News bulletin: 20 January 2016
Increasing awareness of sexual diversity in the workplace and representing rainbow families are first on the agenda for the DET Pride Network.
The network is an initiative to raise awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) issues.
'We need to acknowledge the great value that diversity in our staff, in our department, and in our services brings to the work that we do and the culture we have,' Gill said.
'I do look forward to what the network will do for us, for our workforce, for our policy [and] for our services.'
The Secretary's speech was followed by panel discussion about LGBTI awareness featuring Victorian Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Rowena Allen and GBTI activist Margot Fink. They were joined by Sabdha Charlton, a DET senior policy advisor whose rainbow family comprises four kids and her partner Cristina.
The network was founded by DET staff members Brian Lau and Kate Torii.
Brian said no one was obliged to disclose their sexuality in the workplace, but it's nevertheless important to create an environment in which employees feel safe to do so.
It all starts with greater awareness of sexual diversity among employees, said Brian, whose immediate focus is for the network to create a formal governance structure and keep building enthusiasm among staff.
'This isn’t a pride network for me personally – it belongs to every single person in the Department,' said Brian.
'This is important because education, and therefore DET, has a big role in every Victorian's life.'
Soon they will begin engaging regional employees and seeking better representation of 'rainbow families' in the Department's communications material.
The Department is marking the network’s launch by decorating its entrance in rainbow colours.
The DET Network is one of many similar groups within every Victorian Government department and was established under the guidance of the Department of Premier and Cabinet's Equality Branch.