Liberal MP and Chair of the Parliamentary Friendship Group of LGBTI Australians, Warren Entsch, has called for an end to the harassment of LGBTIQ young people after reading The Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre’s recently published report, Growing Up Queer (opens in a new window).
The Report, which studied more than 1000 young people across the country, found that 16% of 16-27 year olds who identify as LGBTIQ have attempted suicide and 33% have harmed themselves as a result of widespread homophobic and transphobic harassment and violence in Australian society.
Speaking in parliament on Friday 13 February, Entsch said the Report "sent a pang of great sympathy and sadness through me".
"Almost two-thirds of respondents reported homophobic or transphobic harassment or violence across different aspects of their lives, including in schools, families, the workplace, the streets and other public sites, such as sporting events," he told Parliament.
The research also found:
- Homophobia and/or transphobia has a serious impact on many young people’s educational experiences, with some changing schools multiple times and others dropping out of school altogether.
- Young people frequently witness other students who ‘come out’ at school being bullied and this results in many students keeping their sexual diversity or transgender status a secret, and this has ongoing implications for these young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
- Sexuality education in schools does not respond to the needs or experiences of young LGBTIQ people, exposing them to a range of social and health risks.
- Rejection by families can lead to homelessness, economic instability and/or destitution for some young people, particularly in families of different cultural or religious affiliations.
- Growing up in rural and/or isolated communities exacerbates some young people’s feelings of being alone, with access to support services often limited or non-existent in these areas.