FREMANTLE’S Young Citizen of the Year says Fremantle needs a “Queer Koort” space for LGBTQIA+ youngsters.
Allie Messenger (22) said young LGBTQIA+ people don’t have the same opportunities to meet as the older community, as most events involve alcohol, so having an under-18s space available after school would help to make Fremantle more welcoming.
“This has been a concern in the drag community so we have started a drag workshop, which if successful will mean we can run more in the future,” the Fremantle Youth Nework member said.
Ms Messenger also wants the city to consult with the LGBTQIA+ community to ensure the language it used was up-to-date and respectful.
“The main point is to eliminate judgement and prejudice, be it towards those in the LGBTQIA+ community, those still exploring their identity or anyone who wishes to step outside of social norms.”
had an LGBTQIA+ reference group.
“Due to the fact gender and sexuality are both still being accepted and explored, there are a lot of revelations and changes that can occur within a short time period,” she said.
“This can sometimes make it hard to know what the right language is if you aren’t part of the community and/or constantly educating yourself.”
Ms Messenger said the city had been extremely supportive of LGBTQIA+ initiatives, although that was tempered by limited access to venues and funding .
She was “incredibly honoured” to win Young Citizen of the Year, and her big dream is to one day become Australian of the Year: “A sign that I have gone down the right path. Kind of like a milestone or a marker to tell how far you’ve proceeded or grown.”
Ms Messenger said she was inspired to become a voice for young people through her own experiences, many of which were difficult and helped her come to terms with flaws in society.
“I’ve experienced turmoil in my life from almost losing both my brother and mother,
to being afflicted by depression due to not identifying with my gender identity,” she said.
Ms Messenger says societal gender norms have made accepting aspects of herself hard, but being around people from the LGBTQIA+ community who were comfortable with their bodies, like women who don’t shave their legs, helped her manage the dysphoria she experienced.
Ms Messenger says young people should get involved in their community by signing up to groups and going to events.
“They can create a safe space for self-discovery, opportunities for professional development and a network of friends and people you can trust,” she said.