Charlie Wilson 29, Photographer and Filmmaker, Balwyn North
Charlies says Sophie is part of movement that is opening doors for neurodiverse, queer, trans and same sex attracted people.
I am a disabled, transgender young adult. I grew up in Queensland where I faced transphobia and homophobic comments and felt unsafe. I left my family and moved to Victoria where I was able to come into my own in the safety that's here.
But I'm watching that safety be chipped away, especially by the Liberal Party. The idea that there are some people in the Liberal Party who think I’m disgusting while others are for rights, it’s like, “Which one are you? Do you think I’m disgusting or are you willing to protect me?”
The independents don't have to walk that tight line to stop scaring voters away. What they say is what they think. I can't trust the major parties with something as important as making sure that I have a safe existence, or that if my partner and I have children, they won't be ridiculed for having parents who have the same gender identity.
"Sophie looks at my community for their beauty and the diversity and I know she will fight to protect us. The independents like her and Mon have become a haven for diverse people. For the first time, we're a community that feels not only represented, but cared about, welcomed, embraced, and lifted up."
Political parties see young people as a problem to overcome to get votes. Sophie looks at teenagers and young adults as the future and the leaders of tomorrow.
I know a lot of younger people who feel empowered by her and inspired by the independents’ movement. The independents are listening to us and engaging with our thoughts and concerns.
Independents like Sophie and Mel and Mon are welcoming us to the table and making us feel safe and included. They are opening the door and breaking down barriers so that we can come in and be future leaders and make a change in the world. Instead of having to fight them to get a spot on the table, they're welcoming us to the table.
Sophie makes me feel like my voice matters and I think she’s done that for a lot of people. She has welcomed me and made me feel cared about and heard.
What do you love about Balwyn North?
Koonung Creek Reserve is at the end of my street. I love that in the middle of a massive, metropolitan city, I can still run in nature.