Almost one-in-ten LGBTI Australian young people has had to change schools because of homophobic bullying and more than four-in-ten have thought about harming themselves because of bullying – according to a new report.
The Growing Up Queer report was released today and found a disturbing 16% of young Australians aged 18-27 had tried to commit suicide while 33% had self harmed.
42% had thought about self harm or suicide.
64% reported being verbally abused because of their sexuality while 18% had experienced physical violence.
Another 32% had experienced some other form homophobic violence or harassment.
The study was conducted by the Young and Well Co-operative Research Center and a team of researchers from the University of Western Sydney and involved 1,000 young Australian LGBTI people from all kinds of backgrounds.
The researchers also spoke to staff from LGBTI youth support services such as Twenty10.
‘Gender variant and sexuality diverse young people are subject to a range of socio-cultural, educational, political, and legal discriminations impacting on their health and well being,’ the researchers found, writing that the study, ‘overwhelming highlight the serious impact that homophobia, transphobia and heteronormativity can have on the health and well being of young people who are gender variant or sexuality diverse.’
‘Particularly disturbing are the findings around self-harm and suicide ideation amongst the young people who participated in the online national survey.
‘Many of the young people in this research experienced frequent and ongoing harassment, violence, marginalization, ostracism from peers, and rejection from families, often resulting in feelings of despair, of being alone and of internalized homophobia or transphobia.
‘Young people in this study experienced homophobic and transphobic harassment and violence across different aspects of their lives – in schools, from families, in the workplace, on the streets, and at other public sites and sporting events.’
Many of the young people also said they had not been given adequate sex education at school or sex education that was specific to their needs as LGBTI people.
The researchers suggested a range of things that could be done to foster a more supportive environment for young people – including providing adequate funding for LGBTI support services, better training around LGBTI issues for teachers and administrators and the creation of online and offline easy to find sex education information for LGBTI young people.