Group wants youth support and equal rights
IPSWICH’S only dedicated support group for members of the city’s LGBTIQ community and those around them is calling for more student support and equal rights in Australia.
Janet Berry said Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) started in Ipswich two years ago after noticing a lack of support.
“We just wanted to try and help people in whatever way they needed,” she said.
Ms Berry said all students needed to be educated to improve understanding, stop bullying and educate youth about all members of their community.
“When my son came out I resolved it was important to make sure schools were safe and supportive for LGBTIQ students,” she said.
“We now have a Queensland action group for students and we’re working hard ... to lobby the government to do more.
“There’s still heaps to do in schools. Things are improving and some schools are really excellent but some still have a long way to go.”
PFLAG member Jade Connor, who ran for the Division 9 seat in this year’s council elections, said nation-wide issues like marriage equality and adoption needed to become a priority.
“I feel like when you live in Ipswich, and the experience is different for everybody, you can’t be totally yourself all the time,” he said.
“Being gay has got one difference from other types of discrimination in that your parents usually aren’t gay and you might be ostracised by your own family. That happens a lot in Ipswich.
“Politicians need reminding about how important it is because they’ve got a lot on their plates. They need to be reminded how bad suicide, mental and physical health statistics are.
“To be gay you still have to be a little bit brave. I ran for council and most people talk about being family men with kids. I had it said to me I wasn’t a family man and that’s really tough because I want to be.”
For more about the group visit the ‘PFLAG Ipswich’ Facebook page