Friday, 1 March 2013

Sydney Mardi Gras and LGBT Youth Support

I thought it would be timely, with the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade occurring tomorrow - and not due to my complete slackness of blog posting in February (yeah, right) - to comment on my friends vlogs and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender) support.

My friend Brett is doing the slightly crazy admiral task of a daily vlog (video blog for the uninitiated). In a recent post he talked about gay youth support. Brett also referenced his brother Kevin's post which stated the irrelevance of whether sexuality is a choice. I wholeheartedly agree with both their posts. Kevin in particular makes some really well thought out and articulate posts about same-sex marriage.

I grew up in the unusual position of knowing a number of gay and lesbian family friends. I've only come to discover in adulthood, that this actually was unusual . I presumed most people knew someone not straight*.
As part of my counselling studies I undertook a research project focussed on the LGBT community. I was horrified to discover that it was an anomaly to personally know anyone LGBT before coming out; it was pretty much non-existent. This impacts who LGBT youth come-out to, and potentially unsafe introductions into LGBT life.

The presumption of heterosexuality and the need to come-out is a whole other discussion in itself. I wrote a paper on the negative impact homophobic-bullying (the second most common form of bullying after weight, in UK schools) can make on young people questioning their sexuality. The use of the word gay as a negative, is never OK.

I'm passionate about working with youth, particularly LGBT youth. But I'm wondering if I'm going to encounter resistance being hetero myself? Is there a place for a straight* but supportive person to work in a niche where I'll likely be the minority? I hope so, especially as I'm now living in a semi-rural community; I believe these kids need to know there are supportive people in the normal* world.

I love the Mardi Gras. I'm gutted that I'm not going to be there again this year, especially as I'm now in the right bloody country! But if young people only get to witness the extreme images, and not the day-to-day of openly loving families of all descriptions, then I will despair. For this very reason, I'm hugely excited that the Australian Armed Forces are finally able to walk in uniform. I have also explicitly told Pickle's nursery that I'm happy for them to discuss families of all descriptions.

I would love to know your thoughts? Will you tell your children's school that you're explicitly happy for them to discuss families of all kinds?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

* I could honestly rant for ages on the use of words like "normal" and "straight" in this context, but I'll spare you. For now.


  1. No kids as you know, but I was always happy my niece went to a progressive primary school where they minimised stereotypes and were very open and accepting. (A Montessori School!) Kids are like sponges so I think we need to be good role models and they will soak up values and beliefs by osmosis.

  2. Absolutely. I want my children to grow up to be accepting open people. :-)


I'd love to hear your thoughts!