How to connect and empower LGBTQIA+ youth with the support of an Australia Post Community Grant

Learn how Australia Post Community Grant recipients can use their funding to create safe and empowering spaces for Australia’s LGBTIQA+ youth community and help young people thrive.

One of the biggest challenges facing LGBTQIA+ youth is social isolation. This intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic when young people were unable to engage with inclusive spaces and groups in person.

Many lost the social connection they so desperately needed during this time. That’s when the importance of Minus18's work in tackling social isolation shone once again.

Fostering a strong sense of community and connection has been at the heart of Minus18 since its beginnings in 2011. Their mission is to create an Australia that’s free from discrimination for all LGBTQIA+ youth (defined as those between 12-19 years of age).

“We’re leading change, building social inclusion, and advocating for an Australia where all LGBTQIA+ young people are safe, empowered, and surrounded by people who support them,” explains Adrian Murdoch, Minus18’s Partnerships and Campaigns Coordinator.

Adrian has been working with Minus18 since 2017 and started out as a volunteer before stepping into his current role.

“When I heard about Minus18 and the work they were doing, I thought ‘I wish I knew about this when I was younger!’. It would have been so beneficial to me when I was growing up, so I wanted to do my part to help spread their message.”

Finding different ways to connect

When COVID-19 struck and Australians were locked down, Minus18 had to rethink how they supported their community. In-person events and workshops were cancelled, so the Minus18 team came up with a different way to connect.

“We began digitising our youth events,” Adrian explains. “We curated an array of online programs, like dance parties and tutorials, at-home workouts, mindfulness workshops and creative classes. We were overwhelmed by the response and were able to reach even more LGBTQIA+ young people in Australia.”

These online events did wonders in bringing the community together with 98% of participants saying they felt less alone after chatting to their peers over Zoom, attending a workshop, or learning a new dance.

“These connections were not only reducing isolation; they were increasing wellbeing and mental health, and helping establish peer connections,” Adrian says. “This allowed people to share their experiences with one another and build chosen families and social groups.”

How Australia Post’s Community Grant is making a difference

In 2019, Minus18 received the Australia Post Community Grant, which enabled the organisation to spread their message across the country. The grant meant Minus18 was able to recruit and train LGBTQIA+ youth from diverse backgrounds to participate in and lead engagement activities to their peers.

Empowering this group has helped raise the voice of LGBTQIA+ youth, ultimately leading to a thriving, tight-knit and supportive community.

“The funding from Australia Post helps us prioritise our support of these young people and increase their participation within our LGBTQIA+ Youth Leadership Programs,” says Adrian.

At the end of 2019, Minus18 recruited 25 LGBTQIA+ volunteers from across Victoria, with a focus on those with the capacity to support intersectional identities, such as those who identify as QTIPOC (Queer, Trans, or Intersex Person of Colour).

Following their induction, they facilitated the Minus18 Midsumma Carnival Youth Pavilion to a group of 500 young people, and in February led the Minus18 group in the Midsumma Pride March to a crowd of over 20,000 people.

“Our volunteers help create our youth events to be the safe and inclusive environments that over 5000 LGBTQIA+ young people engage with every year,” Adrian says.