Is Geelong LGBTQI+ Friendly?

Geelong, Victoria's second-largest city, has long been known for its vibrant community spirit and welcoming atmosphere. As society progresses toward greater inclusivity, many wonder how LGBTQI+ friendly Geelong truly is. This article explores the various aspects of LGBTQI+ life in Geelong, from social acceptance and community support to healthcare and dental services.

A Progressive Community

Geelong has made significant strides in recent years to ensure it is a welcoming place for LGBTQI+ individuals. The city hosts several LGBTQI+ events, including the popular Geelong Rainbow Festival which celebrates diversity with parades, parties, and educational workshops. This festival has grown in popularity, drawing both locals and visitors to join in the celebration of love and equality.

Local government and businesses have also shown their support. The City of Greater Geelong has implemented policies to promote inclusivity, such as providing safe spaces and ensuring non-discriminatory practices in all public services. Additionally, many local businesses proudly display rainbow stickers, signaling their support for the LGBTQI+ community and their commitment to creating an inclusive environment.

Community Support and Resources

The presence of support groups and organisations in Geelong plays a crucial role in fostering a sense of belonging for LGBTQI+ residents. Groups like Geelong Rainbow Inc. provide essential resources and a platform for advocacy. These organisations offer a range of services, including counseling, social events, and educational programs that aim to promote understanding and acceptance. The Geelong Pride Film Festival is another example.

Moreover, the Geelong Pride Choir is a fantastic example of a community initiative that brings people together through music. This inclusive choir not only provides a creative outlet but also serves as a supportive network for its members, reinforcing the sense of community.

Health and Wellbeing

Access to healthcare is a fundamental concern for any community, and Geelong has made commendable efforts to cater to the needs of its LGBTQI+ residents. Several healthcare providers in the city are known for their inclusive practices, ensuring that LGBTQI+ patients receive respectful and understanding care.

In particular, the dental services in Geelong are always friendly and accommodating. Many local dental practices have earned a reputation for their welcoming atmosphere and patient-centric approach. Whether you’re visiting for a routine check-up or more complex dental procedures, Geelong's dental professionals ensure that all patients feel comfortable and respected. This commitment to friendly service extends to all aspects of healthcare in the city.

The LGBTQIA+ Advisory Committee plays a key role in providing the community with advice and recommendations.
This includes the advocacy for equality and social inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ Community.
The committee will meet six times a year to advise Council on issues that affect people within the City of Greater Geelong who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Plus (LGBTQIA+) and their families.

The Old-Fashioned Dentist

An interesting aspect of Geelong's dental scene is the prevalence of the "old-fashioned dentist" approach. This does not mean outdated practices, but rather a focus on personalised, patient-first care that harks back to the days when a visit to the dentist was as much about community connection as it was about dental health. These dentists prioritise building long-term relationships with their patients, understanding their unique needs, and providing tailored care.

This approach is particularly beneficial for LGBTQI+ individuals, who may have faced discrimination or discomfort in less inclusive environments. Knowing that their dentist not only possesses the technical skills required but also a genuine concern for their wellbeing can make a significant difference.

Educational Institutions and Youth Support

Geelong’s educational institutions have also embraced inclusivity, with schools and universities implementing programs to support LGBTQI+ students. Anti-bullying policies are strictly enforced, and many schools have support groups that provide safe spaces for students to express themselves and seek help if needed.

Deakin University, one of the largest educational institutions in Geelong, has an active LGBTQI+ community and provides various resources, including counseling services, support groups, and awareness campaigns. The university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident in its policies and campus culture.

Bars and Nightlife

Every bar in Geelong is LGBT friendly technically. But very few of them have LGBT specific events. "My gf goes to drag shows at the Piano Bar in Geelong, and it sounds like she (pan) and her other LGBT friends have a fantastic time. I think they're on every weekend, but I could be wrong." - Reddit. 

Challenges and Areas for Improvement

While Geelong has made significant progress in becoming more LGBTQI+ friendly, there are still areas that require attention. Rural and regional areas surrounding Geelong can sometimes lag behind in terms of social acceptance and support services. Efforts are needed to extend the inclusive practices seen in the city to these outlying areas to ensure that all LGBTQI+ individuals feel safe and supported.

Additionally, ongoing education and awareness campaigns are crucial to combat lingering prejudices and misconceptions. By continuing to promote understanding and acceptance, Geelong can further solidify its reputation as an inclusive city.

Geelong has shown a commendable commitment to becoming a more LGBTQI+ friendly city. Through community support, inclusive policies, and friendly healthcare services, the city fosters a welcoming environment for all its residents. The focus on personalized, patient-first care in its dental practices, often referred to as the "old-fashioned dentist" approach, exemplifies how the city combines modern inclusivity with traditional values of care and respect.

While there is always room for improvement, the strides Geelong has made provide a solid foundation for further progress. With continued effort and community support, Geelong is well on its way to being recognized as a truly LGBTQI+ friendly city.