Eight actual concerns that young LGBTIQ Australians have.

You probably saw the Daily Telegraph article today that implies being same-sex attracted is a health concern. An article that says “Young Aussies are to blame [for their own bad health]”. I really thought that it goes without saying that listing “same-sex attraction” as a “health concern” is not the done thing. But apparently not.

Don’t dismiss writing like this. Don’t let people play it off as an unnoticed mistake. This isn’t just “harmless rhetoric”. As a friend is fond of saying: “words mean things” and these words cut straight to the core of scared, self-loathing, vulnerable young people.

I’ve met tens of thousands of young Australians this year, and I wanted to share with you some more of their stories. These, and thousands of others, are the people being harmed by this discourse. Our voices get stronger the more we listen. So I hope that you’ll think about these stories, and consider the damage that is being done.

“We want to feel that our families are just as legitimate as everyone else’s and the fact that these laws exist that don’t give us the same rights is detrimental to not only those directly affected, but also to families who want those close to them to be respected by the government. But it isn’t just laws, every single day we are made to feel less than human for something we have no control over.” Jayde, 17, Victoria.

“The government needs to know that education and acceptance of the LGBTIQ community can help many people, and in delaying such actions many of us will, and do suffer.” Ethan, 17, VIC.

“I stay awake at night wondering if I’m going to be able to get through my day without being harassed for being myself.” Jake, 16, NT.

“The government repackaging cries for help into entitled youths having a whinge is cruel at worst and ignorant at best. The right to feel comfortable in our own skin and our own lives should not be considered exclusive to the select few who fit the government’s mould.” Liv, 23, NSW.

“Young people are impressionable, so a lack of recognition, representation, and empowerment of people in minority groups can be detrimental to communities. Mental health issues are extremely prevalent in the LGBTIQ community, and should be addressed more seriously in educational systems, like the school curriculum.” Jac, 16, NSW.

“LGBTI Australians have the highest suicide rate of any population in Australia, with a 14x higher suicide attempt rate amongst same-sex attracted people and up to 50% of trans Australians attempting suicide in their lifetime.

Perhaps I’m an idealist, but I believe in a future Australia where people from all orientations and gender identities are valued for who they are. I hope that one day, maybe following the coming out of a friend or family member, a conversation at a campaign event with a queer constituent, or perhaps even a letter that stood out from the pile, our leaders will believe in this Australia also.” Amos, 21, SA.

“You can’t take our sexuality out of school curriculums, tell us not to fly our flag, or tell us you’re uncomfortable to share a bathroom with us — without validating the people that harass us in the street for walking down the street holding hands, or being dressed how we feel comfortable. If LGBT pride offends your political sensibilities — you have to stop pretending that your objection is to our right to marry, rather than our right to share your public places.” Tim, 25, NSW.

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