Open Door Youth Service: Independently Serving Queensland’s Queer Youth

Open Door Youth Service: Independently Serving Queensland’s Queer Youth
Image: Members of the ODYS team. Image: supplied

Boasting a group of highly devoted staff, the Open Door Youth Service has been helping young Queenslanders from all across the LGBTQ+ spectrum connect with the community, themselves, and one another for over a decade.

As the only specialised youth service of its kind in Queensland, they provide a wide range of essential resources, programs, and functions dedicated to the enrichment of young queer lives in the state and beyond.

Such resources include:

  • Reconnect – A homelessness intervention program
  • Brisbane Mind – Mental health counseling.
  • Jellybeans – A service for trans and gender-diverse youth
  • And, Young & Proud – A community building support group

“A Whole Lot More”

Sitting down with Star Observer, Open Doors Youth Service CEO Chris Pickard highlights the service’s history and its enduring present.

“The group started over 10 years ago by a couple of volunteers of our service when we started to attract young trans and/or gender-diverse people,” he said.

“Over this time, the number of young people joining has grown significantly.  [The service] provides 1 on 1 support, goal planning, case management, referrals, family support, and a whole lot more.  We also facilitate social support groups for the participants fortnightly.

Pickard also brought up how managing finances for the service has grown more difficult as time has worn on, detailing how most expenses have always been independently funded, with little support from the government.

“The program has been delivered out of our own pockets for the majority of its existence but it has grown to such a point that we cannot continue to do so,” he said.

He describes how this is in spite of continually reaching out to official bodies seeking aid, getting little in response.

“[We’ve written to the government] many times.  We are currently awaiting a response from QHealth about our recent submission.”

In lieu of this, the service runs a diverse range of queer-positive fundraisers to both maintain funds while also building community.

Their latest, a screening of queer documentary film ‘Who I Am’, will occur at 2 pm on Monday, June, 26 at the Brisbane Theatre and is open to all who wish to attend.

Connecting Queer Youth

In spite of difficulties, Pickard only sees the service’s work continuing in earnest – sharing its overall vision that “all young people of Diverse genders, bodies, sexualities, and relationships [should] be connected to culturally and developmentally appropriate services.”

To this end he outlines the company’s efforts to move further, raising awareness and making their service known to queer youth by working alongside schools across Queensland.

“We work very closely with many high schools throughout South East Queensland,” Pickard said.

Overall, through its wide range of programs suited to any need, the Open Doors Youth Service is ready and eager to provide high-quality aid to all LGBTQ+ youth.

A full list of resources, and further information on events, fundraisers, and more can be found on their website.

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