Support group for gay students

Safe space: Benjamin Falcone-Mayo will co-ordinate a gay alliance for youth in Hume. Picture: Marco De LucaA SUPPORT group for gay young people has been set up in Craigieburn.

The Same-Sex Attracted Friendly Environment (SSAFE) group will be launched this month as the first gay/straight alliance in Hume.

The group will provide discussion on sexual diversity and health in Hume for gay and straight people aged 14-24.

SSAFE co-ordinator Benjamin Falcone-Mayo decided to get the group up and running after a request from a group of gay school students.

Mr Falcone-Mayo teaches a sexual identity program at local secondary schools through Banksia Gardens Community Services in Broadmeadows.

“Some students in Craigieburn Secondary College heard about the work I was doing; they were really interested in doing this,” he said.

“It snowballed from there. It’s really taken off which is great for the kids. We put the feelers out with Hume Youth Services and they donated a room and a social worker.

“We’ll have meetings fortnightly, starting next term, and we’ll be doing one-on-one mentoring.”

Mr Falcone-Mayo said the group was for both gay and straight youth.

“I was approached by gay students, but a lot of their straight friends want to come along to support them. That’s why we added the gay/straight theme,” he said.

“That’s the way to move forward. The thought of the gay/straight alliance can be daunting to some people, but we offer referrals for same-sex-attracted kids if they want.”

The group will focus on promoting sexual diversity and creating strong community leaders.

Mr Falcone-Mayo encouraged young people who were questioning their sexual identity to come along to the group.