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Australia LGBTQI Indigenous young people urged to be true to who they are

00:25  25 october  2019
00:25  25 october  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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Indigenous peoples , also known as First peoples , Aboriginal peoples or Native peoples , are ethnic groups who are the original owners and caretakers of a given region

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a person holding a colorful umbrella: The whole community came out to support Indigenous LGBTQI people. (ABC Coffs Coast: Liz Keen)© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation The whole community came out to support Indigenous LGBTQI people. (ABC Coffs Coast: Liz Keen)

Australia's Indigenous leaders are being urged to support gay community members, to avoid ostracising a new generation.

Indigenous young people are four times more likely to commit suicide than the general population, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

And LGBTQI young people are twice as likely to be diagnosed and treated for mental health disorders than the general population, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

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This is a partial list of the world's indigenous / aboriginal / native people . Indigenous peoples are "those ethnic groups that were indigenous to a territory prior to being incorporated into a national

What about young people who fit in both camps?

Chocolate Boxx is a Dunghutti gay man, and Miss First Nations 2019, so he is Australia's reigning Indigenous Drag Queen.

"It's really a minority within a minority," he said.

"Because as black people we're already in a minority in everyone else's eyes and then being gay on top of that.

"Then I'm a drag queen on top of that, so I'm just chilling."

Indigenous community pressures

Chocolate Boxx said there were also particular pressures from the Indigenous community.

"As men in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community you have to be leaders," he said.

He said it was still not accepted in many communities that gay men could be leaders in community.

The Black and Proud, Out and Loud event was organised by Gumbaynggirr gay man Lucas Craig who said growing up gay in Coffs Harbour was hard because he knew people in his community would not understand his sexuality.

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"You just want to be accepted [by] your own family and community," Mr Craig said.

He said a lot of people end up leaving their home towns to find somewhere to feel safe to be themselves.

James Saunders is a Gunditjmara and Wiradjuri gay man who has also been a professional rugby league player.

While his family supported him when he came out 14 years ago, he said he had experienced challenges from some men in his community.

"And they still struggled with accepting who I am as my whole being," he said.

Celebrate together

The event earlier this month aimed to bring the Indigenous and LGBTQI communities together to help them understand each other, according to Mr Craig.

"We want to teach our communities because it's the unknown, they're not sure what we're about," he said.

"I just want to say, 'this is us and celebrate with us!' so we can all move forward and celebrate as one community.

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"Be happy with who your family is."

He said food, dancing, and entertainment brought the community together, but a rally or march could have become dangerous.

And he said, while there was some backlash in the local community, the night was full of joy, celebration, and support.

The Welcome to Country on the night was done by two Gumbaynggirr elders and sisters, Jenny Skinner and Emily Hyland.

Their message was about love, because they have seen the criticism of young LGBTQI people in their community.

"I've got a lot of relations in this situation," Ms Hyland said.

"The biggest things is to love and love them dearly and unconditionally," Ms Skinner said.

"And be proud of them," Ms Hyland added.

Chocolate Boxx left his home in Kempsey when he came out, because of the pressures he felt in his community.

His message to Indigenous LGBTQI young people is — believe in yourself and stay strong.

"You don't have to know who you are yet, but the person you are at the present time," he said.

"Be authentic to you and it will be a lot better in the long run."

The event was raising money to create a youth hub for LGBTQI Indigenous young people and their families on the mid north coast of New South Wales.

This is our best chance to deliver the promise of an Indigenous Voice .
A Liberal senator writes that all voices can now be heard to ensure Indigenous Australians have a say in the decisions that affect them.In my first speech to Parliament, I argued Australia should finally deliver constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians. I said: “I would walk with Indigenous Australians on this journey.” A key element of this is the development of an Indigenous voice to government.

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