Shock report shows homophobia affects 2 in 3 Aussie youth

A worrying new Australian study suggests that over 60 percent of LGBTI young people have experienced homophobic or transphobic violence.

16% have attempted suicide and 33% have harmed themselves as a result of widespread homophobic and transphobic violence in Australian society, says the Growing Up Queer research revealed today.

“The findings of this study overwhelmingly highlight the serious impact of homophobia and transphobia.”

More than 1,000 people aged between 16 and 27 participated in the study, which was conducted by the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre.

“The findings of this study overwhelmingly highlight the serious impact of homophobia and transphobia, particularly when you consider that 42% of those surveyed had thought about self-harm and/or suicide,” says Young and Well researcher Jane Burns.

“This research suggests that LGBTIQ young people are around six times more likely to consider taking their own life than their heterosexual peers, reflecting similar findings in other research in this area.”

Researchers heard many stories of high school torment from the participants. One wrote: “When I was younger and in high school I experienced homophobia/biphobia/heterosexism. It hurt, however, at the time, I had no one that I could turn to about it. This put me in a state of fear, isolation and depression so I never had the confidence to stand up to bullies or family members. Instead I withdrew and turned to underage drinking, wagging school and cannabis consumption as a way of dealing with the homophobia.”

Another wrote: “I tried self-harm, attempted suicide and then eventually changed schools. Tried telling the school counsellor, who told the head of the middle school, who told me it was my problem to deal with and that I should start what I finished – by which I guess she meant it was my fault for coming out.”

Many lamented to lack of specific sex education targeted toward same-sex attracted young people.

“There’s such poor information available to the LGBT young people of Australia,” was a typical comment. “It should be compulsory that sexual education in school focuses on relationships as well as sex, and within this BOTH heterosexual and same sex relationships/partners/activities must be included.”

The full Growing Up Queer report is now available to read online. Download it as a PDF from the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre’s website here.

Web Link