Cafs has raised the transgender flag for the first time in Ballarat to acknowledge and celebrate Transgender Awareness Week, encouraging other organisations in the city to do the same next year.

Transgender Awareness Week, from 13-19 November, raises awareness for the transgender and gender diverse community. It is a chance to celebrate our trans friends and family, to learn about gender diversity, and to take real action to support the transgender and gender diverse community.

Cafs employee Sage Akouri (they/them) raised the idea of flying the transgender flag during Transgender Awareness Week to Cafs CEO Wendy Sturgess, and was rapt to gain her full support.

“It’s really great to have a CEO who is so supportive of the transgender and gender diverse community,” Sage said.

“This is a momentous occasion in Ballarat. Flying the transgender flag for Transgender Awareness Week is important for the Ballarat community to say this is a welcoming and accepting place for everyone.

“Raising the flag provides lifesaving visibility to the transgender and gender diverse community. I think this is important, especially to young people living in regional Victoria, to see a message of hope and possibility.

“I encourage other Ballarat organisations and businesses to follow in Cafs’ footsteps and raise the transgender flag for Transgender Awareness Week next year.”

Ms Sturgess said it is really important for everyone to feel welcome, safe and secure when accessing services and businesses.

"Transgender and gender diverse people often feel judged when accessing facilities, businesses or health services, which can prevent them from receiving the levels of service they are entitled to and deserve,” Ms Sturgess said.

“Cafs wants to help break down those barriers, and flying the transgender flag is a visible way to show our organisation’s support for this community. We want the TGD community to know they are warmly welcome here.

“Whether it’s learning about correct pronouns, displaying messages of support or flying the transgender flag, Cafs would love to see more organisations showing their support during Transgender Awareness Week next year, and at all times through the year.”

Cafs gained Rainbow Tick accreditation in 2019, and is committed to diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organisation.