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LGBTIQ elders can lead the way

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  • I remember the day I stood at parliament house in Melbourne, with my young adult daughter and watched the vote come in for gay marriage. It was a historical day and one I’ll never forget. Older members of the LGBTIQ community will recall the difficulties they have faced over the years. Visibility and acceptance are now on the rise, with marriage equality being debated globally.

    However, young LGBTIQ people in Australia are still finding their way. Thanks to the rising popularity of shows such as Queer Eye or Rupaul’s Drag Race, visibility of the LGBTIQ community in popular media is becoming more mainstream and celebrated. Young people have the opportunity to see somebody open up on television about the real struggles they face, but also see how things need to improve. In particular, young people growing up in more rural or conservative communities who are not exposed to the LGBTIQ culture.

    But a greater challenge is finding role models who can impart their life experiences. For somebody who is just starting to figure out who they are, it can be intimidating to find acceptance and safe spaces. Elder members of the queer community can affirm that having somebody to support them when they first came out would have been invaluable.

    There is an opportunity here to embrace and support young adults who are coming out and/or finding a safe space to live. They often find themselves needing to leave home as their families come to terms with the changes.

    Becoming a host and opening your home to a guest who is taking a big step into the next phase of their life, can be a rewarding and kind-hearted thing to do. Contribution is a value that enriches all people’s lives and, in this case, is also reciprocated. What better way to make a difference than allowing that same person to also make a difference in your life by helping you out in return.

    The Room Xchange is building micro-communities. We believe that by opening up more of the world into your home, you also enrich your life in more ways than one.

    By Ludwina Dautovic

    Founder, The Room Xchange

    Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash