Bringing awareness to LGBTIQ+ issues – a story of transition
17 MAY 2021
IDAHOBIT (international day against homophobia biphobia, interphobia and transphobia) is marked as the international day of LGBTIQ+ inclusion. On the 17th of May, people from over 130 countries raise awareness of the issues the LGBTIQ+ community face on a daily basis to support this community and promote equality.
What are the issues?
The LGBTIQ+ community experience higher levels of discrimination and abuse which results in poorer health and well-being outcomes. The suicidality statistics for LGBTIQ+ are unpalatable. Transgender people are nearly eleven times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population. People who identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual are six times more likely to be diagnosed with depression and if you are a young person between the ages of 14 – 21 years you have a 1 in 5 chance of being verbally abused and a 1 in 3 chance of being physically abused.
It doesn’t need to be this way. The Freedom Centre explains. “A young person’s sexual identity does not itself cause them to feel depressed or suicidal. It is the experience of growing up "different" in a society that often does not support difference and expects everyone to be heterosexual that can be devastating.”
Fear of rejection and feelings of isolation are common, however, when people feel supported in their decisions and acceptance of who they are, there are much better outcomes for suicidality and mental health. Jaz is an example of this.
As a young girl, Jaz loved playing soccer and riding her BMX bike. When she hit puberty, however, her love of life deserted her. She’d spend hours standing in front of the mirror, arms straight by her sides wishing she could hide her curves. For the next 20 years she tried to destroy herself, the thought of being able to end her pain through suicide her only comfort.
She wanted to transition but worried about being accepted. Today, Jaz is 37 and three years into his transition. He hasn’t had suicidal thoughts since making the decision. All along, he has been supported and loved by mum Sheree who has even helped pay for surgery. “Every parent has dreams for their children, but you have to realise your dreams aren’t their dreams. It’s their life and they have to do what makes them happy.”
On the 17th of May this year, why not ‘go rainbow’ to show your support to the LGBTIQ+ community. To find out more or register for a free toolkit, visit https://www.idahobit.org.au/.
To read more on becoming an LBGTIQ+ ally, go here.
If you want to know more about the LBGTIQ+ community, check this out.
To talk to someone about any issues raised in this article please visit qlife or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Written by Rochelle Alison-Moore