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Photo of Ravi, a 25-year-old person (he/him) with short, black hair, as well as a moustache and beard. Ravi is wearing black rimmed glasses, with a black checked shirt and light grey blazer. Ravi is pictured in a building archway, with a courtyard blurred directly behind him.

Name: Ravi
Age: 26
Work: National Communications Director
Location: Yarra
Pronouns: He/Him

Online social networks, where people can be themselves, express themselves, and have safe and inclusive spaces where people who can confidently say what they feel, think and get that sense of belonging and community - those social spaces are extremely important.

“When you're in a place that you don't relate to, it is so foreign to you,” says Ravi, who made Melbourne home after moving to Australia as an international student from India and identifies as LGBTIQ+.

“I moved to Melbourne all by myself, without any family being here,” he explains. 

But for Ravi what makes it home, is having connections around you. He believes "social circles of people who actually understand you, who actually get you" are vital for mental health and a sense of belonging. But they can be difficult to find.

And judgement based on language or appearance can be an obstacle. 

"Language is definitely a big barrier. We are often judged by the way we speak, our accent, the way we look." 

Creating networks for young people online, especially if they are separated from family or LGBTIQ+ young people who haven’t come out to their family, can help them feel safe and included.

"Online social networks, where people can be themselves, express themselves, and have safe and inclusive spaces where people who can confidently say what they feel, think and get that sense of belonging and community - those social spaces are extremely important," Ravi says.