Members of the It Gets Better Project’s international team are heading to Middle Earth next week, to the ILGA Oceania Human Rights & Health Conference being held in Wellington, New Zealand from March 9-12, 2016. This is the second annual conference hosted by ILGA Oceania.
For those of you who don’t know, ILGA Oceania is an international, non-governmental network organization that works to bring together LGBT+ organizations from across the Pacific, from the states of Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Melanesia and the Micronesian Islands. It was established as a separate regional organization of the International LGBTI Association (ILGA). ILGA Oceania’s main work exists in advocating for human rights and equality for LGBTI people, as well as to strengthen the regional LGBTI movement by providing training and support to its member organizations and other LGBTI groups through events like this conference.
One of the big reasons that the It Gets Better Project is a proud ILGA member organization is because we absolutely love their conferences! In October 2015 we began offering scholarship support to help young developing LGBT leaders access their conferences, too, as well as other high-quality capacity-building and leadership opportunities around the world. We call these scholarship recipients our Better Young Leaders.
Our most recent young leader will be Jacob Thomas, who will be repreesenting the Project at the ILGA Oceania conference next week. We’re so excited to have this opportunity to support Jacob in their growth and development as a leader in the LGBT movement in their region of the world. Check out their pre-conference video here (but don’t forget to read more about them below):
Biography: Jacob Thomas
Jacob is a young change maker, social entrepreneur, performer, and disruptive public speaker. After moving to Melbourne in 2008 to study at Monash University, Jacob completed a B.A in 2014, graduating with a double major in Sociology and Gender Studies. For the past three years Jacob has focused their energies in the Australian not-for profit space, focusing on mental health and suicide prevention in the LGBTIQ+ community. Jacob has worked and volunteered across numerous fields, including aid and development, advocacy, gender equality, and currently works in the higher education sector at Monash University.
Previously, Jacob worked extensively with It Gets Better Australia and assisted in convening the 2014 LGBTIQ Human Rights Summit. In May 2015, Jacob represented Australia at the inaugural Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network in Malta. Ahead of the Chief Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November, Jacob was involved in developing and delivering The Gender Agenda – a contemporary recommendation of the Commonwealth’s youth voice on the next steps in achieving global gender equality. In November 2015 Jacob was one of only two people in Australia to receive the Queen’s Young Leader Award for their work on suicide prevention in the LGBTIQ+ community.
Recently Jacob spoke at an independently organized TEDx event. Their talk was titled, “The (r)evolution of gender; how we exist beyond female and male.” Check out their excellent video here.