What is the Welcome Here Project?
The Welcome Here Project is the new Safe Place Project. The Safe Place Project started in 1998 in response to high levels of street based violence directed at Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) people. Local businesses signed up to become a 'Safe Pace' by putting a sticker in their shop front to let LGBTIQ community members know they could seek refuge if they were under the threat of violence.
As times have changed street based violence has reduced, but there is still work to be done in this space. The Welcome Here Project has been created to focus on supporting local business owners / organisations within New South Wales (NSW) to create and promote environments that are visibly welcoming and inclusive of LGBTIQ people. The Welcome Here Project is targeted at businesses like local cafes, supermarkets, bars, restaurants, gyms, theatres and cinemas etc.
Members of the project (registered Welcoming Places) receive a sticker to display in their window to let everyone know that LGBTIQ diversity is welcomed and celebrated within their business. Registered Welcoming Places also display a charter that brings to life their commitment to the project, and what being a member is all about. It is free to become a member of the project.
ACON also provides members with resources to support them celebrate LGBTIQ diversity. This is part of a Diversity Days project, you can find out more about Diversity Days and how you can celebrate or honour them here.
The Welcome Here Project also aims to mobilise the LGBTIQ community to engage with registered Welcoming Places and provide feedback on their experiences.
Visible, welcomed LGBTIQ communities mean safer communities, and by becoming a registered Welcoming Place, members are helping create positive social change throughout NSW.
You can see all registered Welcoming Places throughout NSW here.
The Welcome Here Project - where LGBTIQ diversity is celebrated.
What types of businesses can apply?
Registered Welcoming Places must pass criteria for approval, and must publically display their sticker and charter showing their commitment to being a Welcoming Place. Eligibility is based on a business or organisation agreeing to the following prerequisites:
- They welcome Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Intersex, Queer, Questioning and other gender or sexuality diverse people
- They publicly demonstrate support for the LGBTIQ community
- They actively promote a prejudice and discrimination free space
All registered Welcoming Places should have visibility within their community either on the street or online, in order to be able to increase awareness and understanding of LGBTIQ diversity and to be able to contribute to the creation of welcoming, diverse and inclusive spaces throughout communities in NSW. Registered Welcoming Places are businesses/organisations small to medium in size, or an individual franchisee (i.e. not a large corporation).
For those health and community organisations, we recognise the unique work you do with LGBTIQ people and the desire to provide a welcoming service. We will be developing program offerings that reflect the work you do and needs of LGBTIQ people in identifying and accessing your services as a welcoming place. This will be done over time and in consultation.
What defines a registered Welcoming Place?
Registered Welcoming Places welcome and include LGBTIQ people. They stand up for LGBTIQ inclusion.
They celebrate, embrace and value diversity, and are committed to celebrating diverse communities.
Registered Welcoming Places encourage positive social change throughout NSW.
Registered Welcoming Places should make the LGBTIQ community feel welcomed and accepted, every time they visit.
ACON are here for HIV prevention, HIV support and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) health. Established in 1985 as the AIDS Council of New South Wales (NSW), we work to end HIV transmission among gay and homosexually active men, and promote the lifelong health of LGBTI people and people with HIV.
NSW is Australia’s most populous state, with Australia’s largest number of people living with HIV (around 12,000) as well as Australia’s largest LGBTI community (estimated at 500,000). Our head office is in Sydney, we have offices in key regional locations and we provide services throughout NSW. ACON are primarily funded by the NSW Government through the NSW Ministry of Health.