20. Loren Reid

2 May

“You should be able to be you, without judgment”

Legalising gay marriage is probably the most controversial topic discussed in today’s society. Loren Reid, graduated from Eltham High in 2010. Having been open about her sexuality throughout high school, she was given the opportunity to spread awareness about her views, and consult other students. She’s always been comfortable with herself, and her peers were all well aware of this. Attending Eltham High, they had always encouraged all students to stand up for their opinions and were ever so understanding of such difficulties young people face especially during this period in their life.

It all started when she was approached by her welfare c0ordinator. She was asked to consult a year 7 student, who was confused about their sexuality. Being able to understand their position, she thought it would be great to help them out. From then on, she created this mentoring program at school for those students who just wanted someone to talk to about their sexuality.

Loren’s passion for such an issue has impacted the school and the wider community. During her time working on the mentoring project she was approached by several different organisations that provide support and a social environment for same sex attracted or transgender young people. One of these being EGG; The Eltham Gay Group that caters for young people in Banyule and Nillumbik who are gay or questioning their sexuality. She has been working with EGG for some time, supporting same sex individuals as well as spreading awareness about the impacts of bullying.

Currently Loren’s working on a project on behalf of EGG in association with The Banyule Council, in creating an anti-bullying campaign. In collaboration with Banyule 100’s Sean Porter, the aim is to create a series of short videos ads taking on a satirical view on different forms of bullying. Their plan is to send it to schools aimed at students between Years 8-10. After watching the ad she hopes to create small discussion groups, dividing boys from girls and allowing students to tell their stories, giving them the opportunity to be heard.

Loren went through a few difficult years when she was just starting high school, during that period in life she looked up to a few Youtube stars. ‘That really got me through at the time’ She hopes to promote her anti-bullying campaign via Youtube, and other social networking sites such as Tumblr.

She’s currently being approached by schools to talk to students about sexuality, and hopes to take life as it comes step by step. Her hopes ideally are for people to learn to accept that sexuality isn’t a choice, but a part of life.

Words By:Lucy Zhao

Photo by: Sean Porter

© Sean Porter 2011

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