During COVID-19 lockdowns, there were major concerns for LGBTQIA+ young people. Health professionals and academics feared young lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning, intersex and asexual+ people trapped in transphobic, biphobic or homophobic households would deteriorate mentally.
This ground-breaking research set off to explore what lockdowns were like for LGBTQIA+ young people and the role social media plays in their health and wellbeing. As one of the largest qualitative studies in Australia on the topic, we spoke to 65 LGBTQIA+ people aged 16–30, from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds.
We worked with LGBTQIA+ young people, to learn directly from them about their experiences and needs. Surprisingly, we found that for many, isolation provided an opportunity to reflect and build on their identity, while creating a sense of community.
There are however ways to improve the experiences of LGBTQIA+ young people online and to support their general wellbeing. Most LGBTQIA+ young people live happy and healthy lives, however, we know they are two and a half times more likely to have been diagnosed or treated for a mental health condition. The only way this can change is if social media platforms and policy makers consult with LGBTQIA+ young people, their broader communities and support organisations when creating policies and programs that directly impact these young people.
You can download the full report and key recommendations here.
Dr Benjamin Hanckel
Dr Shiva Chandra
This research was funded through a foundational gift from Facebook, and by Western Sydney University.
December 2020 to March 2021