Do Not Judge This Book By Its Cover
On the 15th May 2018, 120 young people from Banyule came together to participate in the Banyule Youth Summit with a number choosing to discuss the issue of “Gender Equality”. At the end of the event, the young people presented their recommendations to representatives from different levels of government and other key decision makers. The group recommended that through community education and awareness raising we can challenge people to defy gender stereotypes and see gender equality as being positive for everyone. In particular, that a publication be created that included submissions from young people that explored their experiences of gender, gender norms and stereotypes. The resource was to highlight the importance of young people being able to participate in a community that accepted them for who they are and which showed active interest in challenging outdated perceptions of identity.
Working group of young people
After the event, the youth services team supported the development of a working group of young people who were interested in the project and began the process of receiving submissions and supporting young people ages 12-25 to contribute to the resource.
The young people involved in the working group committed for many months to develop the resource and were involved in all aspects of editing and designing it.
The young people were supported to create a 60 page publication that included submissions from over 20 young people. The booklet was separated into four chapters – Feminine, Masculine, Beyond the Binary and Being You. Each chapter included submissions relevant to the topic and explored how stereotypes about elements of gender can be confusing, rigid and unhelpful for young people as they develop their identity and sense of self. The final chapter explored the positive impact on wellbeing that people can experience when they are accepted and validated in their personal identity.
Sharing the publication
The resource was printed and launched at the 2019 Banyule Youth Summit Report Card. The event showcased the way that Council actioned the recommendations made by young people in the previous year’s Youth Summit. The publication was met with a fantastic response, including overwhelming support from the attending State MPs with a copy being taken to share with the Victorian State Library. Since then, the resource is being shared with local libraries, schools and community centres to increase community education, share support and advocate for greater community understanding about the impact of rigid gender norms on the experiences of young people.
If you would like a copy of the book or to display it at a service, event or space you work in then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 9457 9855