GOLDFIELDS Libraries are joining central Victorian groups to support regional young people who identify as LGBTIQA+.
The Allied 4'em program will aim to engage with young people and help share their stories through theatre and online videos.
Bendigo Library team leader Robin Pearson said the project would be in collaboration with Bendigo PRIDE and the Arena Theatre Company. The Victorian government would fund the program.
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"Public libraries are like community living rooms," Mr Pearson said. "It's a place where everyone in Bendigo is welcome. It's a natural place for diverse people of all ages to congregate.
"From our end, providing a space for young LGBTIQA+ people to come together and share their stores is great."
The project will be separated into two different parts.
The first will be a series of online theatrical performances created, directed, produced, and performed by young people.
The videos will share the experiences of regional youth who identify as LGBTIQA+.
The series, which will be guided by professional youth theatre facilitators, will aim to build a community conversation about being a great ally to LGBTIQA+ people.
Mr Pearson said the program would address ways to better support those rural and regional young people.
"The scary and exciting thing about the project is we don't know where it will end up," he said. "It will be dependent on the particular people who volunteer.
"The volunteers we're looking for are young people who have a story to tell. It can be a story of happiness and joy, or a story of struggle and tragedy.
"What we're interested in is a mix of stories that will show us a snapshot of the 2021 experience for young people."
The second part will take place on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
Goldfields Libraries will host a panel of experts and LGBTIQA+ young people who will provide a toolkit for families, teachers, employers, and friends.
"It's something for maybe a parent who is faced with their child coming out and doesn't know how to show their support," Mr Pearson said. "They can look at that information and forum as a place to learn.
"It's pretty powerful to have young people teach older people how to treat them. We're flipping the usual situation and giving young people the opportunity to be mentors."
Mr Pearson said anyone interested in participating in any part of the program should visit ncgrl.vic.gov.au/allied4em or call the Bendigo Library on 5449 2700.
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