Proud and Present

To be heard, to be seen, is to be well.

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Everyone has the right to be heard and seen; this allows all of us to ‘be well’.

Champions for LGBTQIA+ youth, Minus18 Australia's charity are leading change, building social inclusion, and advocating for an Australia where all young people are safe, empowered, and surrounded by people that support them. Celebrity chef, content creator and restaurant owner, Khanh Ong, sat down with the team at Minus18, Adrian Murdoch and Alvi Ahmed, for a fun and juicy conversation about the great work they are doing for LGBTQIA+ youth.

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Khanh: Tell us about Minus18. What are Minus 18 trying to achieve in the world?
Adrian: Minus 18 creates safe, inclusive and affirming spaces for LGBTQIA+ young people. Historically that was events, but now we use campaigns and our young leaders program to widen that further, alongside of course education.

Khanh: What is a safe space?
Adrian: Being able to feel free to express your whole self across all intersections of your life - gender, sexuality, age, culture, ability etc.

Khanh: How do we create safe spaces?
Adrian: Accessibility (free, abilities, location, culturally) and learning (putting concepts into action).
Alvi: Representation, think about who’s in the room & culture - how those in the room operate (inclusive language, training, awareness).

Khanh: What does it mean to become proud? And what does being proud mean to you?
Adrian: Pride is an evolution for anyone’s journey; it could be a matter of coming out to family or friends, expressing yourself at work, or maybe finding resources and support. Personally, i consider being Proud as enjoying the liberation without leaving anyone behind.
Alvi: Finding your truth and sharing it with others.

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Khanh: What does it mean to be an ally?
Alvi: Put simply - it’s standing beside and up for one another.
Adrian: Even beyond allyship, consider being an advocate and be more active;
- Start the conversations
- Drive the changes
- Make allies out of bystanders
- Leverage your resources

Khanh: What are some other ways you display allyship in your own life?
Adrian: Being visible (wear a pronoun pin, or ally badge), educating family or friends, sharing resources with your networks.

Khanh: How do we take the fear our of getting it wrong as we become allies?
Alvi: It’s okay to make mistakes, correct yourself and move on. Allyship is like a muscle and I promise it becomes stronger the more you use it.

Minus18 offers incredible online LGBTQIA+ resources and research, along with useful tookits from the team and wider community at minus18/org.au/resources. Find out more or get involved with Minus18 by visiting minus18.org.au.

Helpful definitions: 
LGBTQIA+
An evolving acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questionning, intersex, asexual.

IDAHOBIT
International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

Wear It Purple Day
An annual LGBTIQA+ awareness day especially for young people

Trans Awareness Week
A one-week celebration leading up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which memorialises victims of transphobic violence.

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