MP Warren Entsch calls for end to harassment of LGBTI young people
Liberal MP Warren Entsch, Chair of the Parliamentary Friendship Group of LGBTI Australians, addressed Parliament today on recent findings on the health and wellbeing of the nation's LGBTIQ young people.
Entsch has called for an end to harassment of LGBTIQ young people, after reading the recently released report, Growing Up Queer which identified the impact of bullying on LGBTI youth.
Growing Up Queer examines the mental health of young people who are growing up in today’s society as gender variant or sexually diverse.
More than 1000 people aged 16-27 participated in a national research study through the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, with partners the University of Western Sydney and Twenty10.
Entsch told Parliament the report “sent a pang of great sympathy and sadness through me”.
“Almost two-thirds of respondents reported homophobic or transphobic harassment or violence across different aspects of their lives, including in schools, families, the workplace, the streets and other public sites, such as sporting events,” he told Parliament.
“As a result, 16 per cent of the young people had attempted suicide and 33 per cent had harmed themselves.”
Entsch drew attention to the reports findings which suggested bullying and homophobia had a massive impact on the education of young LGBTI studnets whose experience of harassment and iolence often lead them to change schools or drop out altogther.
Most disturbingly, while peers were the most frequent source of homophobia and transphobia, it was the harassment by some teachers that had the most profound impact.
Enstch again called for the repeal of the exemptions given to private schools which currently allow them to discriminate against LGBTI students.
“I note that the report recommends that the current exemption of private schools from Anti-Discrimination legislation relating to sexuality needs to be repealed so that these young people have the same rights as their peers in government schools" said Entsch.
“It also clearly demonstrates the need for greater community education and training of educators, doctors and health professionals.”
Entsch invited all LGBTI-relevant organisations to register with his office to stay informed about the LGBTI Friendship Group’s activities during the 44th Parliament.