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Bunbury resident’s passion for helping LGBT+ journey

Ailish DelaneySouth Western Times
OUT South West co-chair Cassandra Hymers is striving to create a safe space for young LGBT people in the South West.
Camera IconOUT South West co-chair Cassandra Hymers is striving to create a safe space for young LGBT people in the South West. Credit: Ailish Delaney / South Western Times

“You are normal. You are accepted. You are valid.”

Three simple sentences that can completely shift someone’s mindset.

Those are the reminders Cassandra Hymers, pictured, wants LGBT people to remember as they come to terms with their identities.

Co-chair of LGBT support service OUT South West, Cassandra combines her lived experience and compassion to provide support for others in the community who need a helping hand.

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“Being LGBT, especially, trans can be a very isolating experience,” she said.

“In the regions, we can feel very isolated because a lot of the community is in Perth.”

This isolation is something that drives Cassandra to be there for others so they don’t have to go through it alone.

Through OUT South West, Cassandra runs a transgender coffee catch-up — a chance for trans people to come together in a safe space and talk.

Around LGBT people it’s like you’ve been under water for so long and you’re finally taking a breath of air.

“That’s why I run the transgender coffee catch-up.

“We can just sit down and have a coffee — no one is scared that someone’s going to mis-pronoun them, no one is scared someone’s going to mis-name them, but if someone has an issue or they’re struggling we can talk about it.”

A strong support network is an important part of coming out, Cassandra said.

“When I first came out those who supported me were so crucial ... it’s a scary experience,” she said.

“My background as a Pentecostal Christian made me repress everything and impacted my journey tremendously.

“Christianity was a big issue with me wrestling with my identity.

“The church had told me I was not doing a sin but my essence was a sin, how do you change yourself?

“It means I can never be redeemed and that was the struggle I was going through.”

Sadly, a lot of LGBT youth are bullied at school and then go home and they’re bullied again . . . it’s like there’s no respite to get away from that.

After disconnecting from the church, Cassandra found herself alone, and this is why she is a strong advocate for more LGBT support in Bunbury.

“I put up a facade but inside I was broken,” she said. “I’ve since found my way back to a church that is not only accepting of LGBT people, but actually affirming.

“It means they accept us and we can be actively involved in roles in the church.”

Cassandra wants to use her experience to get involved in other churches to help them become more understanding and accepting.

“That will help change parents’ views too, which will benefit the kids who may be LGBT,” she said. “LGBT support for youth is important because unlike a lot of things when they go home, they may not be able to feel safe.

“Sadly, a lot of LGBT youth are bullied at school and then go home and they’re bullied again ... it’s like there’s no respite to get away from that.”

Cassandra encouraged anyone looking for support to contact OUT South West.

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