As someone well over the age of 25 writing in the youth issue, this call to action to advocate for LGBTQI youth is aimed at all of us who maybe haven’t been considered youth in a while now, however young at heart we may be!
This issue is timed to coincide with Wear It Purple Day, and this year’s theme is ‘We Are The Change’. At Twenty10 we are fortunate to see young people changing the world every day and we are always inspired by their activism and resilience. We meet many supportive families, schools and communities, and young people thriving as a result, but there is so much more work we adults need to do.
Lack of affordable housing, access to health pathways, employment and economic uncertainty, climate crisis and a global pandemic are things that strike at the heart of many an anxiety response in even the most resilient, grown human – let alone someone entering high-school, mid tertiary degree or apprenticeship. Throw in being stuck at home with an unsupportive family, faith group or social space – and not being able to access your regular preferred social support outlets, and it’s no surprise current research is telling us many young Australians are truly struggling, especially those who identify as LGBTQI.
As an organisation, Twenty10 has been working with young people for over 35 years (combined 70 when we talk about our work with adults through GLCS, now Qlife) and we see that the demand on our services continues to far outweigh our capacity to provide support. We are lucky to receive government funding for our core services, and we have incredible sector partnerships and community support that allow us to deliver our programs – however it doesn’t extend to expanding the work we need to do in Western Sydney and Regional NSW and our core funding has barely increased in over a decade. We see large mainstream services, (who play a vital role in youth support), continue to attract the lion’s share of funding allocation – whereas smaller, specialised services working with minority groups such as Twenty10, are often overlooked.
Twenty10 are calling for a fully funded, wrap around Gender Clinic to support young trans and gender diverse children, adolescents and their families; mandatory education and training in working with young LGBTQI people for all services that involve working with young people (health and education primarily) and more dedicated mental health and suicide prevention funding specifically for supporting young LGBTQI people. We also want to see the end of any proposed legislation that has the capacity to discriminate against and harm any young Australians.
We encourage the centering of voices of young people, especially young people from First Nations, culturally diverse backgrounds, forcibly displaced and other minority communities. We must provide them with opportunities to speak, and when they tell us what they need, we must listen and act. Young people in our LGBTQI communities need our support and service offerings now more than ever. They need continued advocacy and action aimed at dismantling systemic barriers with a view to creating equity of access for all.
For any young people reading this, we see you and we are here for you. Please get in touch with Twenty10 or Qlife (for all ages) if you need support and be sure to check out and join in with our online programs and connect with other young LGBTQI people!
*Feel free to get in touch for a downloadable poster for your office, school, community space via firstname.lastname@example.org