Gina Lambropoulos (she/her) is a Melbourne-based screenwriter, film reviewer and story developer. She's also a very proud mum to an adorable toddler.
“Why would ‘you’ want to live in Camberwell? Do you think that’s a safe place to raise ‘your’ family?” My friends, albeit slightly dramatic, were truly worried that I, an out and proud, double denim, Subaru driving lesbian would not be made to feel safe or welcome in Camberwell (gasp).
I’m happy to report that in the decade I have lived here, other than a handful of encounters, I’ve loved living and raising my toddler in this community. Made easy of course by my glorious neighbours. And all the other queers who live here too. Yes, there are lots of us. Lots in fact!
The marriage equality outcome showed tremendous support from the Boroondara community. So, where does this reputation come from? Well, during that same time, while countless organisations made public statements in support of marriage equality, many leaders from this community were silent. And that silence speaks volumes to a marginalised community.
We know from the data that the LGBTQ+ community have poorer health and mental health outcomes. It’s not because they are LGBTQ+, but often due to the lack of support from society.
Research also shows that visibility and creating inclusive environments can have a profound effect on people’s wellbeing and mental health outcomes. This is why celebrating days of significance like IDAHOBIT matter. Creating a culture where everyone feels safe, matters. Visibility matters.
I’ve been delivering LGBTQ+ inclusion training for a few years now. Participants often say, “But, I don’t know any gay people.” I like to remind them that they probably do, and that person is most likely a family member. That person is actively listening, has been for years, looking for cues – will it be safe to come out? Will you still love them when they do? They’ll hear you when you talk about the upcoming IDAHOBIT events in our area – will you be excited or indifferent? Maybe they’re watching you now as you’re reading my story, waiting for you to say – “Well, of course that lesbian would be safe living here! We should invite her over for cake.”