Conversation was buzzing and the delicious aroma of hot pizza filled the air as members and supporters of BSSC’s LGBTI+ community gathered for lunch today in the Conference Room.

A number of staff who have received training as BSSC Allies took the opportunity to show their support and chat with students in what was a welcoming and relaxed environment.

“I think that the fact people don’t feel scared to come is great,” Year 12 student, Sachin, said. “I don’t identify as LGBTI+ but I’m one hundred percent supportive. It’s a much bigger group this year which is great.”

“If you feel alone, this is a very good way to meet new people,” Teai said, deciding which of the board games and conversations happening around the tables to join.

Neigheisha, who came out at 15 and is now quite confident about her sexuality, has already faced many of the challenges others are still facing.

“I don’t hide it at all now,” she said. “Everybody knows.”

Headspace coordinates a number of groups for LGBTI+ young people and their parents. Alex attends one of these groups.

“It’s just a lovely group,” she says. “I think having a group at school is very important. It would be great to meet weekly.”

Maree Dixon, who runs the group Alex is part of, attended the luncheon and believes things are getting a little easier for LGBTI+ young people.

“People are becoming more accepting. They can see that those who identify as LGBTI+ are people—the same as they have always been,” she said. “We know that the more support this community gets at school the better their educational outcomes.”