In what is an Australian first for a secondary college, BSSC yesterday launched the Ally Network to ensure gender diverse and transgender students can access a trusted ally and safe environment if the need arises.

As Celeste and Nathan cut the rainbow cake, they celebrated BSSC as a welcoming place for LGBTIQ students. BSSC allies will actively challenge homophobic behaviour and language around the college, while providing a safe and compassionate environment for LGBTIQ students if they need someone to talk to.

“This event has brought together the allies and LGBTIQ students so we can get to know each other a bit better,” said Sarah, who attended the luncheon.

“Students who are just discovering their sexuality often have a really hard time… to know they have support like this available is fantastic. I hope other schools will follow quickly.”

Millie from Headspace was also at the launch to speak about the importance of the Ally Network.

“Gender diverse and transgender people are more likely to face mental health concerns,” she said.

La Trobe University research shows that 80% of LGBTIQ people have thought of self-harm, while 70% have self-harmed. 81% have thought of suicide and 37% have attempted.