The fear of persecution or discrimination is something that LGBTIQ-identifying people live with every day; being made to feel like an outsider, being treated differently, or worse. Creating safe spaces to meet and connect with peers is important for the LGBTIQ community, and is one of the key ways of ensuring people’s inclusion in society.
Two years ago, annecto’s Southeast Region Coordinator of Homecare, Ruth Crawshaw, saw a need for an LGBTIQ group to meet regularly on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. According to Ruth, the opportunity for people to meet and socialise was limited.
“There was absolutely nothing like it on the Peninsula for LGBTIQ people to share experiences”, Ruth said. “Along with a colleague from the Brotherhood of St Lawrence, I helped establish a group called Out On The Peninsula. It gave LGBTIQ people a safe space to meet, and to feel socially included.”
“Six people came to the first meet-up but the group’s network quickly grew along with its reputation as a safe space. Before long 20 people were attending the monthly meetings. People from the transgender community particularly liked the group as it gave them a place to be themselves. Some even brought their parents along.”
“The group is now so popular that we have people who travel from 50km away. It has allowed people who had no outlet to meet other people from the community. Friendships and relationships have been formed, and the group has a Facebook page of almost 200 people. It’s become a thriving and self-sustaining forum which came together with annecto’s support”, Ruth remarked.