Same-sex attracted young Victorians will tell their stories about growing up queer in a documentary released this month.
Family Planning Victoria’s youth support group YAK will release the film, Not So Straight, at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival on March 21. The film looks at issues of isolation, homophobia, and the complexity of relationships.
YAK facilitator Mark Camilleri said even before the documentary’s release the filmmaking process had an impact on the lives of the young people involved.
“Their self-confidence has skyrocketed. It’s been really empowering for them to turn negative experiences into something positive,” he said.
The 60-minute film is split into nine personal stories including coming out, being diagnosed with HIV, and confronting parents and friends.
Camilleri told Southern Star he hopes the film will make its way into schools as a resource for young people.
“People who are isolated, perhaps starting to question who they are… hopefully they would see this and say, ‘This is my community, these people are just like me and this is how they found their space in the world and the community, including the GLBTI community’. ”
Despite general acceptance in society, Camilleri said it can still be tough going for young people questioning their sexuality and he hopes the film may help.
“They can’t really go to pubs or clubs if they are under 18.
“Where can they go to find other people in their community?”
The project was funded by the City of Melbourne and put together by documentary filmmakers Peter George and Poppy Shmith in collaboration with FPV and YAK members.
“One of the things the young people noticed is that a lot of films about queer kids are negative,” Camilleri said.
“The [group] really wanted to redress that. There’s really a young person’s bravado about it that gives you a bit of hope and positivity for the next generation.”
In related news, FVP is continuing to roll out its Sexual Health And Diversity Enterprise (SHADE), with local forums for same-sex attracted indigenous and non-indigenous young people in Gippsland this month.
SHADE indigenous patron and OutBlack convenor bryan Andy said the project was crucial for isolated communities.
“Being an Aboriginal gay man who grew up in regional Victoria, I found coming out, expressing my sexuality and having a good sense of self was particularly hard,” he said.
info: Not So Straight screens noon, March 21. Visit www.mqff.com.au For more information on SHADE, visit www.fvp.org.au

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