What Is The Project?
I am a year 12 student living in Canberra, Australia. For our last year in school, our school encourages us to take on a personal project to work on for a year. The project will be presented at the end of the year with a 30 minute presentation. The project must include a practical element as well as some written material and must be planned in such a way that the students have concrete experiences which connect them with their theme. The project is recognised and included in our year 12 certificate. I have decided to look into LGBTQ issues for youth for my project.
What’s The Aim?
The aim of the project is to research the issues LGBTQ teens may experience and to use the research as a basis to educate fellow youths. The information gathered may be channeled into advocacy, activism and education. Connections, openness and visibility are also an important part of the project, with this blog being the core of the visibility and connections aim as well as serving as outlet of all the information I have gathered over the past year on LGBTQ history, issues, my own experiences and just some general musings on the subject.
What’s the Outline?
I have already undertaken projects at the beginning of the year to do with the subject. On the success of the Senior Drama’s “I Will Survive” play, which was performed at the National Museum’s Come Alive Festival late last year, I arranged and organized to take the show on a road trip to visit rural schools in Victoria with the aim of educating and promoting tolerance of LGBT youth. In preparation for the event I had to gain sponsorship (so the cast wouldn’t have to cover expenses) and organize transportation (including route), food and accommodation. I also had to contact schools and theatres in rural Victoria we could visit. I was able to gather support from various people and organizations including Robyn Archer (Creative Director for the Centenary of Canberra), National Museum of Australia, PFLAG ACT, LOTL Magazine, Sydney Mardi Gras, MP Andrew Barr and the sponsorship of Mark Blumer and others. Unfortunately, the “I Will Survive” Orana Road trip was cancelled as many of the cast members felt that the trip will be difficult to fit into their busy school schedule.
At the same time I campaigned to have the high school PD coverage on homosexuality to be more in depth than it was (there was only one lesson on it). Kelly and Kristie were extremely enthusiastic and supportive and together we brainstormed and shared ideas over what could be talked about in future sessions. I was invited to talk to the Year 10s about my coming out experience and what would have really helped for me during the difficult process including information about the kind of support a friend could give to someone in such a position. Although the presentation was extremely emotional for me, I felt it was successful.
I also did a presentation for Stars of Hope that shockingly and unintentionally ran for just over half and hour! It covered all sorts of information; from the different labels people use to define their sexuality, to the historical view of homosexuality, to my own views and experiences.
Throughout the first semester I researched the subject extensively. I found various YouTubers who spoke about their experiences and answered questions online that gave me insight into different experiences as well as an idea of what life is like after school or in different countries. I watched several movies, short films and documentaries some of which were particularly eye-opening. I also researched online support for LGBT youth as well as resources and communities in the ACT. I have also been lucky enough to stumble upon a book titled “Homosexuality and Civilization” that looks at attitudes throughout the ancient civilizations from Ancient Egypt and Greece through to The Enlightenment era.
In Term 3 I will be interviewing various people from the LGBT community in the ACT as well as attempting to interview some of the YouTubers I watched during my research. I will also host a “World Café” which will involve having a dinner with likeminded people and discussing current LGBT issues and sharing experiences. This will give me other perspectives to include in my project. I hope to acquire permission to document the event (probably on film).
I have sent in an application to join the Diversity ACT Youth Board. If my application is successful I will include it in my project. I may also attempt to gather a group of LGBT people to speak to high school students in various schools in the ACT. I will contact MIE ACT, which is an organization that sends recovering mental illness patients into schools to talk about their experience, to see if they will help me achieve the LGBT related school education talks.
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