Talking with Mill from Minus18!
Mill was wonderful enough to answer a few questions about Minus 18, the fabulous work that they do with Queer Youth in Australia! Thank you so much Mill
What is Minus 18 all about and what services/support does the organisation provide?
Minus18 is Australia’s largest youth led LGBTI service, providing support and community connection to half a million young people across the nation. We smash queerphobia by providing educational resources, online articles and videos, kick ass social and dance events and also by providing a positive narrative that reflects what young people are all about today.
At Minus 18, what is your role and what brought you to it?
I am the Head of Outreach at Minus18, so my job branches over quite a few different things. I develop and facilitate workshops and professional developments for schools and organisations on sexuality and gender, and I also scope out potential partnerships for Minus, always on the lookout for ways we can collaborate with other orgs.
Sadly, mental health outcomes are much poorer for young people who are LGBTI+ with higher rates of suicide and mental illness. What do you think needs to be done on a societal level to improve outcomes and what is Minus 18’s role in this?
There is still an alarming amount of discrimination and social isolation that young LGBTI people experience. Whether by means of overt abuse or simply by being under represented in media or education syllabus, young LGBTI people are STILL being left out and unsupported. There needs to be more services connecting young people with supports and meaningful space carved out in government, education and healthcare to provide for these at risk young people.
What has your experience with Mental health been?
My mental health has been more or less the same as majority of other young LGBTI people. I’ve suffered from depression, anxiety, isolation PTSD and suicidality. I suppose what I’m getting at is, this is not a unique or unusual experience in my community.
What has it been like for you in figuring out your own sexuality/gender identity?
It has been long and difficult, obviously it is not supported yet in Australia to start questioning and going your identity from a young age, s it’s not until you are older that you feel supported and comfortable to truly embrace yourself. Finding community and others like me totally changed my life though, and that’s where my story really begins.
What message would you have for young people who are trying to figure out their own sexuality and gender identity?
You are not alone. And there are people fighting like wild fire for your future, your rights, your freedom and your safety.
What can friends do to help & support someone around them who is same sex attracted or gender diverse?
Listen. Listen to the language they feel comfortable with, don’t talk over, question or ridicule. Even if it doesn’t make sense to you. This is harder than you could ever possibly imagine and they need all the support they can get right now.