Troy Lawlor was a teenager when he realised he identified as gay, but he didnt actually come out until he was 27.
I grew up in a small town, and I didnt want to be picked on or bullied. I didnt want my mum or dad to have to deal with it, he said.
After that I went through a period of self-denial, but eventually I gained the confidence to be myself. Our culture has become more accepting and supportive in the last five to 10 years, but it doesnt necessarily mean its easier for young people. Its never easy to come out.
When Troy who works in aged and community care on the North Coast did eventually tell people he was gay, it was a weight off his shoulders.
And now, as the chairman of the Pride Support Network at his workplace, Feros Care, hes providing much-needed support to the LGBTIQA+ community and their allies.
The network has developed useful resources for Feros Care employees and the team is working towards obtaining the Rainbow Tick Accreditation for the organisation. They also plan for key events, such as Wear It Purple Day on August 26, which strives to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for rainbow young people.
This is a day that focuses on youth in the community this is our next generation and we need to empower and support them. Its crucial, Troy said.
Were encouraging our employees to wear purple on the day, and theres a webinar being hosted by Wear It Purple that wed love people to participate in. Well also be distributing information and asking people to educate themselves. Just take 15 minutes and read through the Wear It Purple website.
This is about changing perceptions across the community, resulting in more respect for all.
An inclusive organisation doesnt just happen. It starts with everyone and its up to everyone to do their bit in education and support.
As a result of this passion for building an inclusive and diverse workplace, Troy was recently honoured in the Aged and Community Services Australia Recognition Program, which celebrates the extraordinary work of those in the sector.
The organisation said Troy was an unsung hero whose efforts meant that employees did not have to choose between their livelihood and their authentic self.
Feros Cares Pride Support Network meets bi-monthly and its mission statement is to create a safe space where LGBTIQA+ people will feel accepted, respected, empowered, and recognised.
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