Out of the closet: mentoring our LGBTIQ youth

ELOISE LE GROS

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Out for Australia is supporting young LBGTIQ professionals. Source: Out for Australia.

Brisbane’s only network association designed to support young LGBTIQ professionals is calling for applications to join it’s professional mentoring program.

Out for Australia‘s unique career mentorship program, provides specific career mentoring for LGBTIQ aspiring professionals, connecting them with established industry figures in a one-on-one professional relationship.

The organisation, whose Brisbane chapter opened May 2015, is a one of a kind program offering Australia’s only networking events designed for young LGBTIQ professionals wanting to develop their careers in a supportive environment.

Out for Australia‘s Queensland Communications Coordinator, Edward Quinn explained the mentoring program was crucial in addressing anxieties many young people felt when starting a career.

“There was a much needed requirement to support young professionals and students [in the LGBTIQ community] as many feel they cannot be open about their sexuality at work or it may hinder their career,” he said.

According to  a 2012 Beyond Blue survey, 39% of  LGBTIQ Australians hide their sexuality at work, with the  16-24 age group most likely to do so.

LGBTIQ students in particular, may experience discrimination and uncertainty within their field as they enter their prospective industries.

Final year Griffith University student, Alex Corby agreed many students starting out in the workforce were hesitant to disclose their gender identity to colleagues.

He said many LGBTIQ youth lacked the confidence to bring their full self to work, something that Out for Australia‘s mentoring program could help to change.

“[With this confidence] they have a better chance of being relaxed in the workforce and can focus on their career progression without prejudice or fear of losing their job,” he said.

A recent Pride in Diversity report suggests that gender inclusion plays a major factor in workplace productivity, with LGBTIQ employees experiencing a 20% drop in performance if actively hiding their identity.

According to the report, LGBTIQ employees supported by mentoring programs could achieve 7% to 16% higher in workplace experience scores than those unsupported.

“Although there is still a long way to go [until total gender inclusion] is accepted, this is a great step forward for the LGBTIQ community,” Mr Corby said.

Applications for Out for Australia‘s 2016 mentoring program close September 5.

Visit www.outforausralia.org for more information.

 

 

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