Last month, the YEP Project had the opportunity to present at the 2018 Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Applied Research and Evaluation Network (SiREN) Symposium. Myself and one other YEP Crew Peer Educator Susan presented on the work YEP does, who the YEP Crew is and how many people we were able to reach in 2017.
This provided us with a chance to showcase the work we’ve been doing and express how much we enjoy working for YEP. Presenting also allowed me to reflect on how much work we have done. Last year we reached 2,100 young people face-to-face through interactive workshops, stalls at events and informal outreach sessions. Online we also reached nearly 200,000 people on Facebook and more than 40,000 people on Twitter.
After we had finished presenting (and the nerves had calmed), we were able to spend the remainder of the two-day conference learning about other programs and research in the sexual health and blood-borne virus space. It was truly inspiring to hear about all the work being done not only in Western Australia but also across the country.
As a young person, I felt very privileged to be able to attend the conference and be able to share the space with experts. It was also great to see other young people in the room advocating for a range of different youth sexual health issues.
The first day of the conference was the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT). Many people donned a rainbow flag and this helped to create a welcoming and supportive atmosphere. It also demonstrated the sector’s commitment to social justice and reducing the ongoing discrimination that LGBTIQA+ people face.
I personally felt that I learned a lot from the conference, whether it be learning about current research and programs or through speaking to other people working in the sector. Thank you very much to SiREN for organising the conference, bringing together such a diverse group of people passionate about improving sexual health and for inviting us to present.