Taking a bold stand against schools excluding LGBTQIA+ youth We want to make it clear that there is no room for homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, racism, or misogyny at Youth Projects. It is unacceptable that some fringes of society seek to disadvantage and exclude young people based on their gender, sexual orientation, situation, or ethnicity. We are committed to providing safe spaces through our programs, and at each of our Hubs and locations for the community, where everyone is welcome - regardless of their identity. We believe that every young person deserves the right to express and be their true selves without fear of judgement or discrimination. By empowering young, LGBTQIA+ people to be proud of who they are, we can create a world where everyone is respected and valued for who they are. This week, the Presbyterian Church of Australia sought exemptions to the Australian Law Commission that are hateful, divisive, and archaic – exemptions that would prevent queer students from participating in leaderships roles. For years we’ve worked on homelessness fundraisers, education programs and collaborative activities that sought to promote inclusion, empathy and informed views to create real world change. And it saddens us that some of the schools created to provide community and exciting futures for young people are actively trying to deprive young people of both. Youth Projects will no longer partner with schools who seek exemptions for homophobic, transphobic and misogynist policies. We will no longer work with the Presbyterian Church or any of their related entities, and will no longer accept any donations, engage in any fundraisers or do any work that is not directly related to client-servicing. Young people in our community are impacted by discrimination on a daily basis, and want to reinforce our firm stance of INCLUSION here at Youth Projects. A stance that strongly opposes any fringe views of the community that seek to exclude young people from being their true selves due to outdated and discriminatory beliefs. There may be little or no choice in which school young people attend, and we acknowledge and reinforce that Youth Projects will always hold space for young people and their families, free of judgement. There is still work to be done to create safe and inclusive spaces in all aspects of society, from the home to the classroom, workplaces, and in the wider community. However, at Youth Projects, our open-door policy ensures that young people will ALWAYS have a safe space to come where they can be free from any judgement. We believe that inclusion and respect should have no limits, and we will continue to advocate for and support young people in our community. Everyone has the right to be their true selves, and at Youth Projects, we will always stand for inclusion and equality. This joint statement has been issued by Ben Vasiliou (CEO, Youth Projects) and Melanie Raymond OAM (Chairperson, Youth Projects).