It’s been an unprecedented, rollercoaster year for Australian teens. With COVID-19 impacting and disrupting their lives in myriad ways. For many LGBTQI teens, lockdowns created an additional layer of stress: sheltering in place with families that might not be supportive or understanding of their identity.

In a youth survey undertaken in April 2020, Minus18 discovered that 89% of LGBTQI young people felt less socially connected as a result of COVID-19. After attending a digital Minus18 event however, 96% of attendees reported feeling more positive about their identity and sense of self.

On Saturday, December 5, 2020, the Minus18 Queer Formal returns, online. Broadcast live from St Kilda Town Hall to the laptops and living rooms of hundreds of LGBTQI young people all over Australia. 

The Minus18 Queer Formal was the first of its kind in Australia, and has been running since 2010. Created in response to the high rates of bullying LGBTQI young people face, particularly at school events. The Queer Formal now runs in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide each year and 7,000 people have attended Queer Formals since they began.

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 This will be the 10th time the Queer Formal has transformed St Kilda Town Hall into a life-affirming ‘school formal’ for LGBTQI youth, albeit the first time without a single attendee present in the venue.

Taking the Queer Formal online means any young person can tune in from home with mates at a watch party or at a viewing event organised by their local youth organisation. Taking the stage are Indigenous pop duo The Merindas, Ed Moon, drag queens St Eve, Gigi Era and Sindel Storm, and a special, surprise guest via Queer Formal sponsor, Bonds. 

Minus18 provides support to LGBTQI youth by creating spaces where they belong, are celebrated, and can make friends. The youth-driven charity strives to create an Australia free from discrimination with LGBTQI training for workplaces and schools, digital resources, and awareness campaigns.

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