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Canberra plans with every colour of the rainbow

A vivid illustration of people parading, featuring lots of rainbows and people of different body types, genders and ages.

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The ACT puts action behind its title as the Capital of Equality.

With the launch of the latest Action Plan by the Office for LGBTIQ+ Affairs, Canberra is working towards being the most welcoming and inclusive city in Australia for LGBTIQ+ people.

Since 2019, progress has been made on issues like banning harmful sexuality and gender identity conversion practices and changes to birth certificates to make it easier for transgender, intersex, and gender diverse young people to change their given names and/or registered sex.

This will be the second action plan for Canberra, and the design of the Plan itself has been rethought following calls from the community for it to better reflect the range of lived experience across the ACT LGBTIQ+ community.

Graphic Designer Joanne Leong said the colourful and optimistic design brings together illustrations from twelve LGBTIQ+ illustrators – a way to give the community agency over the way policies that affect them are presented to the broader ACT community.

As a queer woman of colour, Joanne wanted the document to be designed by the community it speaks to.

“I wanted to commission illustrators with different levels of experience and with different identities to contribute. The illustrators brought their personal ideas and diverse lived experience of identity, community and what it means to be LGBTIQ+ into their work. The policies are so important, and it was exciting to be able to connect more members of our community to the Plan; all while achieving broader and more inclusive representation for LGBTIQ+ people.”

A rainbow heart with illustrations of members of the LGBTQI community inside and the words 'love is love'.

One of the illustrations featured in the Plan by Manya Sinha.

Over the next year, some of the major focus areas will include reforms to regulate medical interventions on intersex people, more inclusive data collection across ACT Government, and action to address barriers to health services for LGBTIQ+ people.

“Actions speak louder than words, so the community-based design process is an important step and in itself an action of sorts,” Joanne said.

To read the Capital of Equality Second Action Plan (2022-2023), visit the Office of LGBTIQ+ Affairs website.

Designers and illustrators featured

Joanne Leong – She/Her, Canberra, Ngunnawal/Hong Kong,

Annalisa D’Ortenzio – She/Her, Canberra, Ngunnawal,

Jehan Jayawickrama – He/Him Canberra, Ngunnawal/Sri Lanka,

Libby McArdle – She/They, Brisbane, Meanjin,

Henry Nguyen – He/him Adelaide, Kaurna/ Vietnam/ Melbourne, Naarm, @henry_creativ

Gaby Niemeyer – She/They, Melbourne, Naarm,

Yiannis Nikodellis – He/Him, Canberra, Ngunnawal, @elthrowup

Xiao Niu – They/Them, Melbourne, Naarm, @pakchoi_boi

Alistair Ott – They/He/Nhila, Ngunnawal/Wiradjuri,

Leah Pearson – She/Her, Canberra, Ngunnawal, @LeahPearsonArt

Alexander Sarsfield – He/Him, Canberra, Ngunnawal/ Ngāi Te Rangi iwi,

Manya Sinha – She/Her, Canberra, Ngunnawal/Brisbane, Meanjin, @ganjichudail

Caroline Zijing – She/Her, Sydney, Gadigal land of Eora Nation,

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