The Sunshine Coast will hold its first Rainbow Formal for LGBTI high school students next month.

Sam Bouzanquet, student organiser of the formal, has been working for over a year to bring the event about, according to ABC News.

“The formal makes me feel really excited because it is a time for boys, girls and anyone in between to be proud of who they are in a school-related environment,” said Bouzanquet.

Fiona Anderson of the Sunshine Coast Pride Network, co-organiser of the Rainbow Formal, said students across south-east Queensland and as far north as the Fraser Coast had expressed interest in the event.

“We want schools to see that there are many ways to encourage all students to be a part of their end-of-year celebrations and that no one should be made to feel excluded or uncomfortable,” said Anderson.

Youth group Minus18 has held a similar Queer Formal in Melbourne for a number of years, and last year New South Wales held its inaugural Fancy Formal for LGBTI teens.

Anderson said the organisers of the Rainbow Formal were inspired the interstate events.

Bouzanquet’s mother Amanda said that inclusivity begins at home, and being a gay teen in a regional area was additionally difficult.

“The kids who can’t come out as a teenager are so disadvantaged,” she said.

“The struggle is finding those like yourself and being able to connect to each other in ways straight kids get all the time.

“The Rainbow Formal is sending confirmation that we support and love them unconditionally.”

The Rainbow Formal will be held on October 14 at the University of the Sunshine Coast. It is open to all Queensland year 10 to 12 students.

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