LGBTIQ young people in Mildura have long been isolated from face-to-face supports and safe social spaces for meeting peers, making friends, learning about issues such as safe sex and addressing homophobia and transphobia, and building confidence and support around their sexuality and gender identity. In partnership with headspace Mildura, Many Coloured Sky established fortnightly discussion/activity/social programs to address this isolation and provide one-to-one and group support.
The group attracts a diverse range of young people from 14 - 23 years old, and regularly has twelve to fifteen participants in each session.
AIM: To improve the lives of LGBTIQ young people in Mildura through the creation of safe spaces and activities for meeting peers, learning and developing confidence around their sexual orientation and gender identity.
PARTNER: headspace Mildura
WHY?: Research consistently identifies LGBTIQ young people as being at higher risk than other young people for prejudice and discrimination, violence and harassment, alcohol and other drug use, and suicide and self-harm. These issues are exacerbated for young people in isolated and rural communities. Young people attending Alphabet Soup have identified a number of these issues as personal concerns.
WHAT'S HAPPENED SO FAR? We began Alphabet Soup with a six-session structured program of activities and discussion exploring coming out, where sexuality and gender identity fits within our lives overall, sexual health, relationships, lgbtiq history and culture, and lgbtiq community, and then began fortnightly, ongoing group sessions. Wherever relevant, we have also provided one-to-one support. Attendance at the group grew significantly throughout 2016-17, and we instituted a calendar detailing our program topics and activities in advance.