Click the play button above to hear the full interview with April and Wadi from StrongBrotherStrongSister
A progressive, understanding and compassionate society? Well, we’ve certainly like to think so, but the reality is that there are marginalised sections of our society that are often ostracised, ridiculed and simply misunderstood.
At Geelong-based Strong Brother Strong Sister, two young program leaders – April Goldring and Wadi Corstorphan – recognised the need to support some of those misunderstood people. The result was a dedicated support group for young (16-27yo) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who identified as LGBTQI+.
“We’re very proud to announce that our LGBTQIA program is the first program across Victoria that we’re aware of for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, which it’s quite incredible,” April told Connection Matters Radio (CMR).
“It’s definitely one that is filling the void that is required.”
Taking it across the country
With the introduction of COVID-19 lockdowns across Victoria, the two young leaders opted to take the program online rather than hold until easing of restrictions.
The result was that while it was initially intended to support young LGBTQI+ people within Victoria, the Zoom-based model that evolved saw an influx of attendees from across the country.
“We did look at just the Victoria region [initially], but slowly as we realised that it would be an online space, we realised that we could have young people come in from around Australia if they wanted to,” Wadi said.
“As long as people want to come on, we’re not too strict about it.”
April added: “So far, this program has been running for about 11 or 12 weeks, and we have had fantastic participation from young people in WA, New South Wales, in the Northern territory. We’ve had people from across Australia join our program.
“So, this has actually gone beyond what we had set ourself and we’ll continue to reach across Australia and continue to foster and nurture this program until it is hopefully Australia-wide.”