(2010). Excluded from the table: LGBT health and
wellbeing. Health Voices:
Journal of the Consumer Health Forum of Australia Issue 6, April. PDF Download.
"Although rates of depression, suicidal ideation, and self-harm are between 3.5 and 14 times higher for LGBT people than any other population...
neither the National Mental Health Strategy, nor the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, mention this group. In their recent position paper,
Suicide Prevention Australia made a series of strong recommendations, including inclusive and specific LGBT initiatives funded under the National Suicide Prevention Strategy...
National LGBT Health Alliance Australia:
List of Alliance publications available for download that relate specifically to mental health and suicide.
Queer Youth Suicide: On Bullies, Love, And Homophobia: Against ‘Bullying’ or On Loving Queer Kids (2010): "So when faced with something so painful and complicated as gay teen suicide, it’s easier to go down the familiar path, to invoke the wrath of law and order, to create scapegoats out of child bullies who ape the denials and anxieties of adults, to blame it on technology or to pare down homophobia into a social menace called "anti-gay bullying" and then confine it to the borders of the schoolyard. It’s tougher, more uncertain work creating a world that loves queer kids, that wants them to live and thrive. But try-try as if someone’s life depended on it. Imagine saying I really wish my son turns out to be gay. Imagine hoping that your 2-year-old daughter grows up to be transgendered. Imagine not assuming the gender of your child’s future prom date or spouse; imagine keeping that space blank or occupied by boys and girls of all types. Imagine petitioning your local board of education to hire more gay elementary school teachers."
Staunton, Shawn (2011). Shooting ourselves in the foot: discrimination in the LGBT community. HIV Australia, 7(3): 35-37. PDF Download. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is one environment that common sense argues would be without prejudice. While huddled together under a rainbow umbrella of safety, security and inclusion, how can one group of persecuted people go on to discriminate against members of the same group in so called ‘safe environments’? How is it that a gay man who is denied the same rights as straight people, who is publicly humiliated and even physically attacked based on his sexuality, then goes on to discriminate against another gay man based on the colour of his skin, or his religion, or discriminates against a lesbian basedon her gender? How can a group that is subject to fear and ignorance experience fear and ignorance of transgender people? This is a question that the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities was seeking to understand when it rolled out its 2007 Pride Festival community campaign and its discrimination in the LGBT community survey... In surveying the community, people identified experiencing negative outcomes such as suicidal thoughts and depression, low self-esteem and anxiety as a result of discrimination from other LGBT people. Along with self-harm, suicide attempts and drug and alcohol dependence are all effects which have been linked with the experience of prejudice and discrimination...
Panel Presentation by Phong Nguyen (2004, PDF, Must Scroll: 'Living and Loving in Diversity' Conference Proceedings) First of all I would like to pay tribute the first people of the land and I also would like to pay tribute as a social worker in the Vietnamese community for many years and I think I’m also aware of other communities as well in multicultural communities. Today I would like to, before I say my words, I would like to pay tribute to all the young people who have died, committed suicide because of who they were. Unfortunately in some cases the only time they can say who they were was through a note after they have died and to say that they are who they were - Gay or Lesbian - and so I’d like to pay tribute to them and I think we should at conferences like this going forward to have a minute of silence to pay tribute to those young who have died because the only way they can show their truth, who they are, their identity is through death so I would like to pay tribute to that.
"4. Current suicide prevention activity: While suicide prevention activity in Victoria covers the breadth of the intervention continuum there is currently an emphasis on the primary prevention and intervention stages. The Victorian Government has invested in a range of programs targeting high risk groups, including: • primary prevention and intervention for young people through generic programs in schools and specialist services • primary and early intervention for Indigenous, gay and lesbian, and rural and regional Victorians • early intervention for those affected by mental illness."But what is "actually" being done? An indication of "the lack of concern" for the higher suicidality of SSAGQ people is made evident in the more recently released document: State of Victoria, Department of Health (2010). Victorian Aboriginal Suicide Prevention and Response Action Plan 2010-2015. Melbourne, Australia: Mental Health, Drugs and Regions Division, Victorian Government, Department of Health. PDF. Not a word related to SSAGQ people or Sistergirl is written in the document. (Related: Sistergirl - keep yourself covered (2004). - Costello M, Nannup R (2000). Report of the First National Indigenous Sistergirl Forum (1999): A Forum for all Idigenous People who Identify as Sistergirl or Who Have Transgender Qualities. "We, the girls who have survived suicide and sexual abuse are here today. We will never let this happen again. We are your children." - Sista-Girl Documentary Film (PDF): "Elements of judgement and shame begin to filter through the girls individual stories, as a lingering grief is unearthed for several Sistergirls who committed suicide years before."] However not a word about Australian Aboriginal SSAGQ young people and Sistergirls is mentioned in the Leonard W, Marshall D, Hillier L, Mitchell A, Ward R (2010) document, thus likely making it a advocacy document only for "white" SSAGQ young people? [For Information about racism in Australia's predominantly white SSA population see: Racism in Predominantly White GLB Communities (Alternate Link)]. It should be noted, however, that the study - Hillier L, Turner A, Mitchell A (2005). Writing themselves in again: Six years on. The 2nd national report on the sexuality heath and wellbeing of same sex attracted young people in Australia. Monograph Series no. 50, The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society: La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria. [PDF], information about the "whole" likely "At Risk" suicide problems of SSA youth - as would be best be determined by requesting information from study participants about "Having Attempted Suicide" -was not solicited. The only questions asked was about non-suicidal and suicidal "self-harm, " and only the "self-harm" that would only be associated with the effect of "other people's homophobia - this being only one part of the total self-harm or suicidality experienced by SSAGQ young people." The related question was (Appendix A): "3K. Have there been occasions when you have thought about (or succeeded in) harming yourself as the result of other people's homophobia? Yes/No. - If yes tell us more about 3K _______". Hence, the study reveals no concern about the total suicidality of SSAGQ young people. At least not enough concern to request related information. Furthermore, even though 34 study participants were said to be aboriginal (2% of the study sample), nothing specific was mentioned about them. Furthermore, information about 'race' / "ethnic minority" status of study participants was not solicited. In a majority "white" study sample, reported results then become essentially "white."
Bisexuals at high risk for mental health problems and suicide: Homosexuals have poorer mental health than heterosexuals. Study: "Sexual orientation and mental health: results from a community survey of young and middle-aged adults." Full Text. - PubMed Abstract. Study results used as part of a presentation of 'higher risk" status for individuals not belonging to socially constructed categories... People in 'No Man's Land': Link to PowerPoint Presentation. - Towards a sociocultural analysis of youth suicide: Researching the everyday narratives of urban and regional communities (PDF Download, Must Scroll, Archive Link): For example, the study will explore the nature of beliefs produced through living with youth unemployment, a difficult home life or being gay in an urban/rural community... Research suggests that young gay/lesbian/bisexual people experience homophobia and marginalisation, both of which are associated with increased risk of suicide attempts(Nicholas and Howard 1998).
Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Hidden in the Crowd: The Need for Documenting Links between Sexuality and Suicidal Behaviours among Young People, 2003 (PDF Download, Alternate Link, Alternate Link) - Gay and Lesbian Suicide (including youth suicide). - Rural suicide and same-sex attracted youth: issues, interventions and implications for rural counsellors (2003, PDF Download, Alternate Link) (HTML Copy) Rural and Remote Health (online), 2003: no. 222. Abstract: "Recent research into same-sex attracted youth (SSAY) suicide and rural youth suicide suggests there may be an association between the two. A literature review explores this proposal. While contributing issues to rural SSAY suicide, such as homophobia, isolation, availability of information, and acknowledgement of issues are discussed, little hard evidence is found to support the the rural and SSAY suicide connection. Further and on-going research is recommended into this under-represented topic."
Australian Government rejects anti-suicide poster: it presents being young & gay/lesbian too positively N/A (Must scroll to locate information). - 'Out of line' Judy sets back suicide prevention 50 years [for GLB youth] (Not Available: A 1997 News item from Australian Democrats). Youth and Sexuality Final Report available as Word or Text Zip file at Freedom Centre site: 'Here for Life' Youth Sexuality Project Executive Summary (Zip Word File N/A) and Final Report (Zip Word File N/A) Download Page (Gone Forever? Why?). - Health and Support for Australian Gay Males. - Spirituality, Sexuality & Suicide - bringing God & Spirituality out of the closet: "Suicide? Well there's plenty of surveys and statistics about this and the work of dozens of organisations trying to research, understand and prevent it, like SPA and this conference. Remarkably though, few organisations have included the gay population in their research, even though this sector is one in which suicide ideation is often part of the gauntlet which the young gay person may often face in their rocky process of coming out as someone whose sexuality flies in the face of the heterosexist model of the rest of the world around them."
Youth suicide strategy evaluated (Sydney
Star Observer, Issue 533) by By Sarah Bacon
(2002):"... the only project funded by the Strategy which
dealt specifically with gay and lesbian youth suicide issues
was the Here For Life Youth Sexuality Project (WA AIDS Council
in conjunction with the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service)
which received $250,000. Graham Brown, the health
promotion officer on the Here For Life Project, says the
project "went really well" considering the number of
challenges - such as political battles and homophobic backlash
- they had to overcome. - Australia's Valuing Young Lives: Evaluation
of the National Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy (2000,
One PDF File). - Issues Paper: Mental health issues for
GLBTI Victorians (PDF Download N/A: Brown, R., Perlesz,
A., & Proctor, K., ‘Mental Health Issues for GLBTI
Victorians,’ in What’s the Difference? Health Issues
of Major Concern to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and
Intersex (GLBTI) Victorians. Melbourne, Victoria (PDF
Download, Download Page).
Research Report prepared by the Ministerial Advisory
Committee on Gay and Lesbian Health. Published by Rural
and Regional Health and Aged Care Services Division Victorian
Government Department of Human Services)... Reaction
to MACGLH discussion papers by Transgender Victoria
Suicide Prevention Australia 8th Annual Conference 2001 - A Human Odyssey (6 - 9 April 2001) - Session (1) "Suicide in the Gay & Lesbian Community" - Jonathan Nicholas: The Reach Out Program, Sydney - (90 minute workshop): The incidences of suicide in the gay and lesbian community are dramatically high. Many do not have expertise in counselling in this area. The first in-depth Australian research into completed suicide within this community sampling more than 400 people to the age of 30 has just been completed with some dramatic findings. This workshop is a must for anyone working with young people. - Self Harm and Suicide Risk for Same-Sex Attracted Young People: A Family Perspective (Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health (AeJAMH), Vol. 1, Issue 1, 2002: PDF Download, Alternate Link).
Self Harm and Suicide Risk for Same-Sex Attracted Young People: A Family Perspective (Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health (AeJAMH), Vol. 1, Issue 1, 2002: PDF Download). - Suicide Prevention Australia 8th Annual Conference 2001 - A Human Odyssey (6 - 9 April 2001): Session (1) "Suicide in the Gay & Lesbian Community" - Jonathan Nicholas: The Reach Out Program, Sydney - (90 minute workshop): The incidences of suicide in the gay and lesbian community are dramatically high. Many do not have expertise in counselling in this area. The first in-depth Australian research into completed suicide within this community sampling more than 400 people to the age of 30 has just been completed with some dramatic findings. This workshop is a must for anyone working with young people. - Nicholas J, Howard J (2001). Same-Sex Attracted Youth Suicide: Why are we still talking about it? Presented at the Suicide Prevention Australia National Conference, Sydney, April. The PowerPoint presentation was made available to the authors by John Howard. Study results also presented a 2006 Suicide Prevention Day Forum. PDF.
Fergusson DM, Horwood
LJ, Ridder EM, Beautrais AL (2005). Sexual
orientation and mental health in a birth cohort of young
adults. Psychological Medicine, 35: 971-981 (PDF
Page): "Cohort members with a predominantly homosexual
orientation had rates of mental disorder and suicidal
behaviours that were between 1.5 to 12 times higher than for
those with an exclusively heterosexual orientation. These
associations persisted after adjustment for confounding. The
associations between sexual orientation and mental health were
more marked for males than females."
Suicide and Self-harm (2002):
"Suicide is a tragedy which occurs all too often and which can
prevented. This book examines Australia's suicide rate and
focuses on the groups most at risk - young people; middle-aged
men; Aboriginal people; gays and lesbians; people from rural
and remote communities; and the elderly. This book also
explores the risk factors and warning signs for people who
self-harm, and for those who attempt suicide; the myths of
suicide; treatments for depression; understanding suicide and
developing prevention strategies; and how to deal with the
grief of losing someone who has taken their own life." - Jorm AF, Korten AE,
Rodgers B, Jacomb PA, Christensen H (2002). Sexual
orientation and mental health: results from a community
survey of young and middle-aged adults. British Journal
of Psychiatry. 180: 423-7. PubMed Abstract. Australian study: "A
community survey of 4824 adults was carried out in Canberra,
Australia... Results: The bisexual group was highest on
measures of anxiety, depression and negative affect,
with the homosexual group falling between the other two
groups. Both the bisexual and homosexual groups were high on
suicidality. Bisexuals also had more current adverse life
events, greater childhood adversity, less positive support
from family, more negative support from friends and a higher
frequency of financial problems. Homosexuals reported greater
childhood adversity and less positive support from
Tasmania: - Release on Tas gay suicide study - 2.5 times more likely to be suicide attempters (1998). - Gay Youth Study: Government response Essential (Tasmania) N/A. - Under 21: Youth Suicide. - I remember wanting to die and wanting others to feel the depth of my suffering and hopelessness: Sticks and Stones May Break Bones, But Names Hurt Even More (1999).
Outlinks - Rural GLB Youth Network:
- Summary: Sexuality & Suicide: An
Investigation of Health Compromising and Suicidal Behaviours
Gay and Bisexual Male Youth in Tasmania. - An
Investigation of Health compromising and Suicidal Behaviours
among Gay and Bisexual Male Youth in Tasmania, Kent Fordham,
1998: "Following an earlier study which found that 10% a
sample of rural 14-18 year olds report same sex attractions, a
study in 1998 of a sample of rural, regional and some urban
14-18 year old same sex attracted youth by Lynne Hillier and
Jenny Walsh from the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health
and Society at La Trobe University found that 46% reported
verbal and physical abuse 70% of which occurred at school. 11%
reported IV drug use compared to 1% of all young people. They
also report higher rates of drinking and marijuana and heroin
use. Only 5% of same sex attracted youth sought help from
counsellors and 14% from teachers." - Outlink National Gay and Lesbian Rural Youth
Project. - "Rural youth suicide: the issue of male
homosexuality" by Edward Green (Social Change in Rural
Sexuality & Suicide (K.Fordham, Sexuality and Suicide: An Investigation of Health Compromising and Suicidal Behaviours among Gay and Bisexual Male Youth in Tasmania, Division of Community and Rural Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tasmania, September 1998, pp. 1-78. ) Study Summary: The gay and bisexual men had seriously considered suicide at twice the rate of the heterosexual men, and were more likely to have run away from home, been arrested, been involved in prostitution, to have driven while under the influence of alcohol and to have had a greater number of sexual partners in the six months preceding the survey. The gay and bisexual men generally reported lower levels of substance use than the heterosexual sample, although the rates were higher than expected in both groups. Twice as many gay and bisexual men were in a relationship compared with the heterosexual men. They were twice as likely to live alone and half as likely to be living with their parents. Consistently higher rates of health risk behaviours and psychosocial stressors were measured among those gay and bisexual men who had seriously considered suicide (suicide ideators), compared to their gay and bisexual counterparts who had not considered attempting suicide (non- suicide ideators). They were more likely to have run away from home, engaged in high levels of teenage sexual activity, had unsafe sex and been involved in prostitution. They were also more likely to have regularly been in fights, been arrested, argued with parents and teachers, lost friends as a result of coming out, been sexually abused and been the victim of homophobic violence. The suicide ideators consumed cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana and other illegal drugs more than the non- suicide ideators. Compared to gay and bisexual non- suicide ideators, suicide ideators had a later age of first awareness of same-sex attractions, and a younger age of both self-labelling as gay or bisexual and first same-sex sexual experience. Overall, the gay and bisexual men demonstrated a higher prevalence of suicide risk factors than the heterosexual men. Furthermore, the gay and bisexual men who considered suicide showed higher rates of suicide risk factors than those who had not.
Rural gays in misery: Report. "Their misery often led them to alcohol and drugs and even suicide." (Information was once available at the Reach Out web site. Must register and use site's search engine). - Working it Out - "Working It Out" Committee: Addressing Sexuality Issues. - Rural youth suicide: convention, context and cure: Speech by Chris Sidoti, Human Rights Commissioner to the Australian College of Health Service Executives (SA) Seminar, Adelaide, 14 October 1999. - Rural suicide and same-sex attracted youth: issues, interventions and implications for rural counsellors (2003, PDF).
Tasmania: ...a 16 year old man, Captain of his Launceston
high school, killed himself last week after being constantly
harassed for being gay (Sept. 1999). He died because
this society did everything it could to encouraged his death
and nothing to stop it. It instilled in him a deep and abiding
sense of shame and worthlessness. It filled his peers with a
profound ill-will, armed them with the words to inflict their
malice, and permitted them to attack. Then, having
systematically made his young life hell, society just as
systematically denied him all hope. - Rodney Croome Says Society is Encouraging
Deaths: Youth Suicides Due to Narrow Social-Sexual Pressures
(1999): "Tasmanian gay activist, Rodney Croome condemned what
he described as the' tyranny of heterosexuality' at the
launching of the Victorian Law Foundation's new book, A Just
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual
and Transgender Health and Wellbeing Needs Assessment.
Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services’ Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Reference Group (Blanch Consulting Pty
Ltd., 2003, PDF): Contemporary research
indicates that health and wellbeing issues faced by GLBT
people include higher rates of suicide and drug and alcohol
use and are they are at increased risk of homelessness than
the general population. The research also finds that these
health and wellbeing issues are an outcome of
homophobic/transphobic harassment and discrimination... 4.7.1
Suicide: Studies indicate that a range of factors is
associated with increased suicide risk, though there is much
debate over the level of risk of suicidal behaviour and
resultant protective measures necessary. Whilst mental illness
is considered one of the highest risk factors, it is erroneous
to assume that all suicidal behaviour is connected to mental
illness or mental health problems... • A study of 403 gay men
in Australia in 2000 indicated that 27% experienced major
depression; • A study of 200 lesbians in Sydney (1992) found
that 60% reported feeling depressed, 63% had contemplated
suicide and 30% attempted suicide30; • A study of the
transgender/transsexual group that found that 32% attempted
suicide; and • Department of Human Services Youth Suicide Task
Force Report in 1998 found same-sex attracted young people
(SSAY) in Victoria to be six times more likely to attempt
suicide than the population as a whole... The results of the
first Australian population-based study that involved a
comparison of the health status of young lesbians and bisexual
women with heterosexual women were released at the Health in
Difference 4 Conference in Sydney, November 2002. More than
9,000 young women participated in the Women's Health Australia
study and among its findings were that young non-heterosexual
women reported higher levels of depression and anxiety than
young heterosexual women and twice as many non-heterosexual
women reported that life was not worth living. The Tasmanian
Sexuality and Suicide paper32 found that more than twice the
proportion of the gay and bisexual male participants
considered suicide compared to heterosexual participants. This
was found to correlate with other studies about suicide
ideation among gay and bisexual male youths. The interviews
conducted with sexual minority young people in the North West
(Working it Out) also found that extremely low self-esteem and
reactions or fears about coming out directly contributed to
suicidal thoughts and self-harm... [Tasmania citations: 32
Fordham, K, (1998) Sexuality & Suicide, An Investigation
of Health Compromising And Suicidal Behaviours Among Gay and
Bisexual Male Youth In Tasmania, University of Tasmania,
Thesis Study.33 Hogge, R. (1998) Working it Out, A Needs
Analysis of Sexual Minority Youth in North West Tasmania]
Report: Queer Street Youth: In an OUTinPerth
special report, journalist Scott-Patrick Mitchell examines how
the rise in homelessness has affected queer street youth in
Western Australia: ‘When I first came out on the streets, I
was meeting say maybe one new kid a week, or even one a
fortnight,’ says Dwayne, a 24-year-old homeless gay man. ‘But
now it seems to be getting to the stage where it’s half a
dozen to a dozen new people every week.’ ... For those who are
not only homeless but also queer – be that gay, lesbian,
bisexual, transsexual or transgender – the struggle to survive
on the street is often even harder... Esben Kass, from mobile
youth service Step One, agrees in part with Dwayne about the
difficulties GLBT street youth face. ‘We have quite an issue
with a lot of same-sex attracted young people entering into
crisis accommodation because of the harassment they get from
the other kids. It contributes to them returning to the
streets. It [GLBT youth] is a difficult group to place into
accommodation services, especially if you are dealing with
transgender or any sort of those issues. Accommodation
services just seem to give up with that.’
Corboz J, Dowsett G,
Mitchell A, Couch M, Agius P, Pitts M (2008, PDF).
Queer and Blue: A Review of the Literature on Depression and
Related Issues among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Other
Homosexually Active People. A Report from the Australian
Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe
University. Prepared for beyondblue: The National Depression
There is a pervasive tendency in the literature to exclude bisexual people or to obscure them by collapsing bisexual samples into gay, lesbian or same-sex-attracted categories. The studies that did explore bisexual people separately from homosexual people consistently showed that bisexuals have higher rates of depression or depressive symptoms than heterosexual people and, further, in some cases are at the same or even higher risk of depression than homosexuals. In an important study that analysed data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, McNair et al. (2005) found that in a cohort of women aged 22 to 27 years, bisexual women showed consistently poorer mental health outcomes than exclusively heterosexual, bisexual and exclusively/mainly homosexual women on almost all measures. Further, in a cohort of women aged 50 to 55, mainly heterosexual women had the poorest mental health outcomes on all measures when compared with women in any other group. In another Australian study conducted in Canberra, Jorm et al. (2002) sampled both men and women and found that the bisexual group had significantly higher depressive symptom scores than the homosexual group which, in turn, had significantly higher depressive symptoms scores than the heterosexual group (respectively: 3.93 vs. 2.93 vs. 2.62, p < .001). These results are strongly confirmed by the ARCSHS studies. For instance, in the Writing Themselves in Again study (Hillier et al. 2005), young bisexual people were significantly more likely than homosexual respondents to report dissatisfaction with both themselves (23.3 percent vs. 14.5 percent, z = 4.02, p < .001) and their lives (17.2 percent vs. 6.7 percent, z = 6.26, p < .001). Overall, the literature suggests that higher rates of depression in non-heterosexual people may be slightly inflated due to even higher rates of depressive symptoms in bisexuals.
Ignored to death: Representations of
young gay men, lesbians and bisexuals in Australian youth
suicide policy and programs - 1996 (Alternate
Link). - "A  mental health conference in Sydney
addressing gay and lesbian youth suicide has heard the
problem is still largely ignored by governments and rural
communities." - Suicide prevention projects Ignore Sexuality
(1998). - Call for action to combat youth-gay suicide
rate (1998). - Gay youth suicide prevention may be missing
the mark (1999). - Youth suicide in Australia: What are the
causes and risk factors for suicide among young people?
Multiplicity of factors linked to youth suicide
(Homosexuality is not mentioned in the document "Youth suicide
in Australia - A Background Monograph". Is this an example of
"being ignored to death"?). - The
Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society has
published a report "Don't ask, don't tell - Hidden in
the crowd: the need for documenting links between sexuality
and suicidal behavious among young people" in May 2003... Gay
Issues continue to be ignored?: "The series on male suicides
and the letters following their publication (The Age, August
2003) all seem to have ignored one of the main at-risk groups
- gay males, particularly in the 15-24 year- old age group. Is
this because our society continues to be so homophobic or is
it because the mainstream media continue to ignore the issue?
The recently issued report: "Don't
Ask Don't Tell - Hidden in the Crowd: Documenting the links
between sexuality and suicidal behaviours among young people"
(Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La
Trobe University, 2003) states that suicide is one of the
leading causes of death among 15-24 year olds in Australia.
The report further states that research in Australia has
identified that same-sex attracted young people may be up to
six times more likely to attempt suicide than the population
in general, with those in rural areas being particularly at
risk. Nowhere in your reports or letters were these matters
raised. Maybe you should now spend some time on asking
questions about these at-risk young people in our communities
- or are we now a society that no longer worries about our
younger people, particularly if they are gay or lesbian?"
Ian's goal to educate kids (1998):
- Roberts, Australia's first leading sportsman to declare his
homosexuality, has received hundreds of letters from youths
frightened and bewildered about their sexuality. He proposed
the development of an education kit to be made available in
all schools. "If people read the letters I've had about kids
being suicidal, and knowing people who have committed suicide,
you know it wouldn't be a problem to be introduced," he said.
- A challenge to the stereotypes (1997.
Ian Roberts: Finding Out, by Paul Freeman): "The social
problem of homophobia, as Freeman shows, still remains, of
course. Gay youth are made homeless by being thrown out by
intolerant parents; gays are victims of hate crimes, verbal
harassment and the assault of images of heterosexuality as
“normal”. All this drives some gay youth to suicide attempts."
Roberts slams Jason Akermanis over gay comments (2010):
And retired Olympic swimmer Daniel Kowalski has also attacked
comments from Akermanis, who controversially encouraged gay
players to stay in the closet... "One of the things that
really upsets me is the kids in the suburbs who aren't dealing
with their sexuality. The gay suicide rate is high. There are
kids out there wanting advice and a knucklehead says things
the Message in the Story (2008): When I started
thinking of writing articles about being young and gay, I
immediately became acutely aware of not lapsing into the
instances of cliché that dominate young and gay writing. I
didn’t want to be mentioning the “what about kids” question,
or the “coming out” saga, or the loneliness. With my
intelligence and sophistication (yeah, right), I believed I
could rise above that shit. I was beyond that – those thoughts
and issues would offer me nothing. Many groups of people, but
none more so than arrogant teenagers, detest clichéd emotional
expression. They hate its contrived sentimentality, the
meaninglessness of the language teenagers use to describe
their feelings. They perceive the poems of the two girls who
suicided in Melbourne two months ago as pathetic,
unintellectual, naïve and immature... It is those who wage
unconditional war on the cliché that we should be worried
about. Those who believe emotional expression can only be
validated by a standard of what they deem “artistry” are
denying themselves a body of artistic possibilities from which
they could really benefit. I think this is especially valid
for gay boys and girls in high schools, who are often lonely
and isolated from any prospect of a relationship but who might
not seek the stories of those who have experienced the same
pains. Opening our minds can yield valuable reassurance, and
those kids need all the reassurance they can get.
From Sydney, Australia (2009): I’ve always known
that I was gay. Well before I had even heard the word, or knew
its full implications. I never believed it to be wrong, how
could love be so? But growing up in a small country town with
a combination of conservative Catholic parents and religious
schooling,... It was probably more a cry of help than any real
serious attempt, but at twenty one I attempted suicide. An
overdose of pills, washed down with scotch. I can remember
being completely surprised at how many family and friends
visited me in the hospital. I remember thinking they don’t
understand me. I didn’t even feel that I understood myself.
Unfortunately, it was beyond me at the time to give any real
explanation for my actions, and so any chance to do so was
lost... So what’s a closeted, gay, alcoholic madman to do?
Marry her, of course. We married the following year. It seemed
to an outsider looking in that I was getting my life back
together. Could that be so wrong? A few years later our
only child, a daughter, was born... I am writing this now
sitting in my inner-city studio apartment. Forty three years
young. I love my gay friendly neighbourhood, and I love this
city. My Indonesian born boyfriend and I live with a gay
feline diva we call Oscar. My uni-attending daughter, now
jokingly referred to as the fag hag, comes over every second
weekend. Ten years of Buddhist practice has grounded me,
nearly seventeen years of being sober and clean has healed me
of many demons. I reflect on all those years living the lie,
and trying to drown the truth away in a sea of booze and
alcohol. Being gay is simply a part of me, as it has always
From XY Magazine (1995): "Young male suicide - reversing the trend." (Alternate Link) Reporting on a suicide prevention conference: "One other excellent paper, by Kenton Penley of the Second Storey Youth Health Centre in Adelaide, reported the dearth of research into the effects of heterosexism and homophobia on youth suicide rates." "But two out of 50 [papers presented] is a damming illustration of how the community of "anti-suicide workers" regards the need to ask how gender construction effects suicide rates." - Homophobia and masculinities among young men (Lessons in becoming a straight man) (1997): Many lesbian and gay young people have negative experiences and memories of schools and education [Nickson, 1996: 163]. They experience verbal and physical harassment and violence, marginalisation, and other injustices in what is a systematic pattern of bigotry, exclusion and oppression. The consequences of this for gay and lesbian students are increasingly well documented, and include isolation, confusion, marginalisation, higher rates of personal stress and alienation, lowered self-esteem and self-hate, poor school performance, dropping out of school, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide.
is where the hate grows (1997, Alternate
Link): - in reference to mainstream suicidologists
avoiding "homosexuality" issues in adolescent suicide research
and prevention work: "Although Casey reckons he "always
knew" he was gay, he became one of the kids who was "forced
into doing it". After moving to Sydney, Casey was drawn into a
string of abusive "relationships"...Because of his low
self-esteem borne of the silence, Casey says he was easy
pickings for deeply-closeted homosexual "sick tickets" who
found more pleasure in hearing screams for mercy as they held
knives to the throats of other parents' sons than in real and
open love... Starved of real love and left with little hope,
Casey, like many young gays, turned to chemical "friends" to
fill the void. His only human friends became the other
youngsters traded by the "sick tickets"... "Of the thirteen
of us, I'm one of only three that's still alive today,"
Casey says. "Most of my friends blew their heads off, some of
them OD'd and some of them have died from AIDS. They were all
bright kids with talents and promising futures."
Christmas can be Gay, but not Very Merry (1997): "Youth worker Ralph Graham says that while Christmas is a hard time for many people who cannot be with their loved ones, it is particularly hard for homosexuals. Coming to terms with their sexuality and fear of rejection can be too much. The pressure is reflected in homosexual suicide statistics around the festive season... Last year Ralph received three calls from people attempting suicide in the lead-up to Christmas. All three were young men trying to come to terms with their sexuality. One had the support of his parents, another had not yet told them and the third was not comfortable with being gay, fearing rejection from his parents, family and friends." - A gay man who survived a mutual suicide pact with his lover (1995, Alternate Link).
Shane Hughes is a 23 year old bisexual who
lives in Adelaide, South Australia. "Between the
ages of 14 and 21, Shane attempted suicide several times
because he could not deal with his sexuality and the feelings
he was having." More on Shane Hughes: How a Gay Son
Finally came out to his Parents (1998, Must Scroll):
"Mrs Hughes, who lives at Victor Harbour with husband Graham,
said that after the initial shock, there was a sense of
relief. He’d had suicide attempts and we didn’t understand
why. We questioned ourselves." Mrs Hughes said. "...Mrs
Hughes, who lives at Victor Harbour with husband Graham, said
that after the initial shock, there was a sense of relief.
He’d had suicide attempts and we didn’t understand why. We
questioned ourselves." Mrs Hughes said... Shane Hughes is 25
and happy – but it wasn’t always the case. He recalls his
primary school days, when he noticed he was attracted to boys
as well as girls. "I didn’t really do anything about it until
my early high school days, when I started feeling my way
around, if I can put it that way," he said. "I got mixed up
from there. I had a hard time of it. Maybe because it was all
happening for me and I didn’t have any positive gay role
The Wakeup Call (1998, Alternate Link): I just received the news that my friend Robert killed himself early this morning. I was not surprised. Indeed at the time I felt absolutely nothing; a kind of emotional numbness I guess. He was a difficult man to like, let alone love, but I could see the hurt child in him and I loved that child. Robert called me last night. I guess his call was a type of suicide letter. The pain he was in was obvious, the deep sense of isolation he felt was palpable. His 27 years of life had been a long series of rejections, one after another... Summary: Robert was sexually abused as a boy, expelled from his adopted Christian family when his homosexual orientation was discovered at age 14, survived via street prostitution in Brisbane, contracted HIV, developed AIDS, and killed himself in a way that may be deemed "an accident" by the investigating authorities. Sometimes a friend, such as Martin Worterding, may know that it was not an accident and he remains emotionally troubled because he is part of a society not deemed "innocent" with respect to such ultimately fatal outcomes.
Homosexuality and Suicide (1995,
Part 2, Part 1) by Ed Green with Margaret
Appleby (From: The Suicide-Prevention Information Centre):
Difficulties experienced in the 'coming out' stage...,
Difficulties in the school environment..., Lack of friends and
role models..., Discrimination in the workplace..., Violence
towards gays and lesbians..., Problems when sexuality is
hidden..., Attitudes of some religious denominations...,
Isolation in rural communities..., Higher risk for AIDS...,
Providing support for homosexuals..., Bibliography. (Extract
from the "Suicide Awareness for Aboriginal Communities" by
Margaret Appleby & Dr. Raymond King Colleen, Brown
Publishers - Rose Education). - Crucial
statistics about same sex attracted youth: The following
statistics are based on a range of social research conducted
at Australian universities [1995-1998]. It paints a picture of
difficulty and marginalisation for same sex attracted youth -
all the more reason to adopt and promote tolerant attitude in
schools, homes and workplaces.
Homo! Poofter! Faggot! Youth Focus Article (1998, Must Scroll) : A 17-year-old gay male describes his adolescent environment, a life a many suicide attempts, the uselessness of psychiatrists (at least for his problems), and a bleak outlook for the future "I've been rejected enough by family in my life, so losing friends would have just thrown me," he explained. But school was not easy for him. "Along with friendship break-ups at school, being gay just topped it off." He attempted suicide over a dozen times. "I lose count! I swallowed half a dozen different pills, drank nearly every household chemical we had, and slit my wrists."" - Youth at Risk: "Homelessness, Sexual Abuse, Family Rejection HIV: All are contributing to Gay Youth suicides." - An Australian expert reports that New Zealand has done very little to stop young gays and lesbians from committing suicide. - Gay Catholics Challenge Archbishop Pell on Youth Suicide.
Prejudice can Affect Health: Australian Medical Association: "he cited a 1996 Australian study that showed that over half of gay male youths had attempted suicide. "Because of homophobia, people are suffering. Young people are dying. There can be no excuses for delays in achieving justice and human rights for all people. Lives depend on it," said Phelps. "There was very wide consultation in reaching this position statement," Phelps told Reuters Health. "I believe that it's a very important document, and it's one which the AMA will be disseminating widely to community groups and medical colleges and universities." - AMA Federal President, Dr Kerryn Phelps, To The Amnesty International Global Human Rights Conference (2002): "Why Homophobia is a Health Issue." - Sexual Diversity and Gender Identity Position Statement of AMA (Alternate Link).
"Combating Lesbian and Gay Youth Suicide
and HIV/AIDS Transmission Rates: An Examination of
Possible Education Strategies in Western Australian High
Schools in Light of Prevailing State Statutes" by
Christopher N Kendal & Sonia Walker (E Law - Murdoch
University Electronic Journal of Law, Vol 5, No 4, 1998): All
of the above create an environment where suicide is considered
a tangible option by far too many young lesbians and gay
of youth suicide: summary report of a seminar (1997): 21.
Sexuality is also a suicide risk factor for young people.
Although there is little statistical data on whether young
people who are confused or harassed over their sexuality are
at greater risk of suicide, anecdotal evidence suggests that
sexuality can be a strong influencing factor. Professor Kosky
told the seminar that although statistics do not show an
over-representation of homosexuals in completed suicides,
clinical psychiatrists feel that in truth, they are
over-represented. This is because many suicides linked to
feelings of, or abuse because of, homosexuality may not be
reported as such. 22. One invited representative
pointed out that for all teenagers, including young gays and
lesbians, there are four main support groups - their family,
their peers, the church and school. For young homosexuals,
these support groups may become alienating and/or hostile when
homosexuality is revealed. Many young homosexual people fear
alienation and rejection, placing them in a situation of
depression, loneliness and despair, factors recognised as
triggers for suicidal behaviour.
Talking Sexual Health:
A teaching & learning resource for secondary schools
(2001, Implementing the National framework for Education About
STIs, HIV/AIDS and Blood-Borne Viruses in Secondary Schools) PDF.
Note: the section on sexual minority (gay, lesbian, bisexual)
students and teachers leaves much to be desired. For example:
"Teachers who are not gay and lesbian can challenge
stereotypes and affirm diversity by not revealing their
sexuality to students. They can also use inclusive terms when
referring to relationships e.g. partner instead of husband and
wife. It is easy and safe for a teacher to place gay and
lesbian people as ‘other’, by ensuring that students know they
are heterosexual. It is more powerful for this to be unknown
to assist in breaking down myths and discrimination." Comment:
The first part is good but the proposition that heterosexual
teachers are NOT to mention the existence of their wives and
children - all meaning that they are heterosexual - or will be
presumed to be - is to live in dreamland, as if heterosexual
teachers would ever accept to be closeted heterosexual, as it
is inherently suggested that GLB teachers should remain
Smith A, Agius P,
Mitchell A, Barrett C, Pitts M (2009). Secondary
Students and Sexual Health 2008, Monograph Series No.
70, Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health &
Society, La Trobe University (PDF
- Note: Report does not contain survey results related to
homosexuality, but related information was solicited). -
students and sexual health 2008 (2009): "Same sex
attraction: The proportion of students reporting a sexual
attraction exclusively to those of the opposite sex declined
between 2002 and 2008 surveys. This decline was most marked
for young men in Year 12, with the proportion of students
reporting heterosexual sexual attraction dropping from 96% to
90%. There was also a marked increase in the number of
students from this group who were unsure of their sexual
attraction. This may well be indicative of schools dealing
better with the issues and students feeling more comfortable
to sit with their uncertainty rather than feeling rushed to a
decision. Almost one in 10 students surveyed reported their
most recent sexual encounter was with someone of the same sex.
For young men, the likelihood of having a same sex encounter
at the most recent sexual experience had increased from 2% in
2002 to 8% in 2008."
The primary report of the Australian Study of Health and Relationships is published as the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, Volume 27, Number 2, April 2003. Sex in Australia: Summary findings of the Australian study of health and relationships (PDF): Sexual identity, attraction and experience: In presenting the results of the survey the terms ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’ and ‘bisexual’ are used to describe only those people who identify by these terms and not those who are attracted to others of the same sex or who have had sexual experience with others of the same sex but do not themselves identify with these terms. In this study 97.4% of men identified as heterosexual, 1.6% as gay and 0.9% as bisexual. For women 97.7% identified as heterosexual, 0.8% as gay and 1.4% as bisexual. Nevertheless, 8.6% of men and 15.1% of women reported either feelings of attraction to the same sex or some sexual experience with the same sex. Half the men and two thirds of the women who had same sex sexual experience regarded themselves as heterosexual rather than homosexual. This illustrates that same sex attraction and experience are more common in Australia that is indicated by the relatively few people reporting a homosexual or bisexual identity.
Our son committed suicide because his Church regarded him as a sinner and his state regarded him as a criminal (1999). - Cranebrook is the fourth school he has had to leave. He has attempted suicide three times and receives regular psychological counselling (1997). - Help for parents dealing with youth suicide and homosexuality. A program run by Jesuit Social Services N/A.- In Queensland, schools left to decide whether GBL-positive materials will be incorporated in their suicide prevention programs N/A.
Between 40,000 and 60,000 young Australians attempt suicide each year. Thirty per cent of those attempts are related to homophobia and sexuality. Despite this, only 300 out of 853 youth suicide prevention projects mention the “gay issue”, and only 12 address it in their programs. - Study examining lives of gay, lesbian teachers, students and ex-students in schools found (1994). - College hate campaign sparks reform call (2000, Note: White Print on White Background. Use: "ctrl + a"): ."The offending students in this case clearly intended to use homophobia as a weapon to inspire others to hatred and violence towards an innocent person. People who engage in hate speech must be held accountable for the results of that speech." Walker's comments were supported by Union Secretary Lisa Chesters, who urged LGBTs to join the Silver Wheat Society's campaign for anti-vilification coverage. Chesters told Queensland Pride the union had received information from individual students for several years that homophobic and sexist harassment were rife in a number of residential colleges on the campus. "The difficulty the union has faced has been that, until recently, none of these students had been willing to lodge a formal complaint or to come forward openly to make allegations. These students have been understandably fearful that retaliation would follow any such publicity." Chesters said.
Boys learn to be homophobic in the primary school playground, an academic says. (Melbourne Herald Sun, 27/12/'99) "...homophobia peaks in the mid to late teens, with boys in Years 8 and 9 reporting they use the word "poofter" 25 to 50 times a day... "At that age it is extremely powerful - in fact 'poofter' was ranked as the worst thing that a boy could be called." - Anti-homophobia plan may curb suicide rate: (Alternate Link, must scroll) "It started after surveys found bullying of same-sex attracted students was rife. A study of 1200 rural high school students found 11 per cent of teens aged 14-16 were attracted to the same sex. Another study of same-sex attracted teens found 13 per cent had suffered physical abuse and 46 per cent had suffered verbal abuse. Nearly 70 per cent of the abuse happened at school: 60 per cent by other students, 10 per cent by friends and 3 per cent by teachers. "It is total bullying," said Mr Rojas-Morales. "It begins at primary school."
Students admit same sex attraction. (Sydney Morning Herald - 29/12/'99 - Smith A, Lindsay J, Rosenthal D (1999). Same-sex attraction, drug injection and binge drinking among Australian adolescents. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 23-6, 643-6 - Abstract): 6% of grade 10-12 students report having same-sex attractions and are at higher risk for a number of problems. - Silencing (Homo)Sexualities in School ... A Very Bad Idea (2005): A good deal of research has positioned SSA young people as ‘at-risk’, using data which places heterosexual-identifying adolescents as a ‘control group’ and citing elevated drug and alcohol use, suicide attempts/ideation, and risky sexual practices among the population of SSA young people. This type of research problematises the SSA young people themselves, rather than the environments which they are subject to and the harassment they may be experiencing therein. - 11 Year Old Youngest In Australia To Undergo TG Therapy (2003): "The suicide rate amongst transgenders is so high (43 per cent of transgenders in Australia have committed suicide or have made an attempt) and I don't want a dead child." (Alternate Link)
The abuse of a gay male
adolescent in a Melbourne school is implicated in suicide. A
newspaper, The Age, printed a related article
(Nov, 1998 - not available online) resulting in two letters to the editor that
outline the highly negative situation existing in schools for
gay and lesbian youth. - From a May, 1998 "The Age" article: "Parents need to
ask themselves if they would prefer our schools to deal
sensitively with homophobia, or read about a child's anguish
in a suicide note." From the Hunter
Institute of Mental Health: An innovative mental health
education program, servicing the Hunter Region and Northern
New South Wales - Module 10: Gay and Lesbian Youth Suicide.
- Module 10 available as PDF Download:
Despite the current controversy surrounding the actual
prevalence of suicide among gay and lesbian young people, it
is likely that a young gay or lesbian person will experience
some form of prejudice due to their sexual orientation. It has
been argued that, as a consequence of such prejudice and
discrimination, gay and lesbian young people are more likely
to experience risk factors for suicide such as depression,
substance abuse and homelessness. The issues relevant to gay
and lesbian young people include both external and internal
ACON's Submission to
The Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry
into Suicide in Australia (PDF):
and national research estimates that the rate of suicide
attempts for GLBT people is 3.5 to 14 times higher than for
their heterosexual peers. Further, it is well recognised that
suicide and self harm rates for same-sex attracted youth and
GLBT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are even
higher. Given this unacceptable and alarming situation ACON
welcomes the opportunity to comment on this very important
issue... Part B. Accuracy of Suicide Reporting in Australia:
Suicide statistics reported by government authorities such as
the Australian Bureau of Statistics currently do not contain
figures on suicide of GLBT individuals. The data is not and
cannot be disaggregated by sexual orientation or gender
identity because the data collected do not contain sexual
orientation or gender identity indicators. Current demographic
indicators include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
status, age, sex and location. By expanding the number of
indicators to include sexual orientation and gender identity,
our understanding of which priority groups commit suicide at
disproportionate levels would be improved, which would enhance
the accuracy of suicide reporting in Australia and a create
stronger of evidence base for policy and program development.
Creating an opportunity to report on the sexual orientation
and gender identity of an individual in coronial reports and
collecting this data is however not sufficient to ensure
accuracy... - 2008
ACOSS Conference Speech: Mark Orr, ACON President: Gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) perspectives on
social inclusion/exclusion: A snapshot of the GLBT
The Causes of the
Causes: Oppression and Suicide - Beyond an Individualistic
Mental Illness Perspective (by Catherine Keating, Hanna Rosenthal,
Jacinta Wainwright & Kate Bennett, 2009, PDF):
Oppression, Power & Suicide: Women; & Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) People: • Research
evidence demonstrates that the discrimination, rejection and
abuse experienced by LGBT people has a negative impact on
their health and wellbeing and significantly increases the
risk of suicide. • Addressing the higher risk of suicide for
LGBT communities requires changing the social and
institutional norms that support discrimination and prejudice
due to sexual orientation. Interventions should also target
family, school and workplace settings given the high
prevalence of rejection, abuse and prejudice in these
contexts... Social norms and institutions that significantly
advantage some people or groups and disadvantage others are
evident across society. Increasingly, research has highlighted
that the discrimination and prejudice experienced by lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in their everyday
life is linked with depression; alcohol and drug use; and
suicide (Diaz et al., 2001; Harper & Schneider, 2003;
Hillier et al., 2005; Johnson et al., 2007; McNair et al.,
2001; Pitts et al., 2006; Rogers, 2007). Of interest to this
submission, one British study (Johnson et al., 2007)
identified that an incident of discrimination often preceded
suicide attempts, suggesting that suicidal distress is not
simply the result of individualised problems but the response
by some LGBT people to institutionalised discriminatory
practices perpetrated through education, health services,
religion, media and the family. As a result of heterosexism
and homophobia in the broader social and political context,
LGBT people experience feelings of guilt, shame, and fear of
their sexual orientation being identified, and often modify
their daily activities and behaviour due to fear of prejudice,
discrimination and abuse (Diaz et al., 2001; McNair et al.,
2001; Pitts et al., 2006). The capacity to develop a positive
self identity and self worth is hindered under such
conditions, (Johnson et al., 2007) and negative beliefs and
feelings related to gender stereotypes and homophobia
experienced in the broader social context is often
internalised (Harper & Schneider, 2003;
Ortiz-Hernandez, 2005). Those who experience discrimination
and prejudice across a number of areas are even further
disadvantaged... Unlike the experience of other marginalised
groups, LGBT people often experience rejection and abuse from
family and friends due to their sexual orientation (Brown,
2002; Harper & Schneider, 2003). The threat and everyday
experience of harassment, violence and abuse particularly for
young LGBT people in their home, school and their workplaces
is alarming Many same sex attracted young people hide their
sexual orientation or lead a double life to protect themselves
from abuse and rejection adding a significant burden of
personal stress (Harper & Schneider, 2003). It is evident
that if we are to address the increased psychological distress
experienced by LGBT people, we must remove discrimination,
positively recognise same sex relationships and increase the
legitimacy and acceptance of diverse sexual orientation within
the social and political context (Pitts et al., 2006)...
Jake Lucas (PDF):
a young man named Mark had accepted his sexual orientation,
until he was repeatedly told by his church that God did not
support him being homosexual. He tried in vine to explain to
them he didn't choose this, it was who he was. Mark couldn't
take the pressure anymore, he ended his life leaving this note
to God "I just don't know how else to fix this." ... Mary
Wallner, a very devoted Christian was led by the Church to
condemn her Lesbian daughter, after Anna her daughter hanged
herself. Her grieving mother Mary now says "If I can sheer
just one person away from the pain and anguish I've been
living, then maybe Anna's death will have meaning."
The Gender Centre Inc., Sydney, Australia (A, PDF): LGBT Organisations: Issues of Sex and Gender Diversity are often seen as an “add-on” for organisations focused around sexuality and/or sexual health. This ‘inclusion’ is not a comfortable one – either for Sex and Gender Diverse people, or for many of the organisations affected. Issues of Sex and Gender Diversity are fundamentally different from issues of sexuality, and organizations whose primary goal is focused around sexuality generally have little motivation to direct resources to Sex and Gender Diverse issues. Roughly 40% of Sex and Gender Diverse people identify as heterosexual and are not comfortable accessing services that have been designed to meet the specific needs of gays and lesbians. Levels of discrimination against Sex and Gender Diverse people from within the gay and lesbian community are at least as high as they are within in the broader community... In Conclusion: As already said the issue of suicide is pertinent for all Australia and for the transgender population the issues of extremely significant because of the risks and experiences transgender people are exposed to that make them more vulnerable to succumbing suicidal behaviors and actions. The Gender Centre as the leading Centre for advocacy of this marginalized community urge the senate to take note of the issues and ideas discussed in this paper and recognize that there is a great need for action to resolve the threat to the health and well being of the transgender population in Australia in an appropriate and open understanding framework.The Gender Centre Inc., Sydney, Australia (B, PDF): The Gender Centre as the peak organization for transgender people in NSW has a plethora of anecdotal evidence on the subject of suicide. It is by combining this anecdotal evidence with the statistical data available that a picture of transgender suicide in Australia can be formulated. The SPA position Statement (2009) does argue that the current research that is available indicates that the prevalence and rates of self harm and attempted suicide are significantly higher amongst transgender people than among non transgender populations.
I have a few concerns when it comes to youth and mental health: 1) Targeted programs/mental health services for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender,questioning (GLBT) young people. Rates of poor mental health, illness and suicide disproportionately affect young people who are gay. I can't think of anyone within my circle of glbt friends and acquaintances that HASN'T had depression, anxiety or another mental health issue. I know of too many young people who have taken their own lives due to issues around their sexuality and there are many for whom we will never know that it was a factor. A new friend told me during the week that his 16yo bf of two years recently committed suicide. Neither the person who died or my friend had/has support around them because it is not safe for them to be out. The issues/concerns that affect that are specifically glbt related. Female - age 23SPA - Suicide Prevention Australia (2009, PDF): v. Suicide and self-harm among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities: SPA recognises that strategies aimed at reducing suicide and self-harm among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) communities must: • Promote socially inclusive and supportive environments that affirm sexual and gender diversity. This, in itself, is a complex task that will require efforts to address the often hostile social environments in which many GLBT individuals live, work and study. Challenging homophobia and transphobia at the interpersonal, sociocultural, and institutional levels is critical. • Be collaborative, multidisciplinary and incorporate both mental health promotion and crisis intervention strategies that are accessible and, where appropriate, are culturally specific to GLBT individuals... It is important to acknowledge also the diversity within and between GLBT communities. Factors such as gender, age, cultural background, location and disability may significantly impact on life experience and the determination of appropriate responses to individual situations. Sexual orientation and gender identity should also be distinguished as independent from one another, while also recognising that individuals may or may not identify with the commonly used terms ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’, ‘bisexual’, and/or ‘transgender’. It should also be recognised that conflicts between spiritual or religious beliefs and sexuality can result in significant psychological dissonance as well as division and exclusion from family, friends and community, and that there remains conflicting evidence regarding whether any association exists between HIV/AIDS and depression, suicide and/or self-harm. Studies do support, however, the proposition that GLBT people utilise the internet as a primary means of learning more about sexuality and gender identity, as well as a way to connect with peers through participation in online communities and social networks (Hegland & Nelson, 2002; Hillier et al., 2001). Both Hillier et al (2001) and Hegland and Nelson (2002) report that the positive self-worth gained from online experiences further enables young people (in particular) to feel confident in coming out to their friends and families and seeking offline help to support them in coming to terms with gender identity and sexuality issues. More recently, research has also identified the significance of online communication to older people, indicating that older GLBT people could benefit from online intervention and support (Aguilar, Boerema, & Harrison, 2009).
New Zealand: - Youth’07:
Youth'07 The Health and Wellbeing of Secondary School
Students in New Zealand: Results for Young People Attracted
to the Same Sex or Both Sexes (2009, Download
Page): "These aside, it is of concern that
same/both-sex-attracted students did not experience the same
improvements as their opposite-sex-attracted peers between
2001 and 2007. For example, same/both-sex-attracted students
did not show the increase in those who felt happy or satisfied
with life seen among opposite-sex-attracted students, and of
even greater concern, nor did they share the same decreases in
suicide attempts observed among opposite-sex-attracted
students between 2001 and 2007." Attempted Suicide results -
same-sex attracted vs. heterosexual: 2001 (22% vs. 7% = 3-times the risk), 2007
(20% vs. 4% = 5-times the risk). See Other
Results From This Study on This Webpage. Related New
challenges New Zealand's gay/bi teenagers face
(2009): "Youth '07 launched tomorrow, it's not all gloom
and doom ya know. Queer young peeps rock," Rainbow Youth
chairperson Toni Reid 'Twittered' the night before New
Zealand's biggest-ever insight into the lives of gay/bi
young people was presented to the public. She's right of
course. The Rainbow Youth crew see hundreds of healthy and
happy LGBT young people visit their centre, join their
groups, and even tell their 'coming out' stories to other
students in the classrooms they're invited to. But this
week's headlines tell a different story: Half of gay/bi
students have self-harmed. Gay students are three times
more likely to be bullied at school. And, heartbreakingly,
gay teens are five times more likely to attempt suicide
than their straight peers. "There were some challenging
findings," agrees researcher Mathijs Lucassen. "But they
can inspire us to make changes in our schools and
communities." Many same-sex specific "at risk" results are
given in the article.
Ministry of Health
(2008). New Zealand Suicide Prevention Action Plan
2008-2012: The Evidence for Action. Wellington, NZ:
Ministry of Health (PDF).
youth issues are noted but their suicidality is mentioned in
such a way that the problem is somewhat "minimized." The
following was written: "Recent research strongly suggests that
people of non-heterosexual orientation are at increased risk
of developing mental disorders and have higher rates of
suicidal behaviour (Fergusson, Horwood and Ridder et al 2005;
Herrell et al 1999; Russell and Joyner 2001; Skegg et al
2003). Among New Zealand young adults, the rate of mental
health problems was higher for those with a predominantly same
sex orientation than for their exclusively heterosexual peers
– five times higher for males and twice as high for females
(Fergusson, Horwood and Ridder et al 2005). A United States
study of high school students found that those with a same-sex
orientation were twice as likely to attempt suicide as their
heterosexual peers (Russell and Joyner 2001). Initial
indications are that transgender and intersexpopulations are
also at increased risk (Fitzpatrick et al 2005; Johannsen,
Ripa et al 2006)." The Risk Ratios for the Russell and Joyner 2001
study was about 2.5 for both same-sex attracted males and
females, this being the near-lowest RR produced in American
studies. Not mentioned was the RR of 3 for males and females
combined in the 2001 NZ school survey given above, that would
become and RR of 5 in the 2007 school survey. Also not
mentioned is why New Zealand is NOT producing studies of
child/youth suicide as it was done in British Columbia,
Canada... with likely results that would then permit the
mainstream New Zealand "suicide" authorities to state that
non-heterosexual children/youth are at risk for suicide.
Child Death Review Unit, BC Coroners Service (2008). "Looking for Something to Look Forward to" (a B.C. youth who died by suicide) ... A Five-Year Retrospective Review of Child and Youth Suicide in B.C. : In the five-year period between January 1, 2003, and December 31, 2007, 81 children and youth died by suicide in British Columbia. When this project was initiated, 66 of these cases were closed and 15 remained open and under investigation. The Child Death Review Unit’s review of the 66 closed cases resulted in the following findings: • Older youth (age 17–18 years), males, Aboriginal children and youth, and gay, lesbian and bisexual children and youth, as well as those who were questioning their sexuality, were at increased risk of suicide... Sexual orientation: Four children and youth identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual. Three other children and youth had been questioning their sexual orientation in the months prior to death.
In Progress: Review and update of suicide prevention guidelines for schools. Research team: Dr Sunny Collings (University of Otago), Barry Taylor.
These researchers will review and update the existing suicide prevention guidelines for schools. New evidence and services have emerged since the original guidelines were developed over 10 years ago. The guidelines update will be informed by stakeholder consultation, literature review and pre-testing of the updated guidelines. The researchers will produce a full guideline, literature review and summary guideline aimed at school stakeholder audiences. These documents will include evidence-based recommendations for safe and effective suicide prevention in schools. Note: May contain "at risk" GLBT adolescent related guidelines.
In Progress: Report to inform the provision of mental health promotion and prevention services to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex populations in New Zealand. Research team: (SHORE and Whariki Research Centre) Jeffery Adams, Dr Pauline Dickinson, Dr Launuola Asiasiga, Dr Tim McCreanor, Associate Professor Helen Moewaka Barnes.
This project will produce a needs assessment report on mental health promotion and prevention service requirements for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) populations in New Zealand. The report will include a review of the evidence, a description of existing services and programmes and identification of gaps in service provision. It will also provide recommendations for service provision and funding which would improve mental health promotion and prevention service provision and inter-agency collaboration for resourcing services.
Published: Youth '07: Fact Sheet - The Health and Wellbeing of Secondary School Students in New Zealand (2010): Notes that... Another group that is particularly vulnerable are students who are attracted to the same sex or both sexes (4% of students). Of these students, 20% reported making a suicide attempt in the previous 12 months which is five times the rate reported by students attracted exclusively to the opposite sex. PDF. Download Page. Download Page.
Published: Fortune S, Watson P, Robinson E, Fleming T, Merry S, Denny S (2010). Youth’07: The health and wellbeing of secondary school students in New Zealand: Suicide behaviours and mental health in 2001 and 2007. Auckland: The University of Auckland. PDF. Download Page. Download Page. Notes that... "Another group that is particularly vulnerable are students who are attracted to the same sex or to both sexes. These students show much higher levels of significant depressive symptoms, self-harm and suicide behaviours than those who are attracted to the opposite sex (Rossen, Lucassen, Denny & Robinson, 2009 [See Study Results on This Webpage]). Analysis of the 2007 survey results showed that students who were attracted to the same sex or to both sexes were much more likely to report a suicide attempt (20.0%) in the past 12 months than students who were attracted to the opposite sex (4.0%). Comment: Results should at least be given separately for sexual minority males and females. Also separately for bisexual students." The report also supplies Useful Links for Youth Mental Health: Young People Attracted to the Same Sex or Both Sexes: - Rainbow Youth. - OUTlineNZ: OUTLine is a free, confidential telephone counselling service for the rainbow community New Zealand wide. - Out There! Project: OUT THERE! was a Joint National Youth Development Project between the New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) and Rainbow Youth. Out There aimed to enhance the wellbeing of queer youth within Aotearoa New Zealand by providing resources, running workshops, commissioning research and organising hui (conferences). Due to multiple reasons Out There was unable to continue. - The "Making Schools Safe for People of Every Sexuality – PPTA Guidelines" link is not available,
SAFETY IN OUR SCHOOLS - KO TE HAUMARU I O TATOU KURA: An action kit for Aotearoa New Zealand schools to address sexual orientation prejudice (2005): During the past year 30.4% of non-heterosexual students report that they have thought of killing themselves - During the past year15.3% of non-heterosexual have attempted suicide [ Le Brun C, Robinson E, Warren H, Watson PD (2004). Non-heterosexual Youth - A Profile of their Health and Wellbeing. Findings of Youth2000. A National Secondary School Youth Health Survey. Auckland: The University of Auckland. Download Page. Study Results.]. Note: Results are from the 2001 survey. "Youth2000 survey" Reports (2001 & 2007 Surveys): Download Page.
Fleming TM, Merry SN,
Robinson EM, Denny SJ, Watson PD (2007). Self-reported
suicide attempts and associated risk and protective factors
among secondary school students in New Zealand. Australian
and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 41(3): 213-21. Abstract.
Significance of Diversity for Suicide Prevention
Initiatives (2007, Download
Page): ‘GLBTI’people: Rates of suicidal thoughts
and behaviours, and mental health problems associated
with suicide are between 1.5 and 12 times higher for GLB
people than for heterosexuals in NZ (eg Fergusson et al.
2005, Skegget al. 2003, Fleming et al. 2007 ) -
Transgender and intersex people also have higher risk of
psychological distress, suicidal thoughts and behaviours
(egFitzpatrick et al. 2005, Johannsenet al. 2006) - Many
people are aware of same-sex attraction by age 13, but
few disclose this to anybody before leaving school (eg
Le Brunet al. 2004) - Most GLB youth who attempt suicide
have not ‘come out’ - Many GLBTI people are reluctant to
access health services or ‘come out’ to professionals
for fear of a negative response (eg Semp2006, Fish 2006,
Myers et al 2005, Meckler et al. 2006, Neville &
Subjects of Suicide: Cultural Studies, Sexuality and Youth
Suicide Concepts in New Zealand (2001, by Rob
Cover, Must scroll): Abstract: This paper undertakes a brief
examination of current trends in New Zealand youth suicide
research and policy, arguing that the extent to which youth
sexuality is addressed is comparatively limited. Although
lesbian/gay/bisexual sexualities, concerns and identities are
relatively absent, it is important not merely to add
minority sexualities to suicide concepts in New Zealand
research and policy development; rather these are
well-placed to take on-board highly-nuanced understandings of
sexuality that (a) draw on culturalist, queer theory and
postmodern/poststructuralist approaches, and (b) are more in
line with a culture of sexual fluidity among contemporary
youth. Personal and identity-related anxieties around such a
sexual culture, it is argued, may be among risk factors for
youth suicide. By showing how youth sexuality is either
marginalised or mis-read by policy-makers and researchers,
some early indicators of directions suicide research might
take with regard to sexuality are asserted here.
New Zealand: First New Zealand study to explore GLB suicidality issues: Longitudinal Youth Study (By age 21: Suicide attempt incidence for GLB identified youth is 32.1%, and 7.0% for the others (Fergusson DM, Horwood LJ, Beautrais AL (1999). Is sexual orientation related to mental health problems and suicidality in young people? Archives of General Psychiatry, 56(10): 876-80. PubMed Abstract. Full Text.). The risk also continues after the teenage years: Fergusson DM, Horwood LJ, Ridder EM, Beautrais AL (2005). Sexual orientation and mental health in a birth cohort of young adults. Psychological Medicine, 35(7): 971-981. PubMed Abstract. PDF Download. - A 2000/2003 study of suicidality and gay youth by John Fenaughty: "Life on the seesaw: an assessment of suicide risk and resiliency for bisexual and gay male youth in Aotearoa / New Zealand.
New Zealand: New study to eventually be ready for peer review and likely publication - "A New Zealand study being conducted by researchers at the Dunedin School of Medicine will determine the association between sexual orientation (based on a measure of sexual attraction) and a range of behaviours indicative of deliberate self-harm (suicidal, non-suicidal intent). The study is based on the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (DMHDS). The findings are expected to complement those reported by Fergusson and colleagues (1999) in the Archives of General Psychiatry." (Cited from a March 21, 2000 email from Shyamala Nada-Raja written in response to a request made by Pierre Tremblay for related information.). - The study was then published in the American Journal of Psychiatry: Lifetime suicide attempt incidences for young adult males: Heterosexual (6%), Minor Homosexuality (16%), Significant Homosexuality (25%). For females: Heterosexual (9%), Minor Homosexuality (11%), Significant Homosexuality (33%). Skegg K, Nada-Raja S, Dickson N, Paul C, Williams S (2003). Sexual orientation and self-harm in men and women. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(3): 541-6. PubMed Abstract. Full Text.
New Zealand: - In Ya Face - Like, for example, the mis-conception that sexuality has nothing to do with some people killing themselves. I disagree. Large numbers of gays and lesbians have grappled with the thought of putting a gun to their head, or jumping off the bridge. Why? Because being gay, lesbian or transgendered in Aotearoa, despite the changes in the past decade, is still a bloody hard thing to be. It's incredibly hard, and the pressures are such that it pushes too many youths, literally, off the edge... Let's get very real, very quickly, and start to recognize that a large proportion of youth suicides may be attributed to the pressures of being gay or lesbian. - Andrew, a married man with 3 children, attempted suicide 3 times before coming to terms with a secret few would have known - except for the males he had sex with - had he died from his suicide attempts (1998).
Factors influencing the risk of suicide
for gay and lesbian people include (NZ Site): (Home Page):
Awareness of being gay or lesbian and first sexual experience
- Total rejection by family over coming out - Rejection by
society - Promiscuity and unsafe sex - Homophobic assaults and
cruel taunts. - Risk Factors for Youth Suicide
(2002): "Sexual Orientation: There is growing international
evidence to confirm that young gay, lesbian and bisexual
people have higher rates of suicidal behaviour, arising from
lack of support for their sexual orientation and the
discrimination they face."
in New Zealand II: a review of risk factors and prevention
(Annette Beautrais, New Zealnad Medical Journal, 2003):
"Psychosocial stresses... Sexual orientation Clear linkages
have been established between sexual orientation and suicide
attempt behaviour. These findings have been reported for New
Zealand, with results indicating that young people of gay,
lesbian and bisexual orientation had rates of suicidal
ideation and attempt that were over five times those of
Based on the largest survey of gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex, transgender and queer reactions to violence and harassment ever undertaken in Australia, this book gives voice to the many victims who have suffered in the state once recognised as Australia's most homophobic. It tells of the barriers people face in dealing with the legal system, the reasons why some do not report their experiences , and the complex historical, religious and educational factors affecting the perpetuation of homophobia across the country. Most importantly it provides a roadmap forward for all Australian legislative, policing, and judicial jurisdictions via a wide ranging set of recommendations, from the individual's understanding of their rights and responsibilities, to the responses of police, legal professionals and judicial officers.Sainsbury J (2009). Talking Straight: Finding new ways to challenge homophobia in Australian schools. PDF.
Comparable countries are dealing with homophobia in schools much more effectively than we are. While we have good work happening across disparate sectors, we need to anchor these initiatives and focus this work with strong campaigns in the education sector. Working with the education sector, the health sector, as well as human rights and equal opportunity initiatives and the justice system is imperative. We need to generate multiple leverage points for positive social change in this area. The development of a Safe Schools Coalition is an appropriate and effective implementation of this approach. It will allow a range of organizations and interest groups to work towards a clear and irrefutable goal - a young person’s right to a safe and inclusive education. This will include inviting young people to actively shape school culture, strategies and policies around sexual diversity and challenging homophobia... The basic tenet of the Australian education system is that all young people have the right to be educated in an environment in which they feel safe and valued. Research shows that the reality is quite different. School is an unsupportive and unsafe place for many young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), or who are either perceived to be LGBT or challenge heterosexist norms .Dalley-Trim L, Cook J (2009). The Call To Critique ‘Common Sense’ Understandings About Boys And Masculinity(Ies). Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 34(1): 54-68. PDF. PDF.
The homophobia expressed towards boys who do not ‘measure up’ to dominant forms of masculinity is frequently related to their similarity to girls, and commonly in terms derogatory to females (Epstein, 1997: Kenway & Willis, 1998: Lees. 1997). Drawing upon what Lees (1993) identifies as a “vocabulary of abuse,” these boys are, for example, commonly labelled and referred to as: “sissies,” “girls,” “poofs,” “poofters,” “faggots,” “fags,” “bumboys,” and “Nancyboys.” Essentially. engagement with these homophobic practices - along with other normalising techniques of surveillance - are clearly used by boys to enhance their heterosexual masculine reputation, and to police the boundaries of acceptable male behaviour and identity as well as homosexual behaviour (see Jordan, 1995: Kessler et al., 1985: Mac An Ghaill, 1994: Mahony, 1989: Martino, 1995a, 1995b, 1995c, 1995d, 2000a, 2000b, 2000c, 2000d: Martino & Frank, 2006: Nayak & Kehily, 1996, 1997: Redman & Mac An Ghaill, 1996: Skeggs, 1991: Stanley, 1986: Stanworth, 1983). Clearly, to resist dominant codes of masculinity within the school site, and more specifically within the classroom, is a precarious business - it is to risk being labelled “gay.” Given this, boys are, as Nayak & Kehily (1996) suggest, encouraged to “perform their gendered identities in particular ways to survive the prospect of homophobic abuse” (p. 216) and to cultivate a “hyper-hetero sexual identity” (p. 212). As is later demonstrated in this paper, the use of heterosexist language practices serves as a tool in the achievement of this masculinist identity.Still an issue? Teacher educators, teacher education and heteronormativity. By Vicki M Carpenter and Debora Lee, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. Paper, Annual Conference of The British Educational Research Association (BERA), 2010, PDF N/A.
This paper discusses and reflects on the findings of two research projects, both related to sexual orientation and teacher education. Project One was conducted in 2003 (Fisher, Carpenter and Tetley, 2003), and the most recent, Project Two, was conducted in 2009 (Visibility and Inclusion Project). Both projects were conducted on the same New Zealand teacher education site, with some participants possibly responding to both studies. Between 2003 and 2009, the former Auckland College of Education amalgamated with the University of Auckland. Arguably one would expect such an amalgamation to result in a more critical and accepting stance regarding social justice, and sexual orientation in particular. This is what we were attempting to ascertain with our comparison and analysis...Henrickson M (2007). "You have to be strong to be gay": Bullying and educational attainment in LGB New Zealanders. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services 19(3/4), 67-85. PDF. Download Page.
This paper contributes to a body of knowledge surrounding issues of sexual orientation in teacher education (Sears, 2005, Ferfolja & Robinson, 2004). The findings have implications for teacher education in the international context and our goal is to publish the findings for that wider audience. New Zealand has, arguably, some of the world's most liberal and inclusive national policies surrounding sexual orientation and inclusiveness (see the Human Rights Act, 1993). The paper suggests that, despite the policy rhetoric, there was and is minimal recognition of sexual orientation diversity in the University of Auckland's teacher education programmes. While such silence impacts on teacher education students and lecturers themselves, the ramifications multiply when one considers the wider educational environment in which teacher education students will work. Teacher education is a place where misconceptions and prejudices are able to be challenged. The comparison of both projects indicates that little has changed; heteronormativity appears entrenched in teacher education. Projects One and Two provide evidence of discrimination against LGB staff. Many staff who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual continue to feel a sense of loneliness and danger and are uncomfortable about being open about their sexuality. In teacher education courses the curriculum topic of diversity did not and does not usually include diverse sexualities. In 2009, although some staff considered that there was adequate course content in regard to sexualities, many did not. While some were inclusive of sexualities in their teaching, others saw no relevance of the topic to their curriculum work and most ignored any reference. Rather than confronting homophobia, teacher educators - in New Zealand and internationally - have a responsibility to challenge the pervasive power of heteronormativity. Through consistently questioning and ‘queering' the construct of heterosexuality as ‘normal', teacher educators can enable possibilities for discussion that are often ignored when the focus is on homophobia. We argue that the evidence of little change in staff attitudes and practices is a serious matter for teacher education in the Faculty of Education; it is an issue of social justice.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) persons in New Zealand are highly vulnerable to bullying, although bullying appears to have evolved from physical to primarily verbal abuse. Data from the Lavender Islands national study of 2,269 LGBs in New Zealand suggest that coming out early as LGB appears associated with lower levels of educational attainment, which in tum is associated with bullying and verbal assault. LGBs with higher educational attainment are more satisfied with an LGB identity than those with lower educational attainment. The data suggest that the consequences of bullying and assault may be longer term and more far-reaching than even the psychological challenges found in the literature... A large number of respondents reported having been victims of physical or verbal abuse or violence: 2,229 respondents (64.4 percent of females and 76.6 percent of males) said they had been verbally assaulted because of their sexuality, and 18.2 percent of males and 9.2 percent of females reported having been physically assaulted because of their sexuality (total n = 318). Of all respondents, 1,297 (58.7 percent) said they had been "outed" by someone without their permission. Although respondents rated New Zealand a generally more tolerant place than other countries (M = 4.7 out of a possible high score of 7, s.d. = 1.47), they rated the social climate in the town where they were raised as intolerant (M = 2.8 out of a possible most tolerant 7, s.d. = 1.53). Respondents also reported that bullying was a problem: 1,035 (46.5 percent) reported that they had been the victims of bullying. Men (55.9 percent) were significantly more likely to have been bullied than women (35.1 percent, p < .001)Nevill S (2008): Men and Health. The New Zealand Medical Journal, 121(1287): 7-10. PDF.
Despite an apparent acceptance of homosexuality in recent times, there remains a continuing and underlying stigma associated with living a non-heterosexual lifestyle. Consequently, a pervasive and often covert level of homophobia and heterosexism continues to be promulgated within society and throughout all healthcare contexts, which directly and negatively impacts on health and well-being. For example, not accessing primary healthcare services when feeling unwell and/or engaging in risktaking behaviours (like not using a condom when engaging in anal intercourse) that have negative consequences on an individual’s future health status. Consequently, Adams et al’s article published in this issue of the NZMJ titled Doctoring New Zealand’s gay men10 is timely and important as currently New Zealand is experiencing an increase in the number of HIV infections.Irwin L (2007). Homophobia and Heterosexism: Implications for Nursing and Nursing Practice. The Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 25(1): 70-76. PDF. Download Page.
Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) continues to exist in contemporary society and in institutions such as health care systems despite increasing social tolerance over the past three decades. This article explores the existence of discrimination against LGBT people among nurses and the implications this has for nursing and the quality of care delivered. The evidence suggests that LGBT patients and clients experience discrimination because of the homophobic and heterosexist attitudes of some nurses and other health professionals. Furthermore, some gay and lesbian health care workers also experience prejudice, discrimination and rejection from their colleagues. These experiences have detrimental effects for LGBT patients and staff. Strategies that may enhance the wellbeing of LGBT patients and staff are suggested.Anti-homophobia policy to be introduced in NSW (2010): The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies has voted overwhelmingly to implement an anti-homophobia/anti-transphobia policy. This is fantastic news for the Jewish GLBT community as the NSWJBD finally recognises that there is a demographic within the Jewish community that needs more support. Despite the fact that it is often considered much easier for people to come out of the closet these days, recent stories in the Australian media such as the gutter-press outing of Campbell and the ignorant and damaging comments from Akermanis have shown that there are still massive hurdles to overcome.
Are some schools homophobic? (2010, NZ): This man in his late twenties had been working with the girls' netball teams since February. The Board of Trustees at Middleton Grange School, which is a Christian school, disclosed to the school principal that his homosexuality was a problem and therefore could not continue in the position - apparently this was due to the Christian belief that homosexuality is a sin? Hmph - not quite sure how that impacts the ability to do one's job any differently though! What is it with the stigma that surrounds gay teachers though? This has long fascinated me and I have an entire sub-plot in a feature film script I've been developing that revolves around this very subject matter. I thought these silly reactions to someone in the education profession being gay were reserved for places like the US, but the story above has brought it all home; it's right in our own backyard.
Addressing homophobia and sex-based discrimination in schools - by Darryl Murray (Youth Studies Australia, 20(1), 2001. Abstract: "Homophobia in secondary schools in Australia has a major impact on the health and well-being of many young people. However, with the help of programs such as Family Planning Queensland's Out With Homophobia Workshop, teachers can affect changes in the attitudes of their students and contribute to organisational changes to provide a safe and non-homophobic school environment." - Issues for schools (2003) - The effects of Homophobia: Boy Talk - Diverse Masculinities.- What macho means? - Boys' experiences of masculinity.… the place at which the abuse was most likely to occur was school (69%) with boys more likely to be abused there than girls (81% vs 53%). The streets were the second most likely place of abuse (47%) followed by social (34%) and sporting events (9%). … Fifty nine percent of those who had been verbally or physically abused named other students as the perpetrators. Added to this, 10% named friends, some of whom were also likely to be school students. - Reference: Lynne Hillier et al., Writing Themselves In: A National Report on the Sexuality, Health and Well-Being of Same-Sex attracted Young People, Melbourne, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, Latrobe University, 2002 [PDF]. See also NSW Teachers Federation, Education Online: Creating safe and supportive environments, 2003. http://www.nswtf.org.au/edu_online/51/createsafe.html. [See:Writing Themselves in Again 6 years on, 2005, PDF, Download Page]. Related Article: Student gay bashing rife, says report (2005). - Coming out getting easier for gay teenagers (2005). Summary of the Hillier et al. (2005) study in the National LGBT Health Alliance Submission (2009, PDF): Hiller et al. concluded from their Australian survey of the health and wellbeing of same-sex attracted young people, that the high prevalence of family and peer rejection, harassment, and bullying fuelled feelings of isolation, self-loathing and shame - all of which have been shown to substantially increase vulnerability to suicide and self-harm. Specific findings of the study included that: • over half the respondents had been verbally or physically abused because of their sexuality; • school was the place where most of that abuse took place; and • the majority of respondents felt unsafe in many different environments including school, at home and in the community. The levels of violence experienced by same-sex attracted young people increased between 1998 and 2005, escalating in schools particularly.
What do they think? Queerly raised and queer-friendly students - by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli (Youth Studies Australia, 19(4), 2000 (December): 34-40. Abstract: "Homophobia and heterosexism still rule in most classrooms and playgrounds although an increasing number of children and young people are being raised to be queer friendly. Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli discusses the insights of primary and secondary queer friendly students into the questions of why homophobia is still an issue among student populations; what kind of anti-homophobic strategies work; what strategies and approaches are required; and what they believe their role is in a whole-school approach to homophobia and heteronormativity."
Book shows how homophobia starts in the schoolyard (New Release 11/11/99, University of Maryland): "In primary school, boys are likely to be accused of being a poofter if they mix with girls too often, and accused of the same thing in high school if they don't mix with them enough... homophobia peaks in the mid to late teens, with boys in years 8 and 9 reporting that they use the word 'poofter' 25 to 50 times a day. These attitudes, he said, were often an exaggerated expression of heterosexual identity, and thus effected everyone... Boys who aren't targeted by others observe what goes on and make sure they don't do anything that might be considered suspect or that would make them stand out. Masculine behaviours are exaggerated and these lead to all sorts of lifestyle and risk behaviours which endure later in life... At the furthest behaviour extreme were gay-hate murders, with some research suggesting that as many as one in four murders involving strangers in New South Wales over the last 20 years were in some way related to homophobia.
Sexuality and education: "Heterosexual dominance plays itself out in schools in many institutionalized forms; lining up girls and boys separately, gender stereotyping, discrimination in sex education, no-action towards derogatory comments made in the school yard and so on. Some figures over half of lesbian, gay and bisexual students have been verbally abused, a fifth have been beaten up, one in ten thrown out of home, one in five attempted suicide. “the level of homophobic violence in Australia is outrageous.”
Lesbians and gays ridiculed at work: "Gay men, lesbians and transgender people are subjected to widespread sexual and physical assault in the workplace across Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT, a major study has found... "The effects on individuals included increased stress, depression, illness, loss of self confidence, increased alcohol and drug intake and attempted suicide," she said." The study, called The Pink Ceiling Is Too Low, examined the work experiences of more than 900 homosexuals and found almost 60 per cent had been subjected to either assault, verbal harassment and abuse, destruction of property, ridicule and homophobic jokes.
ABC's "Four Corners" (2000) - Investigative journalism at its very best - Program Transcript: "Four Corners hears the stories of both the victims and the perpetrators of gay bashing in the north Queensland city of Townsville. Reporter Quentin McDermott also searches for the causes of the prejudice which underlies the violence... In Townsville, north Queensland, being gay can be a hazard to your safety... Basically your run-of-the-mill homophobic taunts, like, 'Faggot, poofter, um -- dung puncher'... But as in much of regional Australia, the police didn't share the community's level of concern about homophobia... We are now able to prove there is an increase in issues of assaults, vilification and threats against homosexuals... Dangers are faced by gay communities everywhere. A recent study in Victoria reported that 70 per cent of lesbians and gay men had been abused, threatened or bashed in public... Pastor Jacobsen says he condemns violence against gays. But he seems to show little compassion for the intense difficulties faced by young gay people... But it's also a human issue and young people are being driven to harm themselves and even to kill themselves because they're being rejected by certain sections of society and because people are telling them it's wrong and because they're being bashed and violently harmed. Now, don't you accept some responsibility for that?.. Australia has one of the highest rates of male youth suicide in the industrialised world... Sometimes the worst kind of violence visited on gays can end up being the violence they do to themselves. Even high school children are at risk when they face uncontrolled homophobia from their fellow pupils... And it got to the point where I was trying to look for ways to get out of going to school, whether it be, like, you know, trying to cut up my wrists with a razor or trying to take a, you know, handful of this pill, a handful of that pill, or faking some kind of sickness or, you know, purposely falling down the stairs or something like that. I just did not want to go to school... Trust me -- it is a very terrifying experience just admitting to yourself that, yes, I am different...
Dr David Plummer: In
many ways, boys who've gone through school and young adulthood
who've been subjected to intensive homophobia really are
victims of torture, and that, whether it's psychological
torture at school by bullies and groups of boys or otherwise,
we haven't given enough attention to the marginalisation,
isolation, psychological trauma that these young boys have
experienced. And isolation is one factor that has been linked
fairly clearly into youth suicide and we've got an epidemic of
it in modern Australia... Will ran away to Sydney following an argument with his
parents when he was just 14... I was only there two weeks and
I was on the streets taking drugs, working on the Wall, which
is where all the boys go to prostitute themselves for money...
Two years ago her girlfriend died of an overdose... When I
first started using I didn't think that - morphine was
something that could kill me, you know? And it was just
something -- I suppose something to escape from whether I was
gay or not. That was an issue, so I just used drugs to forget
about it because I just didn't want to think about it... Bruce
is another young person who has turned his pain in on himself.
In his case, the pain of homophobic abuse as a young gay man
and the agony of trying to summon the courage to tell his
mother he was gay... In the end, Townsville can't be said to
be any more or less homophobic than anywhere else in regional
Hohnke, Mark and O'Brien, Patrick (2008, Download Page, PDF). Discrimination against same sex attracted youth: the role of the school counsellor. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling , 18 (1): 67-75... While schools throughout Queensland (and indeed Australia), have developed many inclusive practices addressing the educational outcomes and social well-being of a wide variety of students, current research would indicate that the school experiences of many same-sex attracted youth (SSAY) is anything but inclusive (Mikulsky, 2006)... The journey towards a truly inclusive educational setting for sexual minority youth is clearly fraught with challenges and obstacles to overcome. Position statements around inclusion such as exists in Queensland are certainly a step in the right direction and provide a systemic framework for policy development within schools. The issues faced by SSAY within the schooling system have potentially devastating consequences for students, impacted by the silence that surrounds sexuality, a dominant heterosexist approach to curriculum and school structures and the confusion experienced by individuals as their emerging sexual identity takes shape.
What we have to say: Getting over homophobia (2007). - Helping gay kids become part of the crowd (2006). - Group tackles homophobia head-on (2006): After concerns were raised by young people about sexual discrimination, the WayOut rural youth and sexual diversity project was established in 2002... The Kyneton based group has become a regular fixture at schools and forums in the area, providing a positive sexual message to its peers... Project coordinator, Sue hackney, from Cobaw community health Service said rural communities are less accepting of homosexuals which creates an unsafe environment for young people coming to terms with their sexuality. - Homosexuality message threatens young people (2001). - Proud teens battle prejudice (2003): "Surviving your teenage years can be a struggle for just about anyone, but imagine if that time was also spent battling to come to terms with an alternative sexual persuasion to that of most of your friends, in a social, school and community environment without any real support." - Homophobia and masculinities among young men (Lessons in becoming a straight man): a presentation to teachers, O'Connell Education Centre, Australia, 1997.
Australian Association for Research in Education: Conference papers - 1998 papers - Teacher positioning around 'homosexuality' in schools. (Homosexuality (gay and lesbian) within the school environment: Teachers' perspectives). - When we treat everybody the same we don't: Snipets of Gay and Lesbian School Experience:The need for naming names in policy. - Teaching Against Homophobia. - (1997 Abstracts) - Teaching Sexualities - Homosexuality and body image issues: teacher awareness. - Differences that matter and indifference in education. - Having what it takes: Homophobia and masculinities in educational settings in the UK and South Africa. - 1999 Papers - Dear Reader, There are 2 articles here: Are You Gay/Sir? is meant to be read first and is forthcoming in 'Melbourne Studies in Education' Are you gay/sir?: I'm not going to tell you: Towards a pedagogy of provocation. This is the paper that I presented at the AARE conference in 1999. - It's More Than a Game: Little boys, masculinities and football culture.
Sex Matters in Schools (1999):
"Schools normalise the binary gender/sex distinction between
male and female, thus rendering invisible all those who
might sit on the androgynous borderline between the two.
This paper briefly examines institutional assumptions
underlying gender identification and some of the
consequences of assuming that gays, lesbians, transsexuals,
transvestites, hermaphrodites, and other intersex people
should present socially as either male or female." - Enabling and disabling conditions for
teaching against homophobia. - Men in Primary Teaching: An Endangered
Species? - Violence against teachers is increasing,
but employers have done little to provide a safe
workplace. Sharon Aris reports (2003): "According to
Barnes, the problem is not the lack of good anti-homophobia
programs. The NSW Teachers Federation has produced a
resource called the Anti-Violence Kit for all members in
NSW, and can provide people who can speak and train staff in
schools. The real problem is compliance: while schools are
required to run anti-homophobia programs as part of their
curriculum, there is no system in place to enforce this.
Barnes estimates that 25 per cent of schools do it well,
another 50 per cent pay lip service, and the rest ignore it
an Ally and Help Stop Shame, Fear, Ignorance and
Violence on our Campus (A joint initiative of
The University of Queensland and UQ Union, 2008):
Unfortunately, homophobic incidents occur regularly on our
campus. While we do not have figures for universities,
research shows that 70% of gay and lesbian young people
report being abused at school. The damage caused by
experiencing homophobic behaviour contributes to serious
emotional turmoil leading to 20 – 42% attempted suicide.
Australia has one of the highest rates of youth suicide in
the developed world, and Queensland has consistently higher
rates. Homophobic behaviour contributes to higher dropout
rates amongst LGBT/I youth and a raft of negative health
Homophobia (Tasmania)... Background information,
resources and activities for school and college leaders,
teachers, Learning Services and other members of school
communities addressing the requirements of the Department of
Education's Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy:
Background on homophobia, Sexuality and the Individual,
Definitions relating to homophobia, Questions and answers
about lesbian, gay and bisexual people, Sample student
learning experiences dealing with homophobia, Resources
relating to homophobia. - Community
homophobia (2010): Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights
Group spokesman Rodney Croome told a Parliamentary inquiry
yesterday that homosexuals were being abused and having their property
damaged by neighbours. - Survey
Shows Tasmania Most Homophobic State In Australia
(2010). - The
Homophobic Zone (2005, Tasmania). - Tas
implements anti-homophobia school program (2007).
Breaking a spell of
silence: The Tasmanian evaluation of the 2006 Pride &
Prejudice program (2007, PDF):
evaluation of the Pride & Prejudice program,1 which ran
in three Tasmanian schools in 2006, suggests that students
who completed the program had more positive attitudes
towards gay men and lesbians. This finding parallels an
earlier evaluation of the same anti-homophobia program
undertaken in Victoria... Pride & Prejudice is not a sex
education or sexual health program. The context of delivery
of this education package, which focuses entirely on
exploring social differences, discrimination, gender issues
and how these relate to gay and lesbian people, differs from
that of previous sexual diversity and homophobia
actions/programs. The program provides opportunities for
dialogue with gay men and lesbians, and aims to foster a
safe, supportive and nurturing environment where students
can explore issues of sexual diversity and homophobia with
kidding? Sex-based harassment at school (2003,
New South Wales): A 107-page text for educators and carers
that focuses only on sex-based harassment among students. It
examines the behaviours through scenarios, explores social
justice, equity and legal aspects; looks at how our talk and
practice of gender relations every day makes sex-based
harassment 'normal'; showcases projects in New South Wales
schools; and provides ideas for eliminating the behaviour. -
of care to students ignored in gay school essay debate
Dwyer A, Hotten J (2009).
There is no relationship: service provider staff on how
LGBT young people experience policing. In: TASA
Refereed Conference Proceedings 2009, 1-4 December 2009,
Australian National University, Canberra (PDF).
There has been an extended engagement with how young people
experience policing, with a focus on the intersection
between policing and indigeneity, ethnicity, gender, and
social class. Interestingly, sexuality and/or gender
diversity has been almost completely overlooked, both
nationally and internationally. This paper reports on LGBT
youth service providers’ accounts about police and LGBT
young people interactions. It overviews the outcomes of
semi-structured interviews with key LGBT youth service
providers in different regions of Brisbane, Queensland. As
the first qualitative engagement with these issues from the
perspective of service providers, it highlights not only how
LGBT young people.
"It may not be fancy ...": exploring the service needs of homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender young people (207, Reference, online copy not located): a report prepared by the Twenty-Ten Association Incorporated. Authors: * Toms, Michelle. * Redshaw, Sarah. * Twenty-Ten (N.S.W.) * Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (Australia) * Australia. Dept. of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. - Study Highlights: Service providers were questioned and noted that GLBT young people faced discrimination from other young people and this was worse in rural areas. These service providers agreed that GLBT young people had high levels of associated alcohol and drug use, health issues, problems with acceptance and maintaining friendships, poor life skills and many family issues. According to the young people: Young GLBT people were also questioned and the results were startling. The GLBT young people interviewed, reported facing many issues in their daily life that made it difficult to cope including: * Mental health – Young people reported experiencing depression and anxiety which made it difficult for them to secure permanent accommodation or continue with schooling or employment opportunities. * Relationships - Perhaps linked to this was that GLBT young people reported that they had stressful and unstable relationships which led to a feeling of being out of control. * Alcohol and drugs – This was mentioned as a concern for young people as it was a popular means to cope with depression and their daily life. * Family – Young people reported that they were often ostracized from their family or generally they were frustrated with family relationships. * Education – Many young people claimed that it was difficult to pursue education if they were experiencing mental health issues such as depression. * Employment –Young people said they were worried about their ability to find employment without being discriminated against and believed that they would not be able to secure certain jobs due to their sexuality or appearance. * Ethnicity and Culture – 7 of the young people in this study were from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and they noted that they had experienced racial discrimination in Australia. This report outlined that there is currently a service gap when providing services to young GLBT people from these backgrounds. * Social – Young people said it was difficult to meet other GLBT young people who were not using drugs or behaving anti-socially, and this was especially hard for young people who lived in rural areas. * Sexuality – Again for the young people in rural areas, they reported that they had experienced discrimination and often felt deep guilt and shame. For the American GLBT Youth Homeless situation, see: Ray, N. (2006, PDF). Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth: An epidemic of homelessness. New York: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and the National Coalition for the Homeless. For Studies of the North American GLBT Street/Homeless Youth situation, see: Aboriginal & Sexual Minority Over-Representation In Street Youth Population. Higher Suicidality Risk For Street Youth. Highest Suicidality Risk for Sexual Minority Street Youth.
Shout! School's Out: An Internet resource for teachers, educators and parents N/A. - Open Doors Youth Service Resources for Schools. - SSAFE in Schools Website: Transgender Young People. - Same Sex Attracted Youth Research, ARCSHS (LaTrobe University). - Supporting SSAQTY at school; Resources. - WayOut, Rural Victorian Youth & Sexual Diversity Project: a partnership between Cobaw Community Health Service and Gay & Lesbian Health Victoria (GLHV).Sex Worker Outreach Project: "SWOP focuses on safety, dignity, diversity and the changing needs of sex industry workers, to foster an environment which enables and affirms individual choices and occupational rights."
"Sex Work" section in Gay and homosexually active Aboriginal men in Sydney: Sex Practices. - Newsletter of the AIDS Council of South Australia Inc: Report on the Male Sex Worker Focus Group N/A.(Section on Sex Workers) - South Australian Sex Industry Network (SIN). - A profile of the clients of male sex workers in three Australian cities. - Out of a group of 13 gay street kids who, by an early age, were being passed around by abusive men, only 3 survived to the age of about 30 - most by violent suicides, OD's, and AIDS.
Marsden: passing parade of names: "Those sitting in the public gallery over the 136 days this matter has been running have heard a passing parade of names in connection with under-age sexual activities revolving around Costello's, a nightclub open in the '70s and early '80s where men went to pick up young boys for sex... Others named have included Mr Tony Shenkwin, Mr Joe (Josie) Westwood, solicitor Mr Trevor Beasley and the late Mr Tony Bevan. Yesterday, former journalist Mr Simon Davies was said to have been involved in a shelter for homeless children which he would use to procure young boys. And also getting a mention yesterday was Karl Malden, the American actor famed for TV's Streets of San Francisco and his later ads for American Express where he urges the viewer: "Don't leave home without it."
Many male prostitutes mature and educated, study shows: "The University of New England study was based on the sexual encounters of 192 male prostitutes with 1,700 clients in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane." - Community Policing and On-Street Prostitution in the Kings Cross Police Patrol (2000, PDF Download): The transsexuals prostituting themselves on-street in the Kings Cross Police Patrol area are usually aged around thirty¾considerably older than their female counterparts... The majority of adult male street prostitutes are younger than their female counterparts and their age range is between 18 and 26..." - Transsexual prostitution in New Zealand: Predominance of persons of Maori extraction.
Project supports male sex workers (1999). "The goal of the new service is to provide male sex workers with the same resources currently available to female prostitutes working in the area. This means access to counselling and legal services and to health, safety, employment and educational advice."
Community Panel on Prostitution (1990, PDF Download): Submission by the West Australian Branch of the Australian Association of Social Workers May 1990 - "Even though male prostitution may appear to be less frequent in this State, it may merely be 'invisible' because it has not been subject to nearly the same degree of control as applied to female prostitution in this State: Acott & Hewett (1987)."
Commercial Sex Between Men: A Prospective Diary-Based Study (2000, Full Text) - by Victor Minichiello (Journal of Sex Research, May 2000): "The data reported in this study were collected using a diary which male sex workers (MSWs) completed after each commercial sexual encounter with a male client over a 2-week period... The instrument was developed after consultations with three sex workers' organisations: the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) in Sydney... The total number of sex workers who completed the diary over the 2-week period was 186.."
Beyer, a transsexual and male prostitute who shucked off her past to become Mayor of Carterton is now aspiring to become Wairarapa’s MP. - Men sex workers and other men who have sex with men: how do their HIV risks compare in New Zealand? "We do find the sex workers to be different, however, in their being less likely to engage in safe sex practices. We provide an explanation for why this has not lead to their having a higher rate of seropositivity." - The Sex Industry in New Zealand: A Literature Review (2005, PDF). - New Zealand’s National Plan Of Action Against The Commercial Sexual Exploitation Of Children (2002, PDF Download). NZ: Child Prostitution in New Zealand (2002, PDF Download): "Of the 194 child prostitutes in the ECPAT NZ survey, 10% were 12 years old or under, 15% were 13 years old, 20% were 14 years old and 30% were 15 years old (Saphira, 2001). It was not known at what age they had started sex work. At least 21% were recorded as male but it is unclear whether some were transgender."
Young people more vulnerable to problems
(Feb. 25, 2001): "In Fiji the number of young gay male
prostitutes has also increased in recent years. Peter
Sipeli, an activist with the Sexual Minorities Group in
Suva, says that many boys who are rejected by their families
turn to prostitution to survive. "Many young boys face
total rejection from their families because of their
sexuality. Their young age and their lack of life skills
pushes them into prostitution," he said."
Queers for Reconciliation (Alternate Link): - ANWERNEKENHE II was the second
national conference for Indigenous Australian gay men and
sista girls. And as Gary Lee writes, it was a time for
breaking silences, making resolutions, and naming some
deep-running waters. - Vast distances... Vast differences:
"There have been many "explanations" for the outrageous
discrepancies between the health levels of Indigenous
Australians and the health of non-Indigenous people.
Transgender and Queer Communities. - Young, gay, black, green and female. -
Boys to Men. - Anwernekenhe is an
Arrernte word, meaning “us mob”. Anwernekenhe I was the
first ever gathering of Indigenous gay men and sistergirls.
Coming together for the First National Indigenous Australian
Gay Men and Transgender Sexual Health Conference.
Participants gathered together on the lands of the Arrernte
people at Hamilton Downs, Central Australia in 1994, sharing
their concerns and experiences of sexual health and
well-being: Anwernekenhe I, Hamilton Downs, 1994
(PDF) and Anwernekenhe II, Tambourine Mountain, 1998
fourth national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
gay, sistergirl and transgender HIV/AIDS – sexual health
conference: "The National Aboriginal &
Torres Strait Islander Sexual Health & Blood Borne Virus
Strategy 2005 – 2008, identifies Australian indigenous gay
men, sistergirls, transgender and men who have sex with men
as a priority group for HIV/AIDS and sexual health
responses. The majority of HIV transmission of indigenous
Australians’ is attributed to male-to-male sex." - Western
Australian Aboriginal Sexual Health Strategy 2005–2008
Link). - Aboriginal
health on the road to nowhere with unfunded policies
(2007, Note: Therefore No hope for the health issues of
sexual minority aboriginal people!). - Indigenous
issues – do the major parties really give a damn?
ANWERNEKENHE III -Third
National indigenous Gay, Sistergirl and Transgender HIV/AIDS
and Sexual Health Conference (2002, PDF
Download): Strengthening Communities Through
Prevention – Peer Education & Partnerships: "Day two of
conference proceedings provided an Indigenous gay,
sistergirl and transgender only stream, giving participants
a confidential and supportive cultural space to discuss
specific Indigenous gay, sistergirl and transgender
community business. This was well received by all delegates
and recommended for all future forums. Two of the most
significant issues discussed at Anwernekenhe III were that
of injecting drug use and child sexual abuse... - Breaking
The Silence: Indigenous, Gay, Transgender, Sistergirl Sexual
Abuse Workshop (by Gary Lee): "Our workshop on sexual abuse
was about ‘breaking the silence’, and about giving ourselves
permission to talk about our experiences, without feeling
like there was something wrong with us. It is also about the
community acknowledging that there is a problem. We hope it
will force the community to confront the reality of just
what is going on because it is not just our issue it is a
community one... There have been few if any specific
statistics collected, and even less social research
conducted on Indigenous gay and transgender/sistergirl
sexual abuse. In recent times, the calls for recognition of
and action against Indigenous heterosexual abuse have risen
around the country, largely through the initiatives and
tireless efforts of Indigenous people themselves, with
various levels of support from state and federal
governments. It’s now time that we as Indigenous gay,
transgender/sistergirl members of our communities gain the
same levels of support for the sexual abuse issues facing us
today. The cultural, social and emotional well being of our
communities depends on it.
and Torres Strait Islander Project: The primary aims
Project are (Home Page: NTAHC): To
provide Indigenous gay and bisexual men, and transgender
people (sistergirls) with gender specific and culturally
appropriate information, education and support to reduce the
risk of transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexually
transmitted infections (STI's). Enhance the sexual health
and well being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay,
bi-sexual men and transgender people (sistergirls), to
enable them to make informed decisions and achieve and
maintain control of their own sexual health. - New Page: Aboriginal
& Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI).
International Day against
Homophobia (2010, PDF)
LGBT in Indigenous communities: Just like any
culture, there are many Aboriginal & Torres Strait
Islanders that identify as LGBT. Similarly, like any culture
there are ATSI peoples who despite sexual attraction, do not
openly identify as LGBT. In many Indigenous communities,
LGBT have existed and been an accepted part of the community
pre-colonisation. A term often used in Indigenous Australia
to refer to transgendered people is sistergirls.
Sistergirls: Sister is often for someone who
identifies as a gay man. Sistergirl is used for someone who
identifies as transgender or has transgendered qualities. Sistergirl
maybe someone who: Wants to live as the opposite
gender, May be in the process of changing gender, Lives as
someone of the opposite sex, Was born with sexual parts of
both genders.Believes mentally and socially that they were
born the wrong gender.
Queensland Survey of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Men who have Sex
with Men (2004, PDF
Link): This was the first time a sexual risk study
focusing on homosexually active men, had been carried out
with a specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander target
group. Issues of ethical sensitivity and cultural awareness
needed to be considered before we could proceed... While the
study did not reach its intended sample size of 300, it has
provided a useful insight into Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander homosexual men’s sexual behaviour. It has allowed
us to explore risk behaviour and associated issues within
this population for the first time... In total 233 men
filled in questionnaires for the study... The term
‘sistergirl’ refers to a specific type of gender fluidity
among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
While not all sistergirls are transgendered, we have used
the term ‘sistergirl’ throughout to refer to this group...
The qualitative interviews were semi-structured and
audio-recorded. The issues covered included a range of
topics identified during the administration of the survey
and after the preliminary analyses of the survey data... We
asked MSM whether they had experienced discrimination from
within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community
based on their sexuality (Table 3.13). Well over a third
reported some form of discrimination although most described
it as being ‘occasional’ rather than ‘often’... We also
asked whether they had experienced discrimination from
within the gay community based on their Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander background (Table 3.14). About half
reported some discrimination although, again, most described
it as being ‘occasional’ rather than ‘often’... Thirty six
(22.5%) of the MSM, but none of the non-MSM, reported they
had ever been violently sexually assaulted.... About one in
six MSM, and a slightly smaller proportion of non-MSM, had
been incarcerated (Table 7.1)... Formal education levels
were not as high in this sample as is commonly found in
studies of gay men: Few reported attending university. Just
a third of the participants reported being in full time
employment and about as many reported they were either
unemployed or working for the Community Development
Employment Program (CDEP). This suggests the sample was
educationally disadvantaged and somewhat disadvantaged
socio-economically... The experience of discrimination,
particularly that based on race from within gay communities,
was more widespread than might be expected and certainly
warrants some sort of response. It is perhaps a testament to
the men’s own strength of character that in this context
they showed so little evidence of low self-esteem.
Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that so few men reported being
in a relationship with, or having, a regular male partner,
particularly when compared with other samples of gay men,
which raises some troubling questions...
presentation: ‘Sistergirls' – Stories from Indigenous
Australian Transgenders (2006, Related
Information): "A ‘story telling' video-documentary of
four Indigenous Australian sistergirls this documentary
projects positive images of Indigenous Australian
sistergirls - giving people an insight into why we live our
lives the way we do. It also raises a number of issues that
have, and continue to impact on our lives... The use of the
term ‘sistergirl' is a self adopted term, recognising that
the western definitions of transgender or gay do not reflect
the culture and lived reality of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander transgender people...In the documentary the
sistergirls talk about sistergirl identity and explain how
this term is used in Indigenous communities." - Indigenous
Homosexuality: Aboriginal Gay And Transgender People -
Silences In Indigenous Sexuality: Colonial
homophobia marginalised homosexual and transgender
Aborigines. But intolerance was never part of traditional
life, as seen in the story of the Tiwi Sistergirls...
Sistergirls don't like to be referred to as "gays". They
prefer the term "women". They also reject a lot of the myths
about them, both from the mainstream and from Indigenous
society. Firstly, they reject the claim that they are
"unnatural". A Sistergirl is born, not made. It is clear by
the age of two or three if a person has been born this way,
and when they get to the age of six, parents give them to
older sistergirls to look after because they're in that
GLBT/Sistergirls Research (Alternate Link): I am a young gay researcher of Mauritian background. I'm currently a PhD candidate in Health and Social Anthropology at the University of Provence (France) and I arrived in Australia 3 months ago to further a research project about Australian Indigenous GLBT/sistergirls experiences in urban settings. I collected about 50 life stories over 2 previous fieldworks and I am still seeking more participants in every States. The semi-directed interviews last about 1 hour and 30 minutes; it is anonymous and conducted in a culturally sensitive and respectful manner..." - "Sistergirls: stories from Indigenous Australian transgender people (2004)" by Kooncha Brown: Abstract: The use of the term 'sistergirl' is a self adopted term, recognising that western definitions of transgender or gay do not reflect the culture and lived reality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander transgendered people. There are low levels of acceptance and awareness of transgender/sistergirl culture. The lack of acceptance forces sistergirls to become invisible, which then leads to a lack of awareness of sistergirl culture - a vicious cycle. - Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal, 28(6) Dec 2004: 25-26: 'Sistergirls are Doing it for Themselves' by Michael Costello & 'Sistergirls' by Kooncha Brown.
For all Australians? (Alternate Link) In a time when many are hailing advances in HIV/AIDS treatments, and lauding Australia's response to HIV as exemplary, just how proud of our record should we be? Gay, Indigenous and HIV positive, Rodney Junga-Williams tells a different story. For Aboriginal Australians, he writes, its a question of: What access? Whose equality? - Survival '99 Queer, black and speaking out. - Gay Aborigines to gather for second 'Corroborree' (1997). - 'BlackOUT' is a newsletter by and for Aboriginal gay people. - OutBlack (Victoria) - This section looks at homophobia and its impact on Indigenous people - those from the first peoples of the land and sea in Australia. - SISSY [a 30-minute documentary] takes you behind the scenes to give a rare insight into a sub culture that has created its own space within the gay culture, and it explores the bond that sets the black ‘sisterhood’ apart from the white gays. SISSY is an expression of gay black identity: “We are glamorous, we are here and we are queer”: PDF Download.
Race, Sexuality and Education. What does
it mean to be Aboriginal and gay in education in
Australia? (Related Information) - Going That Way (2000):
"'…homosexuality has existed here for a long time, its not a
White man's disease - its probably the only thing we didn't
catch off the White man!' - Rea Saunders, Gay Perspectives
II, (ed.) Robert Aldrich, Sydney Uni Press, 1994, p.9 Going
That Way to me is about life energy, commitment and
resistance. It is one of the least bullshit exhibitions I
have ever been to. Ali Baker, 2000." - Postcolonial Nationalisms and the Problem
of Heterosexual Whiteness. - Black-banning homophobia. - "Too
Studying and No Time for Sex?" Homosexually Active Male
International Students and Sexual Health [in Australia]:
PDF Download N/A. (Related Information: PDF Download N/A) - The end of gay? (2000, PDF Download:
some information on the gay aboriginal situation.)
Lesbians in Sydney (2009): It is likely that sexual relationships between Aboriginal women constituted recognised forms of sexual behaviour which were included in ritual activities prior to European settlement. However, very few accounts of same-sex activity between women exist from this period and it is therefore extremely difficult to draw any firm conclusions for the Sydney region. Those accounts that are available in written form were produced by Europeans after settlement and can therefore only offer a limited and potentially inaccurate picture of female homosexual activity in Australia before 1788... Nevertheless, an ilpindja or love magic song in which women show their labia to each other, was reported by Geza Roheim, an anthropologist working in Central Australia in the late 1920s, suggesting that Aboriginal oral literature may also have referred to female same-sex activity... Aboriginal lesbians have been increasingly vocal in the 1990s in challenging Anglo-Australian notions of lesbian identity and reshaping attitudes toward the relationship between race and sexuality.
Black + White + Pink: is a group of volunteers from
the lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual community who
have come together to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander issues remain on the agenda of the gay and
lesbian community in New South wales. - Sweeties
for a Treaty. - Sydney Mardi Gras!!! Black+White+Pink
(2002). - Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander
participation in Sidney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2000.
- Mardi Gras 2001. - Black+White+Pink Consultation Forum
(1999). - Gay Perspectives II - 1994 - edited by
Robert Aldrich: "This volume includes articles on
homosexuality in traditional and contemporary Aboriginal
life; the life of a homosexual convict in colonial
Australia..." Gays and Lesbians Aboriginal Alliance,
‘Peopling the Empty Mirror: The Prospects for Lesbian and
Gay Aboriginal History’, in Aldrich (ed.), Gay Perspectives
II, pp. 1-62
Silverfoxes Club Digest: "He also thought that the Aborigines were ignorant of homo-eroticism. When he was asked about conditions in the colonies, particularly about .unnatural acts., the Bishop noted that those crimes were unknown to .the savage. until they were taught them by the convict. We know this to be false. Anthropological evidence points to the institutional arrangements and ritual practice among some of the native groups. These ranged from permissive sexual arrangements between a man and his wife.s brother (since the latter belonged to the same marriage class as his wife) to men masturbating each other before setting out on a warrior mission. One of Ullathorne.s great concerns was with the moral contamination of the young. He laid much emphasis on the way in which boys and young men became educated about unnatural activities.."
‘Kerryn and Jackie’:
Thinking Historically about Lesbian Marriages (by
Barnara Baird, PDF
Download): "The Gays and Lesbians Aboriginal Alliance
(GLAA) give an account of the how homosexuality has appeared
in historical records, mainly anthropological, about
indigenous peoples in Australia. While noting the scarcity
of recorded information about indigenous women’s sexuality
generally, the GLAA nevertheless quote Phyllis Kaberry’s
contribution with respect to the Kimberley district: ‘The
lesbian relationships of Australian women were an
acknowledged part of their sexual behaviour and were
included in their ritual activities’. The author's comment
that it was when Aboriginal communities felt the full brunt
of colonisation and Aboriginal people were institutionalised
in missions and reserves that ‘the social structures in
which homosexual relationships were integrated began to
collapse’. The GLAA’s article concludes with reference to US
queer theorist Michael Warner’s claim that ‘the
heterosexualization of society was … a fundamental
imperative of modern colonialism’."
Then and Now: Gay Men and
HIV (2003, PDF
Link): "The experience and possibilities of doing
gayness and Indigeneity are discussed in various ways and
places (Gays and Lesbians Aboriginal Alliance 1993; Willis
2003a, b). Of relevance here too is Gregory Phillips’
Addictions and Healing in Aboriginal Country (2003). HIV
positive Indigenous gay men and sistergirls are included,
but not differentiated by sexual identity, in Willis et al
(2002b). The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations has
auspiced community consultations and major documents on
Indigenous Australian gay men and transgender people and on
sexual health (AFAO 1998a, b). Three Indigenous gay men’s
accounts of gayness and community can be found in Hodge
(1993). Hurley (1996: 1-2) contains a bibliography. Wayne
King speaks autobiographically (1998) and Sydney experiences
appear in Brady (2001). Tony Ayres’ film Double Trouble
(1991) and Noel Tovey’s play Little Black Bastard (Benzie
2003) are also key documents. While discrimination appears
as a major issue in all of them, there are also complex
discussions of how sociality, the scene and community are
Trouble, film by Tony Ayres (1991. Tony Ayres):
Interviews with indigenous gay men and lesbians in Australia
discuss the problems of being a minority within a minority.
Trouble: a documentary celebration of living with the
twin identities of being gay or lesbian and Aboriginal in
Australia. A joyful and lively group of gay men and lesbians
tell stories from their lives- from early discoveries of
sexuality, to experiences of prejudice within the gay scene,
to the issues which arise from being gay or lesbian in the
urban Aboriginal community. Commissioned by Channel Four in
the UK, Double Trouble is a playful, exuberant and
insightful look into a rarely seen community.
Hours (by Wayne King). Wayne
King: "Over several years, he had thoroughly uprooted
himself from a culture in which he and his kind were the
object of racism. He lived in a world that was relatively
autonomous from the person-defining processes of family and
nation. One word that describes this semi-detached world is
‘impersonal’; here was ‘impersonality’ in a benign form, the
demands and opportunities of international bureaucracy and
of gay sexuality combining to foster an ethos of personal
liberty..." - Re-historicising
'Racism' (2005, Alternate
Link): Language, History and Healing in Wayne King's
Black Hours: Although education rarely fulfilled its promise
to open doors for Aboriginal people, the 'sissies' course'
allowed King to earn good money, remain in steady
employment, and avoid what he calls the 'manual labour
mentality that pervaded the Aboriginal community'. His
office skills also proved to be his 'passport out of
Ipswich'... As a gay Aboriginal, however, in racist,
homophobic Australia, King was doubly marginalised on the
basis of both race and sexuality. He experienced racial
prejudice from the gay community, and homophobia amongst
sections of the Aboriginal community. He recalls being
picked up by a gay man in a car, and thrown out again as
soon as the man learned he was Aboriginal. Even more hurtful
was his discovery of the depth of racial prejudice amongst
his gay friends: "Rejected and spurned by society for being
homosexual, they had spoken angrily of the discrimination
they had to face. Yet they saw nothing wrong in their
attitude towards me; saw nothing to condemn in themselves...
Those white boys in that room thought that a racist was some
yobbo in a blue Chesty Bond singlet, shorts and thongs with
a beer can in one hand, the other scratching his balls. The
subtlety of racism had escaped them. If you had an
education, you couldn't be racist. Terry's racist comment
[that the right place for Aborigines was in the bottom of an
ash-tray] had tipped the scales for me. Gays may have been
outsiders, but as a gay Aborigine, I might as well have been
Black Bastard: "It was during the early 1950s at
school that the sexual abuse he had experienced as a young
child was crystallised. Tovey was attractive to boys. He
was, despite his colour, welcomed into their circle, but
only if he paid with sexual favours. His unsparing
recollections about the many beatings he endured for being
black and frequent rapes while at school, are unsettling.
Remarkably, he looks for no sympathy, he expresses no
bitterness. He knew men wanted him, but his own
homosexuality was not evident until later... Besides his
clear artistic interest and developing skill as a dancer,
Tovey was, by the mid-1950s, also a teenage rent-boy. "I was
inured to the act of sex," he says. "My obvious good looks,
exotically coloured body and total lack of morals were my
entree to some of the best addresses in Melbourne." It was
also at this time, he says, that the defining moment in his
life occurred. After a police raid on a drag party in Albert
Park that Tovey was attending, he was charged with buggery.
He was sent to Pentridge. He was soon released, but not
before he went through his own dark night of the soul. He
contemplated suicide and was visited by a profound sense of
his indigenous self..." Review.
Trouble Down Under: Australian Masculinities
(2002): "is divided into seven chapters... Then Chapter VII,
entitled “Double Trouble,” addresses lesbian and gay
aborigines, the amazing destiny of Australian performance
artist Leigh Bowery abroad (Bowery, extreme transgenderist,
has recently been incarnated by Boy George on Broadway), and
finally transgendered and transsexual individuals and
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO): - The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Gay, Sistergirl and Transgender HIV/AIDS – Sexual Health Project..- Indigenous Projects: AFAO Strategy for responding to sexual abuse of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay men and sistergirls: This document, published May 2005, proposes some specific interventions that might be trialled to determine their effectiveness in reducing sexual abuse. - Hot Chocolate: Access for all training packages addressing Indigenous gay men and transgender / sistergirl's access to HIV and sexual health services. - First National Indigenous Sistergirl Forum (PDF Download).
behaviour among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
gay men: comparisons with other gay men in Australia
(2006). - Anwernekenhe
4 Report (2006). - Indigenous
Health and Wellbeing: Culture, Context and Colonisation:
Practice within LGBTI Organisations (2010, Three
Presentations, Abstracts): 1. A health retreat for NSW
aboriginal gay men living with HIV: learnings and
discussion. 2. Reflection on contemporary and evolved
communications with aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
gay men and sistergirls in FNQ and beyond.. 3. NTAHC 2010
sistergirl retreat – MT Bundy.
Willis J (2003).
The Worst of All Possible Worlds: Gay Indigenous
Australians Living with HIV. Structural Inequality and
HIV/AIDS at the Global
and National Level Conference, Yale University, New
Haven, April 2003 (Citation).
Aboriginal Art Show 1st Gay theme aboriginal art
(2009). - Rainbow
Dreaming Aboriginal Art Show Spring Migration Gay Lesbian
Festival Theme (Video Reporting, Alternate
Link). - World History – Gay
/ Lesbian themed Aboriginal Art Show Yackandandah a huge
Charles is Bastardy: a 63-year-old homosexual
Aboriginal elder, award-winning actor, professional cat
burglar and former junkie. A child of the stolen generation,
Charles drifted into Melbourne's bohemian underground in the
early 60s, where he found the theatre, a lover, heroin and a
talent for cat burglary. Between long stints in jail he's
also maintained a successful acting career. - Bastardy
Policy & Procedures Manual For Services funded under
the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP)
N/A: "Indigenous (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander):
The National Indigenous Sexual Health Strategy (NIASHS)
states that sexual health includes the personal rights to
freedom from fear, shame, guilt and myths about choice of
sexuality and sexual relationships. Multiple risk factors
include the variety of identities, where the balance between
race, sexuality and gender identity is complex and may vary
over time. The term “Sistergirl” refers primarily to a
transgender male to female within the Indigenous
communities, an Eastern States term which is being used more
and more in WA. There are many Indigenous cultures partly or
fully accepting of people with DSG. Some of the specific
areas for Indigenous people with DSG are:
Fear of being “outed”, particularly in the rural communities. - Lack of confidentiality in service provision. - Community and social relations, where service users are related to service staff. - Absence of Aboriginal Medical Service’s (AMS) in rural areas. - Local AMS not equipped to deal with DSG issues, as well as HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STI) and other sexual health. - Alienation from Indigenous and non-indigenous health services for reasons of actual and perceived homophobia. - Lack of acceptance of DSG within Indigenous communities. It is sometimes seen as a ‘whitefella’ disease. - Lesbian women may hide their sexuality and even live in a heterosexual relationship. - Racism from the DSG community, as well as internalised. Internalisation of culture of violence. - Some research has identified adult male to youth male rape by men who have sex with men (MSM), but don’t identify as gay and often have wife and children. - Increased risk of HIV and other STI’s due to unprotected sex, either mutually agreed or sexual abuse/rape. This includes risk to wives by their MSM partners. - Opportunistic or commercial sex work for survival, financially and otherwise. - Injecting drug use, alcohol and other drug abuse. - Displacement from home and families due to perceived or real non-acceptance. - Dual identities, which can not always be harmoniously combined. - Difficulty in talking about sex, including safe sex. - Lack of positive role models. - Indigenous lesbian women are rarely visible and little is known about their particular issues. - Indigenous female to male transgender people are even less visible.There are many diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that are different in language, land and cultures. Each has different ways of talking about sex, sexuality and gender. Many say that their sexual identity decides what someone’s life will be like. For some people, who they live with and enjoy being with, defines who they are and their identity. For many Indigenous people these ideas don’t explain who they are, as they have a more holistic view of themselves and their relationships within their community or with other people. For many Indigenous people their DSG does not determine their role in the community. When they are born they are taught who to talk to and who their mob is, as well as their relationships to other people in the community. They are told who they can sleep with and who they can’t. This is also true for Indigenous people identifying with sexuality and/or gender diversity. Family relationships are very important for the acceptance in their community for people identifying with sexuality and gender diversity. Many will find these relationships too hard and un-accepting and will leave their community to live in bigger cities.
Excerpts related to GLB youth suicide issues being ignored by GLB communities: Why queer youth suicide tends to be marginalised as a political issue within lesbian/gay politics is due to a complex set of relationships. Partly, it results from the fact that suicide remains a relatively ‘taboo’ topic in many cultural formations even today (Battin 1995: 19-20). Where suicide is deemed to be not only a sin, an illness, a crime but also a failure, absenting it from public discourse results from lesbian/gay political imperatives to present a figure of the homosexual that is stable, sane, law-abiding and successful. Michael Warner makes the point that this has been common in much recent gay politics, most recently witnessed in the challenges against military rules banning homosexuals or discrimination within the Boy scouts movements: great pains are taken to find test cases in which the victim is a “model victim because he or she has never done anything wrong” (Warner 1999: 29). Warner’s point here can be expanded to suggest that it is not just sexually active citizens who are banned from portrayal as model test-cases, but young suicidal citizens whose suicidality can inadvertently be read to suggest that homosexuals are less-than-stable individuals, are mentally-ill or are in some other way defective—precisely as old stereotypes of the ‘sad young man’ (Dyer 1993: 22, 42, 73-92) or the unstable, monstrous lesbian (Creed 1995:87) indicated... Absenting the issue from public perception can be understood, then, as a non-conscious action to protect a positive image of non-heterosexual persons as stable, sane, happy and moral. That is, any identifiable social problem among a minority group is seized by those opposed to that group’s rights agenda, often recirculating negative stereotypes (Cover 2004). Heavy recreational drug use among gay men (Lewis & Ross 1995: 98), for example, has often been utilised in damning attacks by Christian conservatives on gay culture. Submerging issues such as the high rate of youth suicide, the high levels of same-sex domestic violence (Island & Lettelier 1991) or the degree of economic disparity among lesbians and gay men (Pharr 1997: 54-55) has been an important political tactic. However, while these arrangements and choices certainly contribute to the silence from lesbian/gay political activists on the topic, and while they stem from both lesbian/gay organisations and community media’s roles in political ‘agenda setting’ (Goddard 1996), the mechanisms by which lesbian/gay political organisations operate do not foreclose on the possibility to introduce topics, goals and plans for lobbying and other political activities within areas that might be unpopular or controversial. Understanding how and why a broad, globalising lesbian/gay culture itself has not taken the ‘necessary risk’ of more openly incorporating youth suicide into its array of cultural and political concerns involves the important reason that lesbian/gay lobby politics internationally is dominated by a liberal ‘civil rights’ approach that seeks legislative change and anti-discriminatory protections on the understanding that such reforms will invoke a trickle-down effect and alter the state of cultural marginalisation of lesbian/gay youth. It is more difficult to intervene directly in areas of discursive change that do not have at least a gestural structure for dialogue or intervention, as does the political lobbying arena. Such lobby politics has focused more recently on issues of same-sex marriage rights or civil union bills, and this has been the result of particular ideological perspectives that have dominated lesbian/gay politics since the mid-1980s (Cover 2004). Such liberal-democratic perspectives are arguably ‘middle class’, and ‘middle aged’, and rarely take into account factors that affect sexually diverse youth such as suicide, homelessness, a sense of cultural isolation or access to the necessary resources through which to forge identity. The funding and time of any broad-based rights movement is always finite, and some fields of intervention are inevitably ignored.
Excerpt: After two decades of queer theory, as the application of poststructuralist theory in the fields of gender and sexuality, we have a powerful set of tools for the investigation and understanding of the complexity, multiplicity and cultural constitution of sexual identity. These tools, however, are rarely used in contemporary discussions, academic literature, intervention strategies, policy and service provision for youth at risk of suicide and self-harm. Whether suicide is understood through mental health frameworks or through the relationship between the individual and sociality, it is never disconnected from the ways in which identity is constructed and performed in cultural contexts; this connection is even more pertinent in the case of sexuality which, unlike other axes of identity, involves particularly trajectories of becoming in a normalising framework, whether those be heteronormative or homonormative 'expectations'. Drawing on the insights of queer theory on the constructedness and multiplicity of sexuality, this paper seeks to provide a framework for future pragmatic ways in which sexuality-related risk factors in youth suicide can be addressed by opening the field of 'available discourses' of sexuality. It discusses some of the ways in which the constraint of sexuality under the regime of the hetero/homo binary can be understood as contributing to youth suicides. It is to see that, for an individual subject, felt sexual erotics that may fall outside the dominant discourses of sexuality and remain unrepresented poses a significant risk in a society which demands a particularly narrow set of sexual identities (hetero/homo) and subjective coherence, intelligibility and recognisability (Cover, "Queer Subjects of Suicide")...
Abstract: This article undertakes textual analysis to examine some of the ways in which knowledge around sexuality-related youth suicide and its causes are produced and made available through news media discourses and news-making processes. Four categories of sexuality-related suicide discourses were identified in news stories and features over the past 20 years: statistical research that makes non-heterosexuality implicit as a cause of suicide; stories about deviancy, guilt, and shame; suicide survivor stories; and bullying/harassment of non-heterosexual persons by individuals in schools and other institutions as suicide cause. Through processes of news production and meaning-making, use of expert opinions of primary definers, experiential accounts, reliance on citations of quantitative data, private accounts given as entertainment, and the newsworthiness of suicide as drama, public knowledge on queer youth suicide is guided by contemporary journalism. In all cases, the underlying relationship between heteronormativity, mental health, depression, and despair were frequently excluded in news journalism on queer youth suicide.
Cover, Rob (2012). Queer
Youth Suicide, Culture and Identity.
News Item: Same-sex
marriage not the answer: expert (2012)... Same-sex marriage and anti-bullying
policies will not prevent the high rate of suicide among
young gay people, according to a researcher at The
University of Western Australia... "Same-sex marriage can
increase the distinctions between queer people, making
some feel more alienated and unable to aspire to
happiness," Associate Professor Cover said. "It is not
where resources for improving the lives of queer youth
ought to be directed - more needs to be done around
bullying and representation." Associate Professor Cover's
research points out that marriage and relationships are
not the primary concerns of the small but important
minority of gay youth struggling with intolerable
emotional pain, bullying, identity issues or pressures
leading to mental health concerns... "Young queer people
are coming out much earlier and there is broader family
and community acceptance." Yet while life is significantly
better for many gay adults, Associate Professor Cover
argues that young gay people still seek suicide as an
escape from unbearable or unliveable lives. See Also: WA Prof queries role of legalising gay
marriage in reducing gay suicide (2012). Is
same-sex marriage an adequate response to queer youth
Cover, Rob (forthcoming). 'Sad, Sick & Alien Identities: Representing Queer Suicide in Popular Culture'. Sexualities.
GLB Suicidality Study Results: Australia & New Zealand
Suicide" Incidences/Risks: New Zealand &
Australian Homosexually Oriented Youth or Adults
% (n / N)
Odds Ratio (95% CI)
(16 / 56) vs.
7.4% (4 / 54)
Mean Age: 20.6 Years
53.2% Post=Secondary Students
OR: 5.0 (1.5, 16.1)
|Australia: Convenience Sample
Homosexual & Bisexual Males
From Sidney, Victoria and Brisbane.
Mean Age: 32.5, 20 to 60 Years
Attempted Suicide Incidence for All Homosexual/Bisexual Males: 25.2%
(23 / 111)
|New Zealand Volunteers:
52.3% European Ancestry
Age = 16 to 26 Years
Suicide Attempts verified via
descriptions of Suicide Attempt(s).
Some Study Related Information:
Fenaughty & Harre (2003)
(114 / 561)
|Volunteer: New Zealand
87.5% European Ancestry
Age Range: 19 to 66 Years
84.2%: Between 25 to 50 Years
First Attempted Suicide:
80.7% Before the Age of 25 Years
|Sidney, Australia, Mostly
Mean Age: 21.8 Years, 16 to 30 Years
|Sidney, Australia, Mostly
Mean Age: 21.3 Years, 16 to 30 Years
|Internet Sample: Queensland, Australia
Age Range: 14-20, Mean Age: 17
54% Male, 44.5% Female, 0.6% Gender Queer.
89% Urban. 72% Gay/Lesbian, 23% Bisexual. 50% in High School, 20% Working, 9% at University
|Internet Sample, Sidney, Australia, Same-Sex
Attracted M / F: 77% / 79.1% Anglo-Australian,
European. Study participants only
identified as male or female; all gender queer,
transgender, etc. were removed. Age Range: 18
to 25 Years, Mean: 21.49 years (SD = 2.24). More
|Lea et al.
|Same as Above: Lea (2011). Plus:
Cross-sectional 2010 online survey. Participants recruited over a 3-month period. Eligible participants were young adults aged 18–25 years who identified as same-sex attracted and lived or regularly spent time in Sydney. Participants were recruited via paid advertisements on Facebook (58%), e-mail lists of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations (27 %), and news items posted on LGBT websites (11%) and in the LGBT street press (4%).
|17 Bisexual Males
34 / 160
6 / 12
p = .034
Data from the VAHS Young People’s
Project (YPP) study, Only Round 1 (1997/1998) data collection - not Round 2 (2000/2001) - used in study. 172 Australian Aboriginal Kooris youth study participants from Melbourne, 43.6% male (75 / 172), Mean Age = 19 Years, SD = 4 Years, Age range 12 to 26.
N= 12 homosexual or bisexual youth.
Data/Results: generated from given data by webpage authors.
Questions: • Suicide ideation: In the last two weeks, have you had thoughts that you would be better off dead or hurting yourself in some way?
• Suicide attempt: Have you ever tried to kill yourself (attempt suicide)?
38 / 160
4 / 12
p = ns
|* M = Males - F = Females|
Incidences/Risks: New Zealand &
Australian Homosexually Oriented Youth or Adults
Random Study Samples
% (n / N)
Odds Ratio (95% CI)
et al. (2007)
N = 9,570
Also NOT Given
is Number of same-sex and
both-sex attracted individuals, that is somewhat equivalent to GLB
For all Males: 4.7%
For all Females:
For Having Attempted Suicide, Past Year, Non-Heterosexual vs. Heterosexual. with 20 Control Variable! "Non-heterosexual orientation was defined as being attract to the same sex (as oneself), both sexes, neither sex or not sure."
The Existence of the LeBrun et al (2004) Report - below - is not mentioned by Fleming et al. (2007)
GLB Results Estimates: Table Below.
|Le Brun et al. (2004)
N = 8,997
7.8% of Sample
92.2% of Sample
|Question Asked: "Which of the
following are you sexually attracted to…?"
Non-Heterosexual: Same-Sex (68, 0.75%), Both-Sex (277,
3.1%), Unsure (206, 2.3%), Neither (150, 1.7%)
9,570 - 8,997 = 573 - The Non-Responders to the "Sexually Attracted" Question = 6.0% of Sample
GLB Results Estimates: Table Below.
|Rossen et al. (2009)||Same-Sex
|The New Zealand 2007 National
Secondary School Youth Health Survey:
Additional Tabled Results.
|The New Zealand
2007 National Secondary School Youth Health Survey:
Additional Tabled Results.
|2001: 12.1% vs. 4.1%
|The New Zealand
2007 and 2012
National Secondary School Youth Health Survey:
Additional Tabled Results.
Attracted Only, Females
|Australian Bureau of
|[National] Survey of Mental
Health and Wellbeing, but information said to be from
an "additional analysis" by Queensland Association for
Healthy Communities (2010).
Additional Tabled Results.
|* M = Males - F = Females|
|"Attempted Suicide" Risks: Special
Homosexually vs. Heterosexually Oriented Adults
% (n / N)
Odds Ratio (95% CI)
(9 / 29)
(69 / 979)
|Christchurch, New Zealand:
Birth Cohort: At Age 21 Years
Attempted Suicide: Age 14 - 21 Years
OR = 6.2 (2.7, 14.3)
(9 / 53)
(26 / 427)
|Christchurch, New Zealand:
Birth Cohort: At Age 26 Years
Attempted Suicide: Lifetime
OR = 3.2 (1.4, 7.2)
(With Control Variables)
(15 / 119)
(32 / 343)
|Christchurch, New Zealand:
Birth Cohort: At Age 26 Years
Attempted Suicide: Lifetime
OR = 1.4 (0.7, 2.7) ns
(With Control Variables)
|Christchurch, New Zealand:
Birth Cohort: At Age 26 Years
Attempted Suicide From age 21-25 Years. See Below.
|Christchurch, New Zealand:
Birth Cohort: At Age 26 Years
Attempted Suicide From age 21-25 Years. See Table Below.
n = 801
n = 8,482
Past 6 Months
11.1 - 17.3%
|Australian ALSWH Cohort
Young Women in 2000
ORs: 4.3 to 8.0 (3 Control Variables)
ORs: 3.1 to 5.3 (6 Control variables)
Detailed Results: Table Below.
n = 261
n = 10,035
Past 6 Months
2.0 - 16.1%
|Australian ALSWH Cohort
Mid-Life Women in 2001
ORs: 2.3 to 24.3 (3 Control Variables)
ORs: 21. to 24.6 (6 Control variables)
Detailed Results: Table Below.
|* M = Males - F = Females -- ** RR = Risk Ratio, Estimated - "ns" = Not Statistically Significant|
|Christchurch, New Zealand: Birth Cohort:
At Age 26 Years
Attempted Suicide From Age 21 to 25 Years
by Sexual Orientation (Latent Class Determination)
Fergusson et al. (2005)
|Males, N = 469|
n = 439
||4.8%, n = 23
||1.5%, n = 7
|1.6%, n = 7
||0.0%, n = 0
||28.6%, n = 2
N = 498
n = 408
||14.2%, n = 70
||3.9%, n = 20
|1.6%, n = 7
||4.5%, n = 3
||10.0%, n = 2
Only the percentages - NOT the counts - are given by
study authors. Counts are Estimated from Percentages.
RRs & ORs are approximate estimates given the estimated counts used in calculations.
RR-1 & OR-1: Attempted Suicide: Predominantly Homosexual vs. Heterosexual
RR-2 & OR-2: Attempted Suicide: Predominantly Homosexual &Predominantly Heterosexual vs. Heterosexual
|Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s
Self-Harm & Attempted Suicide, Past 6 Months
Young & Mid-Life Women: McNair et al. (2005)
||% Self-Harm /
(3 Control variables)
(6 Control variables)
Women: 22 - 27 Years of Age in 2000
||2.7% (n = 222)
of Young Women Who Self-Harmed or Attempted Suicide who
are not 100% Heterosexual Women (8.5% of Young Women)
(96 / 318) 3
No Controls 4
Women: 50 - 55 Years of Age in
||Reference Category||Reference Category|
|Percent of Mid-Life Women Who Self-Harmed or Attempted Suicide who are not 100% Heterosexual Women (2.6% of Women)||10.5%
(9 / 86) 3
No Controls 4
|The New Zealand Youth
2000 National Secondary School Youth Health Survey
GLB / Non-Heterosexual Results Given & Estimated
Almost "Everything" About Same-Sex Attracted Youth & Suicidality Was NOT reported! Data Used for Estimates: Fleming et al. (2007) & Le Brun et al. (2004)
||22.9%. n = 156
(683 X 0.229 = 156) 1
n = 156
= n =
||98 / 336: 29.2%
n = 68 + 277 = 345
9 = 2.6%
||1,071 - 156 =
915 / 8,062 =
|98 / (345 - 9 =
|Depressed = 156 -
98 = 58
58 / (356 - 9 = 347)
% Attempting Suicide,
||15.3% (.153 X 701)
% Attempting Suicide,
(9,321 - 701 =
|15.3% (.153 X 701)
Approx. RR: 1.7<2.1<2.6
Approx. OR: 1.9<2.3<2.9
|(Suicide Attempter Count
Estimated % Attempting Suicide, Past Year
|620 / 8,620
of 107 = 67) 6
67 / 336 = 19.9%
Approx. RR: 2.2<2.8<3.5
Approx. OR: 2.4<3.2<4.2
of 107 = 40) 6
40 / 356 = 11.5%
Approx. RR: 1.1<1.6<2.1
Approx. OR: 1.2<1.6<2.3
|What Might the Results
be for Males????
||Would the OR &
be Higher for Males???
|Would the OR &
be Higher for Males???
1. Estimated by Web Page Author (PJT), percentage given. Assuming a 2.6% Non-Responder incidence. Therefore n = 701 - 18 = 683
|The New Zealand 2007 National Secondary
School Youth Health Survey
GLB / Non-Heterosexual Adolescents. Suicidality Results Below.
|All: n, %,
(95% Confidence Interval)
9,098 Males & Females
Non-Responders, Sexual Attraction:
1,096 / 9,098 = 12.05%
(91.4 - 92.9)
(3.7 - 4.8)
(3.0 - 4.2)
Suicide n, %
Non-Responders, Suicide Question:
Approx: 311 / 9,098 = 3.4%
|n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||413, 4.7%
(4.1 - 5.3)
N ~ = 8,787 *
Suicide, Required Medical Treatment.
||n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||114, 1.3%, (1.0 - 1.5)
114 / 413 = 26.7% of
N ~ = 8.769 *
Non-Responders, Sexual Attraction:
666 / 4,911 = 13.56%
(92.7 - 94.4)
(3.2 - 4.5)
(2.0 - 3.2)
53% of Sample
Attempted Suicide: n, %
|n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||138, 2.9%
(2.4 - 3.5)
N ~ = 4,758 *
|Males: Attempted Suicide,
Required Medical Treatment.
|n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||47, 1.0%, (0.7 - 1.3). 47 / 138
= 34.1% of Male
N ~ = 4,700 *
Attempted Suicide: n, %
|n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||4.4%
Attempted Suicide: n, %
|n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||2.4%
|Female: 4,187, 46.0%
Non-Responders, Sexual Attraction:
430 / 4,187 = 10.27%
(89.6 - 91.6)
(4.0 - 5.3)
3.9 - 5.5
47% of Sample
Attempted Suicide: n, %
|n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||275, 6.7%
(5.9 - 7.5)
N ~ = 4.104 *
|Females: Attempted Suicide,
Required Medical Treatment.
|n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||67, 1.6% (1.2 - 2.0). 67 / 275
= 24.36 of Female
N ~ = 4,187 *
Attempted Suicide: n, %
|n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||9.6%
Attempted Suicide: n, %
|n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||n, % ?||5.1%
|* Estimates From the Number as Related to
Percentage Given. E.G. 413 / 0.047 = 8,787.
But correct N could be from about 8,713 (413 / 0.0474) to 8.862 (413 / 0.0466)
Data Sources: Adolescent Health Research Group (2008) & Clark et al. (2008)
|The New Zealand Youth 2007 National
Secondary School Youth Health Survey
GLB / Non-Heterosexual Results Given & Estimated
depressive symptoms 1
about attempting suicide 1
|Plan to kill myself 1||30%
|Attempted Suicide 2||20%
|2001 Study: Attempted Suicide 3||22%
Data Source: Rossen et al. (2009)
1. Percentages Estimated From Bar Graphs - 2. Percentages Given
3. 2001 Study Percentages Given & Included for Comparison
4. Estimated From Incidences.
|The New Zealand Youth 2007
School Youth Health Survey: Random Survey
Attraction / ->
Males / Females
|n = 7212
|n = 70
3 OR: 1.9 (1.1–3.1)
|n = 261
OR: 3.7 (2.8–4.7)
|n = 136
OR: 2.1 (1.3–3.3)
|n = 3920
|n = 45
OR: 4.5 (2.3–8.7)
|n = 114)
OR: 5.8 (3.9–8.8)
|n = 55
OR: 0.9 (0.3–2.3)
|n = 3396
|n = 27
OR: 1.0 (0.4–2.7)
|n = 151
OR: 4.4 (3.2–6.0)
OR: 1.6 (0.8–2.9)
Males / Females
|n = 7313
|n = 72
OR: 4.8 (2.4–9.6)
|n = 265
OR: 7.0 (5.2–9.4)
|n = 142
OR: 2.4 (1.1–5.1)
|n = 7329
|n = 73
OR: 2.8 (1.8–4.4)
|n = 268
OR: 5.8 (4.4–7.6)
|n = 142
OR: 1.8 (1.1–2.7)
Data & Results Source: Lucassen et al. (2011)
1. All Risk behaviors are for "the last 12 months".
|New Zealand Adolescent
Surveys: 2001, 2007, 2012 1
Depression & Attempted Suicide Results
= SMY 3
|% SMY in
|Clinically significant depressive symptoms (RADS-SF ≥ 28) 2|
|40 / [40 + 240]
|178 / 3535
|44 / [44 + 238]
|220 / 4188
|Youth ’01 2
|44 / [44 + 299]
|252 / 4043
Suicide, Past Year
|Youth ’12||18 (10.3%)
|18 / [18 + 62]
|178 / 3535
|32 / [32 + 90]
|220 / 4188
|Youth ’01 2||31 (12.1%)
|31 / [31 + 154]
|252 / 4043
|Clinically significant depressive symptoms (RADS-SF ≥ 28) 2|
|Youth ’12||114 (38.6%)
|114 / [114 + 583]
|306 / 4284
|88 / [88 + 449]
|266 / 3668
|Youth ’01 2||81 (28.1%)
|81 / [81 + 623]
|300 / 4817
|Attempted Suicide, Past Year|
|Youth ’12||50 (16.3%)
|50 / [50 + 212]
|306 / 4284
|51 / [51 + 201]
|266 / 3668
|Youth ’01 2||63 (20.8%)
|63 / [63 + 434]
|300 / 4817
Data Source: Lucassen et al. (2014)
1. "Cross-sectional, self-administered questionnaires, carried out with representative samples of New Zealand secondary school students. The surveys were conducted in 2001 (Youth ’01), 2007 (Youth ’07) and 2012 (Youth ’12). The anonymous surveys were completed by students at school using multimedia, computer-assisted self-interviewing technology on laptop computers in 2001 and on Internet tablets in 2007 and 2012. Questions appeared in text and were read out loud via a voice-over; students could only hear the voice-over for their own survey on individual headphones." Note: Results for the following variables were not generated: "Seriously Considered Suicide" and "Deliberate Self-Harm.
|National Survey of Mental
Health and Wellbeing:
Australian Men & Women
had suicidal thoughts.
had suicidal plans.
Themselves In” 2010: An
Australian Online Survey
Trans-Spectrum & Same Sex Attracted Youth
Self-Harm & Suicidality Results
14 to 21
p < 0.01
|“Writing Themselves In” 2010: an
Australian online survey. 91 trans-spectrum youth: 43
their sex as “Gender Queer,” 21 as “Transgender f-m,” 18 as “Trans-gender m-f,” and 9 as “Other.” The 3,043 cisgender SSAY youth: 1,265 were males (vast majority described themselves as gay/homosexual), 1,766 females with identifications more evenly divided between bisexual and gay/homosexual).
p < 0.01
Internet Survey: 2014
106 / 243
Non-Random Sampling; Online Study Advertisements &
Snowballing for Australian Transgender Residents.
Sample: 87 Born Female. 168 Born Male. Mean Age: 38.15 years (SD = 13.56, range = 18–73). Participants were predominantly of Oceanic (60.9%) or European (33.3%) ethnicity.
|Attempted Suicide &
Australian Trans Men
% (n / N)
Risk Ratio, p
Odd Ratios, Specified
n = 230
79 / 222 =
150 / 222 =
|Australian trans men aged 16
years and over. Recruited via gender centres, gender
clinics, and government and non-government
organisations. Survey completed online. Age range =
16 to 64 years. Mean = 30.5 years.
|Data Source: de Bolger et al. (2014)|
de Bolger AdP, Jones T, Dunstan D, Lykins A (2014). Australian Trans Men: Development, Sexuality, and Mental Health. Australian Psychologist, 49(6): 395-402. Abstract.
Fenaughty JI (2000). Life
on the seesaw: an assessment of suicide risk and resiliency
for bisexual and gay male youth in Aotearoa / New Zealand.
Master's Thesis. Department of Psychology, University of
Auckland, New Zealand.
Fenaughty J, Harre N (2003).
Life on the seesaw: a qualitative study of suicide resiliency
factors for young gay men. Journal of Homosexuality,
45(1): 1-22. PubMed
Fergusson DM, Horwood LJ,
Beautrais AL (1999). Is sexual orientation related to
mental health problems and suicidality in young people? Archives
of General Psychiatry, 56(10): 876-80. PubMed
Jones T, Hillier L (2013). Comparing Trans-Spectrum and Same-sex-Attracted Youth in Australia: Increased Risks, Increased Activisms. Journal of LGBT Youth, 10(4): 287-307. Abstract.Kelly B, Raphael B, Judd F, Perdices M, Kernutt G, Burnett P, Dunne M, Burrows G (1998). Suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and HIV infection. Psychosomatics, 39(5), 405-15. PubMed Abstract. Full Text.
Lea T, de Wit J, Reynolds R (2014). Minority Stress in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young Adults in Australia: Associations with Psychological Distress, Suicidality, and Substance Use. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Online First. PubMed Abstract.Lea, Toby (2011). Sexuality, substance use and the scene: An analysis of “post-gay” in same-sex attracted young adults in Sydney, Australia. PhD Dissertation, National Centre in HIV Social Research, the University of New South Wales. Download Page. PDF Download: Whole. PDF Download: Front End.
Lucassen MF, Clark TC, Denny SJ, Fleming TM, Rossen FV, Sheridan J, Bullen P, Robinson EM (2014). What has changed from 2001 to 2012 for sexual minority youth in New Zealand? Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health, Online First. PubMed Abstract.Lucassen MF, Merry SN, Robinson EM, Denny S, Clark T, Ameratunga S, Crengle S, Rossen FV (2011). Sexual attraction, depression, self-harm, suicidality and help-seeking behaviour in New Zealand secondary school students. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 45(5): 376-83. PubMed Abstract. Full Text.
Nicholas J, Howard J (2001). Same-Sex Attracted Youth Suicide: Why are we still talking about it? Presented at the Suicide Prevention Australia National Conference, Sydney, April. The PowerPoint presentation was made available to the authors by John Howard. Study results also presented a 2006 Suicide Prevention Day Forum. PDF.
Thorpy et al. (2008). Open Doors Action Research Report 2008: There’s No Place Like Home: An Investigation into the Health and Housing of Queensland’s Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young People. Full Text .Welch S, Collings SC, Howden-Chapman P (2000). Lesbians in New Zealand: their mental health and satisfaction with mental health services. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 34(2): 256-63. PubMed Abstract.
|A Bit of
History: It would seem that the Sexuality
and Suicide Project got too bold, as in
attempting to implement a necessary anti-homophobia
program in a school. This part of their proposed
endeavor created an uproar leading to the fact that
the program did not receive any funds for 1999 and it
now does not have an Internet presence. It appears
like like Australia is having the status quo restored:
the most at risk gay and bisexual adolescents - the
30% who will be attempting suicide - will continue
to be "ignored to death". See the 1999 report: 'Here
for Life' Youth Sexuality Project. An overview of
some early results by Graham Brown
(Manager, Peer Education WA AIDS Council) accessed (PDF
Format N/A) (Archive
Copy) from Youth Suicide Prevention Bulletin
No.3 June 1999 N/A (Archive
"Good New" quoted from email by Graham Brown (Jan. 20, 2000):
Due to the State (and some National) policy changes the project was able to achieve, such as same sex attracted youth being listed as a priority group for suicide prevention strategies, we have been included in a State Wide Youth Counsellor Program. What this effectively means is that we have gained ongoing recurrent funding for a full time Peer Education / Youth Counsellor based at the Freedom Centre - the drop in centre and hub of GLBT Youth support programs in Western Australia. This is the first time in the Freedom Centre's history that we have stable financial support for the Centre!
The training programs for professionals (mainly teachers) is still continuing with some excellent results in schools.(Called "Clearing The Way") We have a LONG way to go in Western Australia before we can do comprehensive anti-homophobia programs, but the light feels like it has been turned back on.
Sometimes it certainly can take a while for policy changes to take effect, but this is a big lesson in not giving up! If you could link the Freedom Centre site to your site that would be fantastic! We are slowly improving our capacity with web sites and internet. ("Here for Life Youth Sexuality Report" available for download in PDF format.) By 2003, however, internet access to the report had become non-existent.
Youth suicide strategy evaluated (Sydney Star Observer, Issue 533) by By Sarah Bacon N/A (Archive Link, White font on white background. To see, use "Crtl + a"): "... the only project funded by the Strategy which dealt specifically with gay and lesbian youth suicide issues was the Here For Life Youth Sexuality Project (WA AIDS Council in conjunction with the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service) which received $250,000. Graham Brown, the health promotion officer on the Here For Life Project, says the project "went really well" considering the number of challenges - such as political battles and homophobic backlash - they had to overcome. (Obtained from a large listing of articles related to GLBT issues in Australia: - Article Index N/A.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Hidden in the Crowd: The Need for Documenting Links between Sexuality and Suicidal Behaviours among Young People, 2003 (PDF Download N/A - Archive Link) New Link, Download Page. - Related Items: Don't Ask, Don't Tell N/A: (Archive Link) " Same sex attracted (SSA) young people are not more prone to suicide or self harm than others in their age group simply because of their sexuality. - Gay and Lesbian Suicide (including youth suicide).
Rural suicide and same-sex attracted youth: issues, interventions and implications for rural counsellors... "Establishing an association between rural youth suicide and same-sex attraction: by KT Quinn (PDF Download N/A - New Link) (HTML Copy N/A - New Link) Rural and Remote Health 3 (online), 2003: no. 222. Abstract: "Recent research into same-sex attracted youth (SSAY) suicide and rural youth suicide suggests there may be an association between the two. A literature review explores this proposal. While contributing issues to rural SSAY suicide, such as homophobia, isolation, availability of information, and acknowledgement of issues are discussed, little hard evidence is found to support the the rural and SSAY suicide connection. Further and on-going research is recommended into this under-represented topic."
Closets of (Y)SAAP (PDF Download N/A Archive Link. New Link, Download Page): "The purpose of this report is to provide a realistic picture of young people with diverse sexuality and gender expression their needs and experiences in relation to accessing the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP). Closets of (Y)SAAP highlights the current strengths, gaps and limitations in service provision. This report will be used to promote awareness about and responsibility towards young people with diverse sexuality and gender expression. Furthermore this report is a lobbying tool to promote the need for a specific Youth SAAP (YSAAP) service to address the need of young people with diverse sexuality and gender expression. Furthermore to redefine current practices from an individual YSAAP service level through to a State and Federal government level..."
Australia's Valuing Young Lives: Evaluation of the National Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy is available online N/A. Archive Links: Australia's Valuing Young Lives: Evaluation of the National Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy (2000, As One PDF File)
|The original site which came online late in 1998 contained the word "suicide" in header pages, but the new site, as evaluated in October, 1999, had deleted the word, and the word "suicide" is not in the subject titles. When an explanation for this was requested, I was told that operating grants would be lost if GLB suicide problems were tackled in an up-front manner - which was apparently why the Sexuality and Suicide Project did not receive funds. I was then told that the associated ReachOut site (referenced below) does have a "suicide" subject section. A visit there for relevant information, however, sent me back to the "GettingReal" site (referenced above) where no such subject heading exists. If this site represents the best Australia has to offer with respect to "Getting Real" about effectively addressing GLB youth suicide issues, the maintenance of a maximum casualty status in the gay youth population will be maintained. Many 'forces' in Australia may have been collaborating to make this outcome possible. Yet: Forum told young gays more likely to suicide N/A (Aug. '99) (Archive Link).|
The site "Kids.Net.au" is part of the DMOZ Open Directory site. The site has a "Kids and Teens: Teen Life" section within which is a subsection on "Suicide" and one on "Teen Sexuality: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual: Gay-Straight Alliances, Resources.
A related article: - Better dead than gay? Depression, suicide ideation and attempt among a sample of gay and straight-identified males aged 18 to 24 by Jonathan Nicholas and John Howard, Youth Studies Australia, Vol.17(4), 1998, 28-33. (Must scroll to locate abstract. (Archive Copy) New Abstract Location.
Another Study: Young gay men and suicide: A report of a study exploring the reasons which young men give for suicide ideation by Ron MacDonald and Trudi Cooper, Youth Studies Australia, Vol.17(4), 1998, 23-27. (Must scroll to locate abstract N/A.) (Archive Copy) (Highlights) New Abstract Location.
Kelly B, Raphael B, Judd F, Perdices M, Kernutt G, Burnett P, Dunne M, Burrows G (1998). Suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and HIV infection. Psychosomatics, 39(5), 405-15. (A PubMed "abstract")
Highlights: The lifetime suicide attempt rate for HIV-positive males and HIV-negative males is 21% and 29%, respectively.
Note: In 1998, a Swiss study also reported elevated lifetime "suicide attempt" incidences for a similar sample of gay and bisexual males. See "europe.htm" page.
Australia's 1999 National Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy
"is supporting a number of innovative best practice programmes to trial new models of support for young people who have attempted suicide or who are otherwise assessed to be at ongoing risk." Projects funded include (among a number of listed items):
.....providing specialist supports to gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender young people.
"Reports regarding the outcomes of these projects will be developed and included in the final report of the national youth suicide prevention programmes. Training packages based on the outcomes of some of the projects will be developed and reviewed in the resource guide."
- Gay and lesbian young people's stories on the management of identity. Workshop by Mic Emslie, RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology), Victoria. (Abstract N/A) (Archive Copy) - Freedom Victoria Project: How we can promote the development of gay, lesbian and bisexual inclusive rural youth services. by Heather Stewart and Row Allen (Abstract N/A) (Archive Copy): Home Page.