As an employee of CHESS I am a daily advocate of inclusion, not just for those with a disability but for equality and human rights. Our motto is to support people to live a Strong Life, not only for our customers but for our employers and staff too. Our commitment to diversity and equality for all creates a better community for everyone to enjoy. I have chosen today to provide a voice to those in the community who may feel voiceless.

Having grown up in a small rural town I know how difficult it is for LGBTQI youth to feel accepted and safe in their remote community. Since then I have traveled all over the world, living and experiencing the pure love and acceptance of many metro communities. These cities have hotels, cafes, and clubs, even whole villages celebrating gay pride; there is somewhere safe for people to go where they can feel recognised and accepted. I am also lucky enough to have attended numerous Pride parades and ‘Wear It Purple’ days in Australia and overseas, there I have experienced first hand what acceptance, recognition and equality truly looks like. Like I said, I am one of the lucky ones; I have the luxury of a lived open perspective, supportive loved ones and easy access to self-help.

Having moved back to a rural area I am once again concerned about the inclusion, recognition and equality of all in our local community. It is especially concerning when we see the statistics of youth suicide as being significantly higher in recent years and specifically among our young LGBTQI. As the plebiscite postal vote is being mailed out across Australia in the coming months this sense of acceptance within one’s own self and community becomes palpable for those being judged on the equality of their rights compared to those of all others in their society. As a result of negative campaigning, our country will see a rise in generalised anxiety and mood disorders.

With so much hatred, fear, apathy and dis-unity in the world around us right now, we need to reclaim the power each of us has to change things. I would like to challenge everyone who reads this to think about what affect they want their lives to have on their world and how they can actively change things for the greater good. How can you build a Strong Life for yourself and others in your world?

More Information

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This article is Nicole’s unedited and personal point of view