LGBTIQ multicultural youths are using art to tell their stories in a new project run by Multicultural Health Support Service.
Daily, young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds have to navigate the different cultural spaces that exist between family, friends, workplaces and public spaces. For some young people, belonging to a sexual and/or gender minority adds further complexity to that process.
The voices of LGBTIQ multicultural youths are often rendered invisible by the need to fit into defined cultural spaces that they inhabit or by the fact that they are a minority in both the LGBTIQ space or in their cultural/religious space.
In addition, some of these young people may face multiple hurdles in being able to express and live their identities via both racism and homophobia.
In an attempt to shine a light into the intersection of gender, sexuality and multiculturalism, the Multicultural Health Support Service, part of the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health, initiated the Rainbow Connections project.
The projects aims have been to:
- Form meaningful connections with culturally diverse LGBTQI youth and other key stakeholders to increase community awareness of the issues that culturally diverse LGBTQI youth face including homophobia and racism.
- Nurture, support and develop grassroots initiatives with culturally diverse LGBTQI youth to respond to self-determined needs and issues.
- Develop resilience, capacity and confidence of culturally diverse LGBTQI youth through a peer-led, co-design model to empower participants and readers to share experiences and develop capacity for peer support.
- Promote inclusion and celebrate diversity of LGBTQI youth through artistic expression and engagement of the wider community in Melbourne.
The Rainbow Connections project was able to recruit a number of young people. These young people came together over a number of months in a series of workshops to explore and tease out these issues. The result was a multimedia online resource of people’s own stories that illustrated the interrelationship of culture, sexuality, gender, religion and identity.
The project is ongoing and we encourage young people to submit new content to the site. People can send their contributions as audio, visual, text or video.