Little Miss Cinnamon chats with Alice Anderson about her involvement in supporting queer youth and what makes her one of my favourite Aunties.
Cinnamon says: “Alice Anderson is the fabulous Executive Director of local Christchurch Queer Youth group Qtopia. Her personality and warm heart are as big as her rainbow skirts. Alice has a natural talent for making those who come in contact with her feel loved and excited for life. She is the perfect person to be leading Qtopia’s young facilitators and is a true role model for our emerging rainbow rangatahi. Her infectious smile and passion have seen Qtopia grow leaps and bounds in the few years she has been in charge. The world would be a far better place if we all had an Alice!”
Where does your passion for working with queer youth come from?
I’m a queer person, with queer family history. I know first–hand the impact that not being able to be yourself can have. Everyone deserves to be who they are and love who they love. I’m here to make that possible for people, however I can.
What do you feel is a current pressing issue for our queer youth?
Not having their identities validated by the people and systems around them. We know that simply using a trans person’s chosen name and pronouns at school, home or in the workplace can reduce depression symptoms by 71%. We need to work together to be better inclusive of one another.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Start where you are, do what you can, use what you have. Every bit of good you put into the world, whether it’s big or small, is important.
Who is a local NZ person that inspires you and why?
All of the incredible volunteer facilitators and board members that support Qtopia. These folks dedicate their energy and expertise to creating a positive impact for our rainbow rangatahi. They’re brilliant and Qtopia wouldn’t be what it is without them.
What is something you would love to see more of for our queer youth in Aotearoa?
I would love to see the generosity of understanding they extend each other around their journey of identity, shared with them by the adults, organisations and institutions in their lives. Young people have a lot to teach us about acceptance.
What is your favourite thing about Qtopia and its youth?
Our young people are making the world a better place, just by being themselves. I’m so proud of all of our members, past and present. It’s my honour to be their professional Aunty.
What’s an upcoming queer event in Otautahi you are looking forward to?
We’re hosting a youth ball in September and we are beyond excited! Stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram for all the details.
What is something you think the older LGBTQIA+ community and the queer youth could learn from each other?
Identity is a journey, not a destination. We are all figuring out who we are; that’s a process that never ends. As our understanding of ourselves evolves, so does the need to find language that fits us best. How we honour each other is important. We wouldn’t be where we are without all those who have paved the way before us; what can we do for those who will lead us into the future?
To find out how you could help, visit qtopia.org.nz