An Award-Winning Year of Rainbow Chaos!

06 Oct 2023

Rainbow Chaos is a LGBTQIAP+ social group for young people in the Ipswich region.

Our Origin Story

It began with an idea from our headspace Ipswich youth reference group (YRG) back in 2022. They wanted a social space for rainbow youth that went beyond our headspace groups. A place where young people could still connect with community when they had finished clinical services with headspace. They also wanted to offer a soft entry space for LGBTQIAP+ young people in the community where they could learn about headspace services and access referrals to the centre or other community services. They started planning for a monthly rainbow movie night for teenagers.

At the same time our local Ipswich Community Youth Service (ICYS) requested a meeting with our headspace Ipswich Community Engagement Coordinator. They had already started planning to develop a young LGBTQIAP+ social group. They were interested in speaking to us about our Diverse City program, and a few coffees later we were meeting with the local YCMA who also joined as partners in this project. A wonderful partnership between our three services began.

At the time of planning no LGBTQIAP+ social spaces existed in Ipswich for young people or adults outside of headspace. Ipswich is a regional town, and unfortunately flying a rainbow flag in public can also mean considering safety planning. We knew that young people needed a safe place to be themselves, but we also didn’t know if anyone would turn up.

The first group we organised was in September 2022, we played the movie Love Simon and ordered some pizza. 20 young LGBTQIAP+ people walked through the doors of the YMCA, filled with rainbow bunting. For our first group, it was a great success! We asked them what they would like to do next month. That was easy - October? Halloween - “it’s gay Christmas!” as one young person stated. For the Halloween dress up, 45 young people turned up. The dress up theme has never left us.

Each month we’ve had the young people choose the theme. It has ranged from many things including anime dress ups, emo dress ups, 80’s theme gayskate, Xmas in July, pajama party, mardi gras watch party and wear it purple night.


A Year of Rainbow Chaos

This September, the group celebrated our 1-year anniversary birthday party with a games night, cake and a “dress-up how you like” theme.

Over the past year, we have seen friendships grow, a community be created and organisational partnerships flourish. It has been a joy to see young people (who just a year ago nervously walked through the doors) - develop their confidence, help new members and take ownership of a group they can call theirs.


Child Protection Week Awards

In September 2023, Rainbow Chaos was nominated and won the Ipswich West Moreton Regional Child Protection Week Awards (LGBTIQ+ category). Rainbow Chaos was successful in winning the award for helping raise awareness and highlighting the importance of child protection in the community, by creating safe spaces through programs and services that promote the safety of young people. We could not be more proud of the young people, our YRG and the partnerships that has formed along the way.

Check out our socials for information about how you can join next months Rainbow Chaos event!