify as LGBTIQA+ was not captured.

While the exact population size is not known, recent reports estimate 11% of the Australian population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex. Based on this estimate council says the city’s LGBTIQA+ community could be 28,000 people.

Formation of the working group received unanimous support from councillors attending Tuesday’s meeting.

A progress report on the working group will be published by the end of 2025, and will outline key milestones, learnings, proposed terms of reference, and future direction for the group.

Over the past few years an increased range of LGBTIQA+ community groups and organisations have established in Hume including:

  • Sunbury and Surrounds LGBTIQA+ Social Group (220+ members)
  • Hume Rainbow Families Playgroup (Mickleham North)
  • AFL Pride Ambassadors (Westmeadows Football Club)
  • Melbourne Airport Pride Network
  • Pride in the North (interagency collaborative) including Uniting, Foundation House, Spectrum, DPV health and Sunbury and Cobaw Community Health
  • LGBTIQA+ Northern Community Connect Facebook Group for Whittlesea and Hume residents (212 members)

In addition to the community groups operating in Hume, the council has:

  • Established and facilitates the GLITTER group for LGBTIQA+ young people
  • Established and facilitates the LGBTIQA+ Youth Action Group
  • Supported the establishment of Mickleham North Rainbow Families Playgroup.
  • Supported a Rainbow Flag Raising Ceremony to celebrate IDAHOBIT in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

Further reading: LGBTIQ Mental Health Snapshot (PDF).