THE FREEDOM CENTRE TEAM
ROWAN BROOKER (Ph.D)
Freedom Centre Coordinator
and how it shaped who we are today
Freedom Centre started out in 1994 as a part of the 'Other Voices' program in Gay Men’s Education at the WA AIDS Council (WAAC). It began to provide an ongoing social space for the young men that participated in the gay education courses outside of the 'scene'.
Over time through the Youth Sexuality Project run by WAAC, the Freedom Centre became an all genders space and got its own premises and recurrent funding. Through feedback from the visitors and volunteers, the different sessions were established (Create, Girlspace, Guyspace, GenderQ, Freespace, Outspace, SkillShare, 1st People's Qspace, QCulture, Junior aGender and QMovie).
Now Freedom Centre enjoys community support, regular visitors, dedicated volunteers and its safe space to support young people with diverse sexuality, gender and sex.
Freedom Centre is run by young people for young people using a peer support model. Our volunteers and staff are all people who are also young and LGBTIQ+ and are trained to be able to give support and information to their peers.
We believe that we learn and develop best when we observe our peers and get the right information that’s relevant to us, as well as have a safe and respectful social environment to practice and understand what we learn. At Freedom Centre we hope people learn to accept and respect themselves and others. We aim to empower young people to be themselves; be confident; make healthy, informed choices and respect both their own diversity as well as others'.
Freedom Centre is primarily funded by the Mental Health Commission to prevent mental illness and promote mental health. We are managed and auspiced by the WA AIDS Council as part of the Health Promotion department.
This means that our focus is on education and prevention around mental health and sexual health. We do this by providing support and information and by maintaining a safe social space with healthy attitudes towards sexuality, gender, sex, respect, empowerment, self-esteem and education.