Meet Rose, Minus18’s Youth Events Co-ordinator
Teva celebrates Pride in 2023 partnering with Minus18, Australia's champions out to improve the lives and mental health of LGBTQIA+ youth. Interviewing Rose, Minus18’s youth events coordinator, Rose chats to Teva all things Pride, about the importance of digital events for LGTBQIA+ youth to build confidence in their own shoes, a sneak peek into the upcoming event supported by Teva, and how she plans to celebrate Pride this year.
To begin, Hi! Please tell us your name, your preferred pronouns and a little bit about yourself & how you like to start your day.
Hi! My name is Rose and my pronouns are she/her. I am a dog parent, lover of all things music and a self-titled outdoors aficionado. I proudly identify as a queer lesbian and love to start my day with a *good* coffee and a walk with my border collie, Milo.
Can you share a little bit about Minus18? We’d love to know why event programs, particularly digital ones, are valuable for LGBTQIA+ youth.
At Minus18 we are champions for LGBTQIA+ Youth! We work to create safe, affirming and inclusive spaces for young queer people to connect and feel celebrated.
The event programs that we run are created for queer and questioning youth between the ages of 12 to 19 and are centred on identity affirmation, youth empowerment and friendship. Our events are seriously epic and provide an opportunity for young people to see not only themselves represented through our programming but also in the community.
Digital events are important to expand inclusivity and accessibility to these safe queer spaces. As someone who grew up in a rural town, the opportunity to be present in a queer environment can be life-changing! Just hearing and seeing that you’re valid, that you’re important and that you’re beautiful is so empowering, particularly when you might not have the opportunity to feel that around you all the time.
What can you tell us about the upcoming Virtual Chill Out event and the importance of Minus18 partnering with brands such as Teva?
Minus18's Virtual Chill Out events are fun, digital spaces for LGBTQIA+ young people and their friends to de-stress, and hang out in a safe, calm, and chill environment. Our incredible Young Leaders host this event and facilitate activities that are wholesome and affirming.
For young queer people, seeing the brands that you wear or use meaningfully support the queer youth community can be really affirming. Partnering with Teva helps to provide that visibility and means that we’re able to continue our work to create free and safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ youth.
We’ve heard that you love the outdoors; how would you describe the feeling of being in and around nature as an escape from city life?
Yes! I absolutely love being outdoors! Being out in nature, whether that's hiking, running or climbing, really fuels me. It makes me appreciate those moments of quiet or calm when I’m out of the city. I particularly love looking up at night and seeing the full breadth of stars, it’s a really humbling feeling.
What does Pride mean to you? And what makes you proud of your identity?
Pride, to me, is about self-love and nurturing this beautiful part of yourself that might not have always been cared for in the way it needed. I think it’s also about love for a community that really does centre itself around joy and support for one another.
I’m proud of my queer identity because it makes me feel strong and helps to elevate so many incredible parts of who I am. There is no greater feeling that I’ve felt than the sense of certainty and euphoria I got when I sat with that part of myself and just said ‘yeah, this is who I am.’ It’s a powerful moment for me to reflect on.
Did you have an organisation like Minus18 to support you while you were growing up? Why is Minus18 so meaningful to you now?
I didn’t have a lot of queer representation around me growing up and unfortunately didn’t have access to an organisation like Minus18 until I started University.
That experience has inspired my passion to work towards building access and growing our reach!
Working with Minus18 has really given me that community that I wanted as a younger person and it’s truly exceptional to look around you and know that all your colleagues are working together to uplift queer youth.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice what would it be?
I think I would just say, you’ve got this kid! All the changes are leading to something amazing, don’t fight it, embrace it!
Where have you found yourself wearing your new TEVA’s, do they fit into your lifestyle?
I’ve literally been wearing them all day today, so they are definitely fitting into my lifestyle. I’m excited to take my TEVA’s hiking and show my pride on the trail!
What does it mean to be an ally to the community in 2023?
I think my top three tips for queer allyship in 2023 are actions, visibility and empowerment.
- Action: There are so many different ways that you can be an active ally. For example, take the steps to educate yourself intersectionally, and continue to educate yourself throughout your lifetime or call in people around you who are making a space unsafe for queer folk and help them to learn and grow. These are just two examples, but action exists in your every day, not just a single moment.
- Visibility: Making yourself a visible ally is important not only because it provides active support to the queer people around you (known to you or not) but it also helps to build a culture of inclusion within your surrounding community. It can be something as simple as wearing a pronoun badge or putting up posters in your office! Importantly, this helps to share the responsibility of creating queer safety, rather than leaving that entirely to those that identify as LGBTQIA+. Inclusion is everyone's responsibility
- Empowerment: Open space for queer voices to be heard and always pay people for their time and expertise. Whether that is through programming or stepping back in a conversation and choosing to listen.
How did Minus18 celebrate WorldPride?
The team at Minus18 celebrated WorldPride by continuing to amplify the dreams of young LGBTQIA+ people, and share these on the world stage. We hosted our signature event, Queer Formal, in Sydney, with this being our biggest Queer Formal yet with over 800 attendees! We had amazing LGBTQIA+ and First Nations artists take the stage and create an amazing atmosphere for our queer young people to have the night of their lives. We also celebrated our first Mardi Gras Pride March, and partnered with our wonderful friends at Bonds to elevate LGBTQIA+ voices and celebrate our incredible community and amazing young people within it. It was a massive two weeks for our organisation, and we are grateful to have gathered as one to continue to amplify the dreams of queer youth.
Photography by: @leahhulst_photography