Across Australia there are youth services that hold specialist skills in offering support to the full diversity of human bodies, genders, sexualities, and identities.
These organisations provide essential, life-supporting care to young people who might describe themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer, or for whom the dominant cultural labels for sexuality, or gender, are not appropriate.
Often this care is provided with minimal or no funding, and relies on the passionate expertise of networks of social workers, counsellors, advocates, and prominent community members.
Through the MindOUT! Project the Alliance came to realise that these organisations are doing critical work in mental health and suicide prevention. We also noticed that while this work is often life changing for those involved, it can be hard for the wider community to hear about what is happening and why it is so important.
The MindOUT! Youth Project
‘If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together’
The MindOUT! Youth Project brings together ten LGBT specialist youth services from around Australia to document and celebrate the amazing work they are already doing with LGBT young people. This project will document practice based evidence for best practice care and support when working with these populations. By building partnerships across the country, and by making evidence for best practice visible, this project will:
- Inform national strategies that promote and respond to the mental health and suicide prevention needs of people and communities that is inclusive of LGBTI young people
- Work collaboratively with LGBTI youth organisations, networks and communities to strengthen their capacity to identify and respond to the mental health needs of the LGBTI young people.
On 5-6 March 2015 the Youth Project partners met in Sydney at the offices of project partner, Twenty10 inc. GLCS NSW. Together they developed an Australian first evaluation tool to provide a framework for speaking about and assessing their services and skills collectively.
Introducing the Project Partners: Phase One
We are a camp for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer (LGBTIQ), and Sex &/or Gender Diverse teens, same sex attracted, curious & questioning teens and their allies, aged 13-17. Camp Out offers the chance to attend an away-from-home camp with people who share similar experiences, offering a supportive and safe space to learn and express yourself, an opportunity for capacity building and a fun environment in which to do so. Not for Profit, totally volunteer run and organised.
QSPACE is a drop – in centre specifically for young people. We support sexually, sex and gender diverse youth (inclusive of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, Asexual, Pansexual etc). The support for young people happens in the form of a weekly group program (QSPACE) for 13-17 year olds as well as by providing individual support.
Freedom Centre (FC) is here for young people to support each other and their communities to be informed, happy and healthy about their sexuality, sex and gender. Our drop-in centre is a safe space to hang out, have fun, meet other LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer, Questioning and otherwise diverse in their sexuality and/or gender) young people and get peer-support, referrals and info.”
Australia’s largest youth led organisation for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans* youth. At Minus18, we aim to improve the lives of same sex attracted and gender diverse (SSAGD) youth; to empower them, connect them with others and help them understand themselves. We do this through social events, resource production, partnering with other community groups, and awareness raising. Each year our events and projects reach more than 60,000 youth right across Australia.
Open Doors provides counselling and support services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) young people aged 12 to 24 and their families who live in South East Queensland. We incorporate:
- Drop-In Days for LGBT young people aged 12 to 18
- Young and Proud for LGBT young people aged 18 to 24
- Jellybeans for transgender young people aged under 24
- QueerYarn for Indigenous LGBT young people aged under 24
- Queeriosity Youth Festival for LGBT young people aged under 25
True Colours is a Uniting Care West program that directly supports young LGBTI people in the South West of Western Australia, and also works with schools and the broader community to raise awareness and break down the barriers to safe and inclusive communities. True colours runs the group out of Bunbury.
Twenty10 inc. GLCS NSW aims to create and nurture such places for people of diverse genders, sexualities and sexes and their families and communities. A place to be you. Providing individual and social support, education and advocacy.
Working it out
Tasmania’s gender, sexuality and intersex status support and education service. Social support groups in 3 locations across Tasmania.
Youth Empowered Towards Independence (YETI) is a community based organisation that works with vulnerable young people in Far North Queensland. The agency facilitates a range of programs focussing on the needs of vulnerable young people, including: a drop-in program; case management; therapeutic counselling; outreach; and research and evaluation. YETI runs a SSAY-IT social group for same sex attracted and transgender young people.
The Zoe Belle Gender Centre works to support and improve the health and wellbeing of Victoria’s sex and gender diverse population. We provide education, information, and referrals. We also collaborate with individuals and organisations – running events, workshops, and working to build the capacity of our communities.
For more information about the project and its work, contact Project Officer Charlie Willbridge via email at firstname.lastname@example.org