Twenty 10 is a community organisation working with and supporting young people of diverse genders, sexes and sexualities, their families and friends. Managing Director Rebecca Reynolds talked to us about what Aurora’s grants mean to Twenty10 on 9 May 2012:
‘Last week, a 13 year old group attendee posted on our Facebook page, “Thanks for having me at your group but I won’t be coming anymore because I’ve decided that I’m straight”. This caused me a momentary smile. Imagine, at age 13 having taken the steps to investigate what your options are, and then not only that, to have the confidence to articulate that it’s not for you. Don’t get me wrong, the forays into early teen sexual identity is rarely more than an exploration of feelings about someone else in your world. The smile was more for the fact that as a community, we are creating places for young people to safely explore who they are.
This is not just true of young people. Even those in the over 26 cohort need places to go to talk through their worlds and the way that they’re coming to understand them. It’s a really big thing to invite someone into your life. To understand the impacts of your words and your decisions and to want to engage in a conversation with someone important to you – to have them accept you for who you are. This is the amazing gift of groups. Of places that are created for people to come together and talk about what is important to them. It’s not always about sexuality, but it’s a conversation that is couched in a shared understanding of what that part of our identity means.
There are so many individual stories that are woven together by our community organisations. Those stories are so often seen as fragments in time, the stories of one person’s life and experiences, separate from something bigger. They’re not always stories that are full of warmth, or stories that come from places that are easy to talk about but when you have the chance to see them as more than the fragments that they are, you begin to see the amazing role that organisations play within our communities. They bring people together and let them understand that they are not alone.
Many people come to our organisation and it is the first time that they have met someone else who identifies as the same sexuality or gender as them. It’s the first time that they have had somewhere to practice those big conversations, to explore those feelings which lead them on the next branch of their life journey. It’s a big thing. It’s a wonderful thing, and it’s true to say that many of these opportunities for connection would not be possible without the support of Aurora.’