Speech delivered by Luisa Tolu, member of We Are: The University of Malta LGBTQQI Organisation, at Pride 2012
Contact We Are for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org and Luisa on 99241063
30th June 2012, Sliema
2 years ago We Are, the University LGBTQ organisation, was formed by 6 students, with the aim of bringing together lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and other non-normative youth to improve our lives together through education and support.
This year the organisation has grown. We have seen more youth actively join us and find a voice and, we have built a strong community which enables us to face the challenges of being young and queer in Malta. We are a truly diverse group with active members coming from all over Malta and Gozo and a handful of international students. We provide a welcoming environment for all of these, making members feel comfortable and giving them a sense of belonging. Through our events we have spoken to many others and felt that our presence as active youth in society made a difference to their lives.
One event in particular struck a chord. We visited Giovanni Curmi Higher Secondary School in Naxxar last May and found that the students there were starving for information on sexual orientation and gender identity. They asked so many questions and really contributed to the discussion. Their enthusiasm for knowledge was inspiring and overwhelmingly positive. It drove home the point that we really need to start speaking about the diversity of sexuality and gender in schools and we have to start doing it now!
Discussing sexuality and gender will empower young people by allowing them to explore their own identity and to be themselves. It will also give them a louder voice and greater strength. In fact we continue to believe that the empowerment of youth is crucial and that is why we find this year’s pride theme so compelling. Stating ‘I AM’ is a way to express our individual value and the importance of our individual voices.
By expanding this to include us all we can then say ‘We Are’ and that is a strong way of connecting us, so that we can act together and be a voice for others who still haven’t found their own.
So let us join forces as organizations and as individuals to change education, legislation and norms and to prove that together we make the difference.