ZAQUE and headspace Ballarat have put together a fun way to celebrate sex and gender diversity among young people with the inaugural LGBTIQ+ Youth Ball.
Support and engagement group ZAQUE hosts fortnightly meetings where people aged 12-25 can come along to relax in a safe space, spend time getting to know each other as well as get out into the community.
Member Shae Ohlsen came up with the idea to host a youth ball, targetting the same age group, after attending her netball and football club ball.
“We came up with costumes and themes just to add to the fun and excitement,” she said.
“It can be anything, Disney, fantasy, superheroes and literally anyone can come along as long as they fit within the age group.”
The youth ball will include a best dressed competition, photo booth and door prizes.
headspace Ballarat’s Andy Penny emphasised allies who supported sex and gender diversity were also encouraged to come along and be part of the event.
“We just want to do this to celebrate sex and gender diversity in young people in a safe place where they can have a great time,” he said.
“We’re big on trust, safety and support at ZAQUE, so we want to carry that through to this event.”
Mr Penny said there had been a strong response in the lead up to the ball with LGBTIQ+ groups in Ballarat and throughout Victoria interested in attending, which meant a chance to collaborate and network.
There may even be the potential to make the ball an annual event.
“It just reflects there are heaps of great LGBTI events that happen in Ballarat throughout the year,” Mr Penny said.
“So there is a great space and we’re keen to be a part of it, supporting young people to just be themselves and have a safe journey in exploring their identity.”
Ballarat’s LGBTIQ+ Youth Ball will be held on Friday, November 23, at Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute from 7-9pm. Food and beverages are provided on the night. For more information or tickets visit the eventbrite page.