We are very proud to be a national leader in supporting, empowering and amplifying the voices of Autistic-LGBTIQA+ young people. Learn more about our work below, including our peer-led online mentoring groups for Autistic-LGBTIQA+ teens.
WHY OUR WORK MATTERS
At I CAN Network, we embrace the diversity of the Autistic community. There are a significant number of Autistic people who also belong to the LGBTIQA+ community, an intersection that is reflected in formal research, rich anecdotal evidence from around the world and from the lived experience of many of our mentors and the young people we serve. We recognise that Autistic-LGBTIQA+ community members are particularly susceptible to discrimination, marginalisation and poor mental health outcomes due to lack of acceptance and meaningful support. We want to help these members of our community to thrive, and know that we can play an important role through peer support, amplifying the voices of those with lived experiences, and sharing related resources.
Our I CAN Network staff details their Autistic and LGBTIQA+ Identities. Here is one of our program facilitators and mentors, Christian, giving an introduction.
ONLINE GROUP MENTORING FOR AUTISTIC LGBTIQA+ TEENS & YOUNG ADULTS
As part of our robust online mentoring program, we are proud to offer groups designed for Autistic teens and young adults, respectively, who identify as LGBTIQA+ (including those who are questioning). These groups offer a safe space for participants to connect with peers and mentors who can relate and explore topics including, but not limited to: Autistic & Queer identity, pronouns, Queer culture, belonging, gender, sexuality, social connections, self-care, emotion regulation and sensory needs.
The cornerstones of I CAN – promoting acceptance, pride, embracing differences and celebrating strengths – serve as powerful protective factors as Autistic LGBTIQA+ participants navigate their teen and young adult years. Our Autistic LGBTIQA+ groups are open to ages 13-22, with participants placed with similar aged peers.
Each group is led by a team of adult mentors who are Autistic and LGBTIQA+ themselves.
To learn more about our online group mentoring for Autistic-LGBTIQA+ teens and young adults, or for information on our other groups that cater for ages 8-22 (all offered on an all-gender basis) please see our I CAN ONLINE page.
WELLBEING RESOURCES (HEALTHY EQUAL YOUTH)
We are very proud of the leadership demonstrated by members of our team who are passionate about intersectional advocacy and education. In early 2021, I CAN Network was chosen as one of 12 outstanding organisations across Victoria to receive a HEY (Healthy Equal Youth) Grant to lead innovative, COVID-safe projects that support the wellbeing LGBTIQA+ young people.
Our project, led by Autistic LGBTIQA+ members of our team, is focused on creating a suite of resources that validate and empower Autistic LGBTIQA+ young people and help the adults and service providers in their lives provide more meaningful support. The voices of 70 young collaborators across Australia are strongly reflected in the materials below.
We are very proud to share tip sheets and recommended resources below. Click on the images to download tip sheets. Screen reader-accessible version can be found by clicking the button below.
INSIGHTS FROM LIVED EXPERIENCE
At I CAN, the Autistic lived experience of our team informs so much of our work. Several of our mentors are also proudly LGBTIQA+. Their insights not only empower and validate their younger peers, they also enlighten parents, carers, teachers and other adults of influence on how to support Autistic-LGBTIQA+ young people in respectful ways. We are also privileged to have within our I CAN family Dr Wenn Lawson as an I CAN Ambassador, collaborator and advisor.
Autistic-LGBTIQA+ young adults on our team have provided insights to the Department of Education & Training-Victoria, Positive Partnerships and at numerous school and community forums and continue to be sought after for major events, such as the Symposium of Intersectional Identities sponsored by Reframing Autism & The Autistic Realm Australia.
TIPS FROM AUTISTIC-LGBTQIA+ YOUNG ADULTS
It is not uncommon for Autistics to also identify as LGBTIQA+. Young adult members of our I CAN team who have this lived experience offer their support and resources for young people who are forming their own identities and advice for the adults in their lives. Read our Tip Sheet or watch the Webinar discussion below.
♦ I CAN Network Webinars: Insights from Autistic LGBTIQA+ Young Adults (Feb 2020) • Autistic, LGBTIQA+ and Proud (August 2018)
♦ Trans 101 – The Basics by Minus 18
~ Available via online bookstores and many local shops ~
♦ Queerly Autistic – The Ultimate Guide for LGBTQIA+ Teens on the Spectrum by Erin Ekins
♦ The Awesome Autistic Go-To Guide: A Practical Handbook For Autistic Teens And Tweens by Yenn Purkis & Tanya Masterman
♦ The Autistic Trans Guide To Life (written for adults) by Yenn Purkis & Dr Wenn Lawson (please note Yenn Purkis & Sam Rose have a book for Autistic Trans young people coming out in 2022)
SUPPORT GROUPS (ONLINE):
♦ I CAN Network Online Group Mentoring (Autistic-led interest-based groups for ages 8-22, plus groups for Autistic-LGBTIQA+ teens)
♦ Queerspace: www.queerspace.org.au
♦ Switchboard: www.switchboard.org.au