ReachOut Australia is stockpiling glitter in preparation for Saturday’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade – the fourth time the organisation has marched in support of LGBTQI young people and their mental health.

ReachOut CEO Jono Nicholas said ‘We’re proud to support LGBTQI young people and their families through our float in the parade, and we’re thrilled that our Youth Ambassadors and some staff from our partners, EY Australia, are joining us in this awesome celebration of diversity.’

LGBTQI young people and those exploring their sexuality are an important group for ReachOut as they show higher rates of mental health issues than their heterosexual counterparts. ‘We know that sexuality is a tough issue to deal with, which is why we make a huge effort to support LGBTQI young people through ReachOut – and now we’ve extended that to their parents,’ said Jono. ReachOut Parents offers a range of information and videos on how to support a teenager with sexuality and gender questions, including new videos on supporting a teenager who’s exploring their sexuality and supporting a transgender teenager.

ReachOut Youth Ambassador (YA) Sophie, 22 years old, first marched with ReachOut in the parade last year. ‘The entire Mardi Gras day and parade was the best day of my life! I use superlatives a lot but I’ve really thought about this one and I honestly don’t think anything could top it. The best part of the day was being in the marshalling area before we went out, walking around and seeing everyone’s floats, and rehearsing before we went out. It was heaps of fun.

‘And then we were dancing down the the street celebrating LGBTI pride. As a queer young person, it made me so proud to be a part of ReachOut.’

It’s Sophie’s second time marching with ReachOut and this year she’s stepping it up by taking over the @ReachOut_AUS Instagram for the day. ‘I’ll be doing ReachOut’s Instagram story. We’ll try and get videos of everyone rehearsing, putting on their costumes, and ask them why they’re involved in Mardi Gras. My sister and my brother are going to be in the float with me too, so I’ll get them to help me.’

Keep an eye out for ReachOut in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade, which begins at 7.30 pm this Saturday, 4 March 2017. ReachOut is set to step onto Oxford Street around 9.15 pm. If you can’t see the parade in person, then catch the highlights on SBS Sunday 5 March at 8.30 pm.

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