With the help of education and an open mind, the University of Wollongong’s support group ‘Allsorts’ and the Queer AF organisation have given students the opportunity to be themselves by providing a safe place in the community.
The Allsorts Queer representative on the WUSA council, Taani Hendricks said she was continuing to make the support group a more visible and accessible resource for students who are part of the LGBQIA+ umbrella.
“Queer individuals are resourceful and provide a very specific voice, all they need is the opportunity that has been kept out of (their) reach by an oppressive societal system, much like it has for many minority groups,” she said.
Allsorts aims to support LGBTQIA+ individuals who may face discrimination in and outside the education system.
Along with Allsorts, James Christie-Murray, the director and event organiser for ‘Queer Af’ inclusive events, aims to help those who are a part of the community find their voice.
Mr Christie-Murray, who goes by the stage name Pablo, dresses-up in drag and takes over bars in the Wollongong area, with the help and support of his friends.
He believes that Wollongong has fostered toxicity through its nightlife, so he wants to create an opportunity for individuals to feel safe.
“I saw a problem and I saw a solution,” he said.
“I always wanted Wollongong to have a proper space for queer people.”
The Queer Af nights are for LGBTQIA+ individuals to socialise in an environment where they feel comfortable and are not judged.
A space where they are able to kiss and hug their partner without feeling like they are being ridiculed.
Pablo said he tries to foster a safe and loving community.
In the future he hopes to help establish a Wollongong Pride Festival to further support the LGBTQIA+ community in the area.
The following statistics are from the LBTI health.org website.