When gazing at our Bit Bent feature photo you may have asked yourself: who is this person with wondrous blue hair??
This fortnight I had the good fortune to meet Lumi: a former Bit Bent participant whose infectious enthusiasm and reputation of service to the LGBTIQ* community had preceded them.
In keeping with BCS’s motto of fostering an inclusive and connected community, the Bit Bent crew were excited to welcome Lumi back the other day to tell us all about what was in store for this year’s Encampment. Encampment is an exciting project run for young people aged 13 to 17 who identify as LGBTIQ*, which Lumi explains for readers below.
Having heard that Lumi continues to contribute great work to the rainbow community, I was keen to ask them about this and their experience of Bit Bent.
I have heard so many wonderful things about you. Sounds like you contribute a fair bit to the community! Tell me a little bit more about the other awesome stuff that you do?
My work with the community has allowed me opportunities such as being part of the Safe School consortium, advocating for Marriage Equality and being an LGBTIQ voice on the headspace Youth Reference Group 2016. I’m also an out and proud participant in the local LGBTIQ community, participating in events such as marching with Capital Queers at Mardi Gras, performing poetry at the A Gender Agenda Zine Launch and spray painting giant rainbow unicorn for Youth Week.
What should readers know about Encampment? How can people get involved?
Encampment is a program run by and for young people who identify as LGBTIQ who live in Canberra and the surrounding region. In 2018, we are excited to be holding the first two-day, one night program on the weekend of the 14th and 15th of April. Camp will be hosted at Peakgrove Solutions on the Yass River.
We’ve been working for six months to make camp a safe, fun and non-judgemental learning environment for young people to express themselves and connect with other young people and organisations. Our camp will be packed full of workshops, games, talks and campfires. We are welcoming expressions of interest now! If you would like to get involved, give the AIDS Action Council a call on 6257 2855.
You were once a Bit Bent participant. Tell me about how you first heard about Bit Bent?
First time I heard about Bit Bent was from a lovely housemate who had a transgender experience and was supportive of me coming out and exploring my identity.
What can you remember about your first visit?
My first visit to Bit Bent I remember being super quiet and shy. Was completely new to Canberra after coming from a small country town where I had only seen the LGBTIQ+ community in Japanese anime. Can remember meeting Emily, Eric and Matt and feeling so welcomed, safe and accepted.
How long did you attend Bit Bent for?
I attended Bit Bent from age 19 until a week before I turned 26. Being a University student I later became a regular at drop-in for food and conversation.
What was awesome about Bit Bent / what were your best moments there?
Bit Bent offers something so special and amazing to young LGBTIQ+ Canberrans. Each week whether we were packing roses for SHFPACT, chilling out and practicing our drawing, connecting through Circle Time or if it was a difficult week when I sought out the Youth Worker, Bit Bent allowed me that space to be myself and feel part of a community.
Do you have any words of advice for our young readers?
Just know that you may be unique in your uniqueness, you don’t have to do it alone, and your community accepts you. Also, be the rainbow!
***Many thanks to Lumi for taking the time to speak to us about their Bit Bent experience and Encampent, and thanks to Lumi, and Boo for coming to speak to the Bit Bent team about Encampment.
By Melissa Gryglewski
Lumi: Model for BCS’S Bit Bent Photo, and Encampment Ambassador.
Bit Bent is a social support group for same sex attracted and sex and gender diverse young people in the Canberra region. The Belconnen Bit Bent group is held every Monday from 6pm to 8pm during school terms and is facilitated by two Youth Engagement team members and an LGBTIQ+ community volunteer.
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