Pink Mountains Youth

July 30, 2016 in Broader Community Event, Event, News by Jonathan Llewellyn

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Pink Mountains LGBTQISSA Youth Group Teaser

Following on from the first Same-Sex Formal for LGBTQI Youth 21 and Under organised by Pink Mountains which took place on the June Long Weekend earlier this year, a new social group for LGBTQISSA+ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex Same-sex Attracted and Questioning) young people has been created. Working in partnership with Mountains Youth Services Team (MYST), Pink Mountains Youth will occur monthly at the the Katoomba Youth Centre on Waratah Street on the last Tuesday night of each month.

Responding to the positive feedback from the young people who attended the Same-Sex Formal in June, it was quickly identified that there aren’t any dedicated services for LGBTQISSA+ young people in the Blue Mountains that provide a regular safe space for social activity. Some services offer ad hoc support or refer people on to other services which are often based off the mountains and mostly in the city of Sydney.

There is most definitely a gap for young people,” said Jonathan Llewellyn, a Pink Mountains volunteer and active community member. “There was a gap 20 years ago when I was young and looking for social interaction with others my age, and there is still a gap today. I’m hoping this new group will start to address that.

Pink Mountains Youth will provide a relaxed and safe space for young LGBTQISSA+ people to be themselves, establish new friendships and peer support networks, and dissolve any sense of isolation that they may feel. The monthly get togethers will be a mixture of both social and education based activity. Although there is online access to information and online communities this regular group will provide a face to face experience you can’t get online.

Pink Mountains Youth will be run by a small group of Pink Mountains volunteers who have experience working with young people in various sectors and who have appropriate references for working with young people. These volunteers are Aandrea, Phill and Jonathan. Working with resources and support provided to the volunteers by other service providers like ACON, Twenty10, Headspace and more, an educational programme is being created to cover an array of topics that are important for young LGBTQISSA+ people. Topics like coming out, safe sex, STI’s and HIV/AIDs, dating and relationships, safe online activity, community history, rights and responsibilities, travel and different laws, and lots more will be covered over time.

A couple of years ago a young gay man I knew had created himself an online profile in an attempt to meet others in the area,” Jonathan said. “He’d ticked things of interest like Bondage thinking it meant bonding with others, getting to know people. He was quite shocked when we discussed what it really meant. There are certain things just not taught in schools or by parents.

Pink Mountains Youth will engage with the broader LGBTQISSA+ community of the Blue Mountains through a series of special guests at some get togethers. These special guests will allow intergeneration knowledge sharing, LGBTQISSA history sharing and storytelling. Other special guests may be from other service providers that work in areas important to LGBTQISSA+ people. Within the Blue Mountains community there are some people with great stories to tell – 78ers, people in long term relationships, and others who had lots of involvement with organisations such as Community Support Network and PLWHA.

Pink Mountains Youth will not be a 24/7 Support service or provide emergency accommodation for young people in crisis. People in need of these services will be referred on.

The first together for Pink Mountains Youth will be as follows:

Tuesday 30 August
7pm – 9pm
Katoomba Youth Centre
31 Waratah St Katoomba
4782 6562

Following dates will be:

Tuesday 27 September
Tuesday 25 October
November 29 November

There will be no get together in December and will recommence in January.

Young people who would like to attend can either just turn up on the night or let one of the volunteers know they wish to attend by sending an email to youth@pinkmountains.com.au with their name and contact number if they wish to provide it.

Anyone who would like more information or who has specific questions, can email our volunteers at youth@pinkmountains.com.au

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