By Tyler Wright
On Saturday September 10 at the Burrinja Cultural Centre, award-winning queer author Roz Bellamy hosted a story-sharing workshop for LGBTQI+ youth identifying people to encourage queer youth to put their experiences on paper.
Recently completing a PhD on the subject just a few months ago, Roz discovered that queer people between the ages of 16 and 20 had a better sense of mental well-being and self-image after writing about themselves. .
“As one of the writers said the same day when talking about their manuscript they’re working on…it has non-binary or gender-diverse characters, and when they work on it, it also helps them to express something about themselves and really understand their own identity better,” Roz said.
“I just loved the way they said that, because to me, that’s why writing is such an important tool, especially for young gay people, because a lot of times there just isn’t other places…
“There may not be anyone at school they feel safe with, they may not be comfortable at home, but if they are able to write about themselves or on characters who are going through similar things on the page, it can often give them that feeling of not even being represented, but of being able to really explore [and] tackling something that otherwise has to be an internal process.
One workshop participant showcased her writing in a poem, with Roz encouraging participants in their workshops to share their story in whatever form suits them.
They said people coming together in a similar age group is important, but those in different age brackets can also learn from each other.
“A [participant] was talking about Tik Tok and using those kinds of spaces to make identity videos and rant about things
“Sometimes one of the older participants will say something [and] the younger ones are like ‘oh, wow, I didn’t think of that, I didn’t know that.’
To learn more about Roz Bellamy, visit https://www.rozbellamy.com/