GUILDFORD Grammar student Zachary Matthews has won the City of Swan’s Youth Out Loud public speaking contest by speaking out on his struggles with coming out as gay.
This year’s theme was instability, and competitors were encouraged to speak about their views on the community, their own personal relationships, and what they deemed as stable and unstable in their own lives.
Mr Matthews said negativity had a profound effect on people and he believed everyone should work together to create a more positive environment.
“I specifically focused on my experiences as a member of the LGBT+ community, having recently come out as gay, and how I combated negativity with happiness and optimism,” he said.
“This is especially relevant in a time where all we hear about is the latest horrible terrorist attack, or another slew of late-night tweets appears in the headlines.”
City of Swan Mayor David Lucas said 30 young people from across the City, ranging from ages 12 to 25, took part.
“Youth Out Loud is a great example of the City’s commitment toward supporting our young generation, providing them with a platform to discuss important community issues,” he said.
“Each year, we invite councillors and politicians to attend the event, where they have the opportunity to hear the thoughts, concerns and ideas young people raise on behalf of our community.”
Senior category winner Claudia Wade-Garcia spoke out about eating disorders, mental health and family relationships.
First Herne Hill Scout Group’s Jonathan Rose, who took out the top spot in the junior category, spoke about the personal skills and support networks that can be developed through scout groups.
Master category winner Yosef Asresse encouraged his audience to surround themselves with motivating and stable people.
Deputy Mayor Kevin Bailey said this year’s winners would be the next generation of leaders and had spoken very passionately on a diverse range of topics.