The WA AIDS Council was honoured last month to host Labor leader Mark McGowan (pictured above third from left) at the Freedom Centre in Northbridge.
Freedom Centre (FC), run by the WA AIDS Council, is a centre for LGBTIQ young people (under 26) to support each other and their communities to be informed, happy and healthy about their sexuality, sex and gender.
Mr McGowan, Leader of the Opposition and the Member for Rockingham, accepted an invitation to afternoon tea and attended with Stephen Dawson, the Labor Shadow Minister for Disability Services, Mental Health and Child Protection (pictured left above).
We were also privileged to have with us a previous Freedom Centre visitor, who shared an honest and confronting account of the time of their life that was the darkest. The Freedom Centre, they told the visiting politicians, ‘literally saved my life’. They went on to describe the positive and successful outcomes in their life, including currently being enrolled in tertiary education and working in community radio, and attributed this largely to the role Freedom Centre played in their life at a crucial time.
Mr McGowan and Mr Dawson also learned about the powerful work that Freedom Centre does on behalf of young people of diverse sexuality and gender, supporting them to be better socially connected and helping them to enjoy improved mental health and self-esteem. They heard about the many challenges that young people can face, including self-harm, depression, discrimination, bullying, homelessness and domestic violence.
Freedom Centre Co-ordinator Dani Wright-Toussaint (pictured above second from the right) took the opportunity to outline opportunities for making the centre more accessible for young people across the state, while WA AIDS Council CEO Andrew Burry (pictured above thrid from right) outlined our organisation’s commitment to the principles of substantive equality and how important it was to remove barriers to those who may struggle to access services at Freedom Centre and across the rest of the organisation.
Freedom Centre is funded by the Mental Health Commission and supported by the Department of Health.