Amy (she/they) has only recently joined the Helping Community Solutions team, but they’re already part of the furniture. Helping Community Solutions is our sister organisation that looks after youth in out-of-home care. Last month, Amy and I caught up to talk about all things, well, all things Amy!
Amy loves dancing, crafts, yoga and being out in nature; on the weekend you can find them at Scarborough Beach, or bushwalking somewhere naturally beautiful, enjoying the serenity.
Amy is passionate about all things health-related, but their deepest interests lie in sexual health. Amy is highly driven to help young people develop bodily autonomy and safer sexual behaviours and is currently working towards one day becoming a fully qualified sexologist.
On being ‘out’ at work
At previous workplaces, people generally assumed Amy was straight due to how they presented visually. Naturally, for a long time, Amy leaned into this narrative to protect themselves. Further, like many of us in the LGBTQI+ community, Amy is not 100% sure how they identify, they just know they’re not straight:
“I think a lot of people have known me and my life is straight, and that’s a narrative that I’ve leaned into a lot… … [I’ve] never really put a label on it because it’s sometimes hard to capture…
… Unless I work somewhere where there’s a lot of gay people, I don’t think anyone knows… … Maybe it’s my own fear of like people thinking what they might think… … I know how rude and horrible people can be sometimes. So, I just rather not do it…”
It’s only been in more recent years when they were working in a very gender-diverse environment, that Amy has felt comfortable sharing more of themselves with their colleagues:
“… Naturally having a lot of like queer gay gender diverse colleagues and friends there I had a lot of discussions around my sexuality and or gender and I think it became more comfortable for me [to be open at work about my identity] …”
It’s our hope that these blogs will assist in making all staff and youth in care feel more comfortable, understood, and supported at Helping Community Solutions regardless of any individual differences.
On being ‘out’ at Helping Community Solutions
It could be said that the present author wasted no time in making sure the new kid knew where their new LGBTQI+ colleagues were, in Amy’s words:
“… It feels really nice to have someone reach out so soon into coming in here… … It’s nice to come in somewhere that I thought would be a little bit maybe square and feel welcomed”.
We’re not offended – to be fair, the community services sector is heavily regulated to protect the vulnerable youth in our care and our NDIS participants. At times it’s very serious business, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find any fruity friends hanging about.
Advice to young folk
Being ‘out’ at work is still very new to Amy, so the lessons they’re learning along the way are still very fresh in their mind. Amy wonders if being out in the workplace is a good idea if you’re new to your gender and sexuality like they are:
“I think having a good understanding of yourself and a good relationship with yourself and people outside of work that you feel comfortable to talk about it with first might be a good step…
… if it’s also unknown and new to you and chaotic and you’re like, whoa, like there’s all these new ideas and thoughts and feelings coming up and ideas of who I am… … Is going to your workplace [the best thing to do] …
Amy recommends sharing your identity with safer people first:
“… Get comfortable in safer spaces first… … Like somewhere that you know is really receptive and then it builds up that confidence and that knowledge that’s like, ‘Oh well I don’t need everyone to accept me, but these people do, and I feel safe and secure with them.’ “
We couldn’t agree more; Our deepest gratitude and thank you to Amy for sharing their personal experience so that all employees in our diverse workforce can connect and relate.
If you loved this blog as much as I loved writing it, share it with your network Stay tuned for more short stories from our fruity teammates. Our fourth and final blog is coming up soon, stay tuned to hear from our Compliance Team Leader, Remy!