‘Bright Lights, No City: Stories of Rural LGBTQIA and Youth’ was a story-collecting project aimed at queer youth who grew up in or who currently live in country WA.
The project focused on nine young LGBTQIA+ people and produced both oral and written stories that touched on love, desire, suffering, pain, and adolescence. Research shows that LGBTQIA+ youth often experience significant bullying and harassment as a result of their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status. This project promoted social inclusion, respect for diversity and self-determination, and empowerment for a group in our community who are often stereotyped, marginalised and discriminated against.
The project was undertaken because there is an absence of stories from West Australian regional LGBTQIA youth. Participants could elect to participate in the oral or written stream. Whilst we started with fourteen participants, only nine completed the project. Outcomes included a publication and audio recordings, a live storytelling event and national awards and ongoing publication opportunities.
Funded by Catalyst Community Arts Fund.
Bright Lights, No City
Read and listen to their stories in our story collection Bright Lights, No City.
As a man, I learned that it was possible to sit in front of a crowded room and divulge secrets I once thought I would take to the grave, as a teenager. It was an overwhelmingly cathartic and, on the launch night, euphoric experience. There is a freedom in being able to share a true story, and one that feels so untold, and to have it met with applause and a positive reception by a crowd of strangers. I will never forget it. This project has given me new skills for life. I feel able to talk about myself in a way that is crafted for impact. For the wider community, I hope there is a benefit in terms of increasing the understanding of what LGBT young people go through when they are growing up. I hope this project can serve to build empathy and to broaden society’s awareness of diverse experiences. – Holden Sheppard
I have become a better me for having done this. I am stronger and prouder, and unapologetic for who I am in instances where I would have been before. Centre for Stories is doing astounding things, and their commitment to sharing the experiences of marginalised groups is so, so important. Storytelling is powerful because it makes a difference. – Jay Anderson