Special Guest Visitor to the GSA

The Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) hosted a special guest at our lunchtime meeting on Friday 2 November. Sixteen students attended the special Q&A with Hemlata Ranga, who is a Tintern mother and psychiatrist. She bought along some Pride themed badges, stickers, posters, leaflets and educational books. She also provided us with some suggested links for services that support the LGBTIQA+ community, which are listed at the bottom of this article.

The GSA was started in 2018 by Kaitlyn Woodhill (11E). We meet every Day 5 lunchtime in the upstairs Year 9 area. Everyone is welcome to attend and we have members from Years 7 – 12 who identify as LGBTI+ or are allies. Our mission encompasses the following 3 goals:

1. Social/support;

2. Education; and

3. Advocacy

This year we have celebrated Pride Month and GSA representatives have spoken in assembly several times. I have run two surveys to members and non-members so that we can better cater to the needs of our students and find out how effective our message has been. We are taking into account this feedback and students will be choosing a new name for the GSA in 2019 to better reflect the identities of our members. Next year we also intend to make Pride Month even bigger and hopefully educate students so that they are more aware of the harm caused by using the word ‘gay’ in a negative context.

Student identity, wellbeing and inclusion are extremely important. Australian and international research statistics clearly show that suicide, self-harm and mental health disorders are significantly higher in the LGBTI+ community (source: https://lgbtihealth.org.au/statistics/).

I am very proud of what the GSA and Kaitlyn Woodhill have achieved so far. Congratulations also to Kaitlyn who has been selected as our 2019 leader.

Links for services that support LGBTIQA+ community:

Support for people 18 and under (best to access via Facebook and develop support network through that) and the FB posts are usually moderated) – https://www.minus18.org.au/ 

Crisis support and guidance for mental health – https://headspace.org.au/

 Drummond Street Services for counselling and support network – https://ds.org.au/our-services/queerspace/

GP clinic that has a good mix of GPs and psychologists / other allied health services that provide holistic support to LGBTIQA+ community – http://northsideclinic.net.au/

Good resources and pathways, for those under 17 years of age – https://www.rch.org.au/adolescent-medicine/gender-service/

Monash Health information pack – http://www.genderhelpforparents.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/GDC-Info-Pack-referral-pathway-and-MH-professional-contacts-April-2016.pdf

by Julie Tillyer, GSA Coordinator

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