Coming out is a challenge for any young person, but the challenge can be much bigger for those who have newly arrived in Australia.
The young people may have come from countries where people from the LGBTIQAP+ community face ongoing persecution.
With more than half of Inala’s population being born overseas, Inala Youth Service has partnered with the Brisbane-based Open Doors Youth Service to help give young people access to the support they need.
Inala Youth Service CEO Lisa Evans said the partnership will assist young people in Inala questioning their sexuality to access support.
“Some of the young people who are new to Australia have come from countries where it is illegal to identify as LGBTIQAP+,” Ms Evans said.
“This presents a challenge in itself with many of the newly arrived young people not knowing that it is legal in Australia and safe to be yourself.”
LGBTIQAP+ relationships and sexual acts are currently criminalised in 72 countries with penalties ranging from fines and short jail terms to death.
Three countries also have laws against the “promotion” of LGBTIQAP+ relationships.
Open Doors youth and family support worker Shaye Austin said while it is legal in Australia, many of these young people still fear the persecution they could face in their own communities.
“Many of these young people have gone through a lot in their short time here on Earth,” Ms Austin said.
“For some of them the act of coming out as gay or trans could lead to them being ostracised in a new community where connections are already limited.
“This could have a detrimental impact on the young person’s mental health and wellbeing and it is crucial for services to provide ongoing support to young people in these situations.
“This is what we are hoping this partnership will enable us to do in the Inala area.”
Support organisations are only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to helping people experiencing persecution due to their sexuality or gender identity.
More widely the LGBTIQAP+ community plays a crucial role in offering support and sharing experiences to help others overcome the challenge of coming out.
Open Doors will have an outreach youth worker on-site at Inala Youth Service’s The Hut every second Thursday from October 18.
The youth worker will provide local young people with an additional point of support if they are looking to discuss LGBTIQAP+ issues or simply just have a chat.