An Australian first, the Escape Velocity film project, launched in August with three, provocative, short films highlighting the challenges of LGBTIQ young people. 

The project, created by a partnership of Minus18 and St Martins Youth Arts Centre in Melbourne, was supported by the State Government of Victoria through Creative Victoria’s Future Maker’s for Change initiative. 

Over the past year, a group of thirteen trans and gender diverse young people engaged with creative workshops and storytelling led by St Martins and Minus18, which inspired the series of thought-provoking short films, featuring three of the participants and retelling their own lived experience, fears and challenges. 

Their authentic performances around their fears and challenges, help to share a confronting insight into the world of the LGBTIQ young community.

One of the films, Dive In, features Alice, 16, and is set at a swimming pool with classmates where a young person courageously reveals to their coach and squad why they no longer want to swim in the boy’s team, blazing the way to new understandings. 

“Coming out sometimes needs to be extravagant to actually get your point across. My hope is that we can get to a point where someone can come out and not make a big fuss, and it just be a conversation like any other. But that wouldn’t make for a good video would it.” Alice said of her film.

“The story of the short film I am in is kind of similar to the way I came out, my year level was doing an activity which was split into boys and girls, and I just joined the girl’s side..”

The other two short films features one set in a public bathroom as a young person’s stress and anxiety grows in an unfortunately familiar situation to most trans and gender diverse young people.The third, a young person is asked to identify their gender at a medical clinic which produces an inspired and surprising response. 

The film’s lead protagonist, Kian 25, explained the relevance of the feature, “It’s about the fact that trans people exist in different contexts. We don’t stop being trans when we go to the doctor’s office. We are not just trans in queer spaces.” 

Driven by the voices of young trans and gender diverse participants, these films are an opportunity to understand, to learn and most importantly, celebrate their identities. The success of these films is born out of the opportunity to give a voice to young people, with the participants sharing an authentic portrayal of lived-experience and ideas, showcasing an overdue insight to the larger community. The vulnerability shared is a reminder of the often confronting reality world LGBTIQ young people live, as gender acceptance is debated through-out media. 

St Martins artistic director Nadja Kostich explained that, in science, escape velocity refers to the energy needed to overcome a powerful force of gravity. 

“In our project, Escape Velocity is the call to build up a collective momentum as a society and become allies to trans and gender non- conforming young people,” Kostich said.

The next two installments of the project, scheduled for the end of 2019 and mid-2020, and will continue to challenge society to understand and evolve gender acceptance. 

You can find out more and view the films on the project website; https://escapevelocity.net.au/ 

Or see the videos via Facebook or Twitter via @Minus18youth.

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