Young and gay? You’re welcome at The Deck


Port Stephens Examiner

IT WAS Mardi Gras on the weekend and just in case you didn’t know, if you’re young and gay you’re welcome at The Deck Youth Venue.

It says a lot about our society that we even need to say “hey, we’re a safe and welcoming place for LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer) identifying people”.

Unfortunately, prejudice towards LGBTIQ people is still prevalent throughout Australian society.

To disagree with this statement is to be:

A) Prejudice towards LGBTIQ people, or;

B) Be living under a rock that’s under a boulder that’s under a mountain.

If you’re A and B then total sympathy goes out to you as this prejudice is enough of a burden to carry, without the weight of a mountain.

This prejudice has many names: homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. It’s like a virus in that it can be passed on, sometimes very easily.

Children are most susceptible to contracting it, as they’re young and impressionable. The symptoms for the person with the homophobia etc are devastating: anger, hatred and pain, all stemming from fear, reinforced by anti-LGBTIQ attitudes in movies, video games, media, music, social media, and with peers and family.

If a parent or carer loves their child than a way to help them with happiness is to role model acceptance of LGBTIQ identifying people. Otherwise you might as well be telling your child the earth is flat.

Why would you tell a child the earth is flat? You wouldn’t because that is not how the world is. The world has heterosexual people, the world has lesbian people, the world has gay people, the world has bi-sexual people, the world has transgender people, the world has intersex people, and the world has queer people.

Now don’t go telling them anything different, otherwise they’ll be round earth denialists and battling a conflict between a silly and outdated idea (“that gay is wrong or a mental illness”) versus the reality of the world (“that LGBTIQ is as natural as heterosexuality”).

There’s so much more freedom for a child growing up if they’re being encouraged to be non-judgmental.

There’s no denying that everyone suffers from homophobia.

The Deck Youth Venue (a youth space for 12 to 18 year olds) is situated at 1A Kangaroo Street, Raymond Terrace.