At Ability Options, we help facilitate social groups for people who identify as LGBTIQA+ to connect, socialise and partake in fun activities together on the Northern Beaches.

GLAM, a social group that has been running for more than 20 years, was coined by the Northern Beaches Council. They described GLAM as “a group for anyone who identifies as LGBTIQA+ between 12-21 years old. A place to socialise, build up trust, friendships, and access support.”

In 2021, Ability Options had an opportunity to revamp the program, creating two new social groups for young people between 12-17, and 18-24. These groups became GLAM Plus and GLAMrUS. Both of these community initiatives run with support from the Northern Beaches Council.

GLAM’s focus today is still to provide an age appropriate, safe, and supported space for people to support their goals for greater social inclusion, where their privacy is protected. However, our reworking of the two groups has allowed for a more personalised and fun experience for all participants.

To learn more about our GLAM programs, we heard from someone who attended GLAM back in 2009, and has now gone on to volunteer at the program. They requested their identity remains anonymous.

GLAM is a social catch up for young LGBTQIA+ people to come and enjoy each other’s company and engage in various activities like bowling nights, craft, board games, and movies. They also host various guest speakers where we hear from firefighters, lawyers, police liaison officers, musicians, artists and more. The dynamic is chill and relaxed, with very friendly young people and facilitators.

Q: How would you describe the ideal social group?

A: To me, the ideal social group is supportive, accessible, friendly, and allows every individual to form friendships and connections with others.

Q: What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of the program?

A: For me, the most rewarding aspect of the program is seeing the positive impact it has on young people. It’s wonderful seeing young people coming out of their shell, finding their voice in the group, and making new friends.

Q: Other than inclusion, equality, and diversity, what’s an important value GLAM promotes?

A: ‘Normality’, I think it helps ground us in remembering that although these young people have a specific journey they’re on, that they’re still just like most other young people, seeking information, friendships and looking to find where they sit in life.

Q: What’s the best part about GLAM?

A: The amazing young people who we have the pleasure of facilitating each meeting. The energy and joyfulness they bring, and the way they band together in friendship to support each other is the best is truly the best part of GLAM.

Q: Do you have any words for anyone interested in joining?

A: Coming to a group like this for the first time can be scary, however, very rewarding. I would suggest taking the leap of faith and coming along to see if you like it if you’re feeling uncertain about it. You can always call and talk with one of the facilitators in advance as well. It’s also easy to opt in and out of specific events or activities if you choose.

A big year ahead for GLAM

In exciting news, GLAM is getting involved in Sydney World Pride 2023 from 17 February to 5 March. For the first time, Sydney is hosting this international event that will unite with Sydney Mardi Gras to present a truly global LGBTQIA+ pride festival – the very first in the Southern Hemisphere.

Closer to GLAM’s home – the Northern Beaches – they’ll be hosting a community art project at Picnic Day for World Pride and will also be at the Youth Block Party at Mosman Council and at Mardi Gras Fair Day.

Do you know someone who could benefit from our services?

Refer them to Ability Options to help them get the support they want and deserve.

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