Each week on indeqx, we feature one of our community listings, to find out more about why they do what they do. This week, we talk to…
StandOut WA is a relatively new organisation, empowering students in Western Australia to create LGBTIQA+ safe spaces within schools.
We spoke to coordinators Akio Ho and Lauren Gollagher to find out more…
What does your organisation do?
StandOut WA is led by an organising committee of students from various high schools in WA.
We help youth create supportive networks, and empower them to set up GSAs/SAGA groups (Gay-Straight Alliances or Sexuality and Gender Acceptance groups) in their schools. These GSAs act as spaces for support and education, where students can discuss LGBTQI experiences in a safe and inclusive environment, and learn about LGBTQI issues and culture — whether LGBTQI or a supportive ally.
The organising committee (consisting of school GSA representatives and external coordinators) and volunteer team also raise awareness about LGBTQI issues in Western Australia and create comfortable spaces for LGBTQI youth, through participating in events, creating a school-external community and via social media.
How did your organisation start?
We were started by a group of students from a range of schools, who did not have direct access to LGBTQI specific programmes or educational support.
We created GSAs/StandOut groups and continue to network with new students to increase the reach of StandOut.
What does a person need to do to get involved with your organisation?
If you are interested in becoming a part of StandOut WA’s community you can join our anonymous Discord server and follow our social media accounts;
To join our team of volunteers, you can apply on Facebook or at our Website and assist with planning events, graphic design, working for the coordinators’ team, helping with sponsor and community relations etc.
If you’re interested in establishing a StandOut or GSA at your school, email [email protected] for support.
How does your organisation contribute to the LGBTIQA+ communities?
Our projects are aimed at increasing the wellbeing for LGBTQI students and youth in the community. Through the unique secure space provided by our Discord server, we hope to achieve a sense of belonging and safety.
By helping students create GSAs/StandOut groups for their own schools, we aim to increase visibility of LGBTQI voices and to help support LGBTQI students’ access to safety and peer support – particularly in schools that don’t have LGBTQI specific curriculums or guidelines.
What are any exciting things happening in the future for your organisation?
Currently, we are planning to have a stall at the ICEA Classic (Western Australian charity youth event based on First Nations reconciliation) on November 24. Also on our calendar is a possible participation in Perth Pride (November 24), collaboration with organisations like Inclusive Education WA, and an event at the end of the year (stay tuned!). We are also working on a zine – articles, artwork and other media can be submitted to the editors through any of our social media pages.
Thanks to Akio and Lauren for answering our questions, and for empowering young people to organise, create and speak up about what matters most to them.
Make sure you check out the StandOut WA listing below and see what exciting things they have coming up!