Creating safe spaces is our priority
Image: Isobelle Strickland, headspace Bathurst Community Engagement Officer and Abbie, member of headspace Bathurst's LGBTIQA+ social group Skittles
75% of LGBTIQA+ youth in Australia still experience homophobic abuse, resulting in significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm, with these experiences being significantly worse for young people in regional and rural areas of Australia.
A recent report by Queer Out Here interviewed young people in regional and rural areas of Australia and found that country LGBTQIA+ youth face less acceptance within the communities, isolation and lack of education around different sexualities.
Abbie, a member of headspace Bathurst’s LGBTQIA+ group said growing up she didn’t know much about same sex attracted and gender diverse people, because she wasn’t educated.
“I grew up in a really small town that was all straight people – you had to be straight. It wasn’t until I was 14 or 15 that I actually found out about the queer community. I thought it was frowned upon until then,” Abbie said.
When Abbie came out as queer, even though her teacher at school knew, there was no additional information given for women who were attracted to women during sex education at school.
Isobelle Strickland, headspace Bathurst Community Engagement Officer, says society has made small steps in creating inclusive spaces but there is still much further to go.
“About 88% of LGBTIQA+ youth believe there is not adequate support for them in their region.
May 17 – International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) – is an important day to show the LGBTQIA+ community that we’re here, we care, and that they’re important.
Showing your support can be as simple as displaying rainbow flags in your window. Or you may want to take further steps by partaking in training with your staff to ensure everyone feels safe and supported when they visit your business,” Ms Strickland said.
For more information about headspace Bathurst visit https://headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/bathurst/ or follow them on Facebook.
headspace Bathurst operates through lead agency Marathon Health, and is supported by funding from Western NSW Primary Health Network through the Australian Government’s PHN Program.