Open Doors: The Kids Are Alright
The youth of today are our future, and Rocky Malone from GLBT youth service Open Doors explains the work they do.
Open Doors Youth Service Inc. supports LGBT young people aged 12-24 around sexuality and or gender identity. At Open Doors we have a number of programs that support LGBT youth.
We recognise that in Australia, cultural environments discriminate against and marginalise young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender, or who have diverse genders and/or sexualities.
Tis discrimination can be particularly severe for those young people who are disadvantaged or vulnerable, resulting in homelessness, suffering, distress and destitution.
These young people, like all young people, deserve families, communities, supports and services that positively affirm who they are. These young people, like all young people, have strengths that enrich our world.
Open Doors Youth Service is primarily funded by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs through their Reconnect Program which allows Open Doors to support LGBT young people aged 12-18 who might be homeless, at risk of homelessness, disengaging from school and their families situated in South East Queensland.
Open Doors runs regular drop in groups for those under 18. During these times we provide a safe space for young people to interact with their peers, seek support from youth workers and also participate in educational workshops, artwork, sports and fun and games.
The Open Doors Young and Proud group is for LGBT young people and those with a diverse gender and/or sexuality aged 18 to 24. This group introduces young people to the larger LGBT community and providing them with opportunities to participate in a drug and alcohol free space, which often can be hard to find.
Other services at Open Doors include Jellybeans, a group for young people who are transgender or gender diverse aged 12-24, and Queeryarn, a cultural learning group based on the indigenous culture of yarning open to all cultures and ages 12-24.
Open Doors also currently has clinics running out of our space in partnership with external organisation and businesses. Live to Learn Program is for young people who would like to improve their numeracy and literacy, and we are also in partnership with Hot House, a free drug and alcohol counselling service for young people under 25.
All young people with diverse genders and/or sexualities have the opportunity to fully experience and truly know pride for life. Open Doors are also creating valuable partnerships with external government and non-government organisations to best support LGBT youth and their families appropriately.
Open Doors Youth Service is made up of myself, co-ordinator Rocky Malone, Youth and Family Support Worker Jules Woodley, part-time Youth and Family Support worker and YAP facilitator Sal Plunkett, Jellybeans facilitator Lorelei Voisey and a part-time admin/finance worker, Joseph Robinson.
You can contact Open Doors Youth Service in person at 5 Greensquare Close, Fortitude Valley, or by phoning the office on (07) 3257 7660. Alternatively you can check us out on our website www.opendoors.net.au, access resources, information, drop in groups and LGBT friendly services, or add us on Facebook or Twitter.
IMAGE: Open Doors: (from left) Haley, Nikki, Jules, Rocky, Sal and Beau.