In September of 2012, openly gay footy player Jason Ball started a change.org petition calling on the AFL (Australian Football League, for all you non-Aussies out there) to air anti-homophobia videos during their grand final. They agreed to show the ads from No To Homophobia during the preliminary finals, and since then, Jason has kept very busy speaking to new AFL players about homophobia in sport, becoming an ambassador for national mental health organization Beyond Blue, and leading the 18th Pride March Victoria through Melbourne with his teammates.
Patsy Niklas is someone I consider myself privileged to know in person. Until recently, she worked as the program manager for YEAH (Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS) in Melbourne, coordinating volunteer training and taking care of the organisation's social media.
Now she works with the Foundation for Young Australians on their Young People Without Borders project, helping young Australians get involved in volunteering and activism. In addition to all that, she hosts a weekly show about sex and relationships on Melbourne's youth-run radio station, SYN.
Australians let us all rejoice,
For we are young and free.
Not a bad way to start a national anthem, if you ask me. Australians have a long list of reasons to rejoice, when you think about it. Lately though, being young and free hasn't been one of the items on that list. Oh sure, Australia's a first-world democracy, quite wealthy with lovely things like a good education system and mostly public health care. So what am I on about, you might ask, when I say young and free isn't a fitting description?
From 2004, Karyn has been lending her ear and dolling out advice at Scarleteen. Since then, Karyn has earned her college degree, turned her volunteer work here into an awesome career and moved halfway across the world for love, but she still finds time to return to her beloved online home-away-from-home, Scarleteen.