“We are all aware that the LGBTI community is growing fast in Australia, and whilst we are seeing more people embracing and accepting themselves for who they are, as well as those around them, understanding what that means there is still not enough INCLUSION in the wider society.
The LGBTI community is made up of so many different cultures and diverse types of people:
"I remember the day I told my mum, dad, siblings and friends like it was yesterday... It got easier every time."
But did you know that LGBTI youth are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers?
Its 2017 - young men and women feeling isolated because of how they identify is not acceptable. I’d like to think that I can be a positive influence on those who aren’t as lucky as I have been.
It is completely okay to be different.
I do understand what it’s like to feel isolated and how the fear of rejection can affect our emotional state. Speaking up about feelings is important, but having someone trustworthy to speak to is MOST important.
I remember the day I told my mum, dad, siblings and friends like it was yesterday. It got easier every time.
Coming from childhood and high school years where no one (including myself) would have ever really guessed (except mum - apparently she knows everything!) people were firstly shocked, but I was lucky enough to be accepted by those closest to me and that is what gave me strength.
For those that chose not to accept me, I didn’t even notice they were gone. I strongly believe and encourage through all my work, that if your parents, family or friends don’t accept you for who you truly are, then they’re not meant to be a part of your journey through life, and it’s not your fault in any way.
I recommend that you find those people who are supportive, embrace their generosity and kindness, and immerse yourself in knowing and teaching yourself that you belong.
It is that time of year when we celebrate Mardi Gras. This isn’t just about a party in downtown Sydney, it’s about ALL members of the LGBTI community all over Australia and having the opportunity to feel like we can be ourselves, have fun, be free. Love is love, and who can argue with that?
As an Ambassador for R U OK?, I’d like to encourage everyone to reach out and talk to their LGBTI mates, make the effort to see how their doing, and keep checking in with them. If they don’t open up straight away, keep trying. There’s nothing worse than feeling isolated or trapped in your own being. Be free, love yourselves, love each other and Stay True, Stay Proud, Stay YOU!
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will be Live on NITV's Facebook page at 6pm so you can admire the fabulous people, parade and costumes and watch the night unfold.