In Australia, research has consistently shown that LGBTQIA+ people experience significantly higher than average rates of violence, harassment and bullying. According to a Human Rights Commission report, almost 75% of the 1500 respondents surveyed reported experiencing some type of bullying, harassment or violence on the basis of their SOGII (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex) status. And bullying can have serious consequences: LGBTQIA+ people over the age of 18 contemplate suicide at eighteen times the rate of heterosexual people. Bullying is often one of the main reasons, said Amit Paley, CEO of The Trevor Project, a crisis intervention and suicide prevention organisation for young LGBTQ people.
Mardi Gras, while widely celebrated across Australia, is not the only opportunity to celebrate queer culture and for allies to stand with the LGBTQIA+ community. Every day presents an opportunity to show LGBTQIA+ people that they are accepted, supported and valued.
Not sure of where to start? Here's how to be an ally and safely stop bullying when you see it.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact Lifeline (131 114) or Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636) for help and support. For immediate assistance, please call 000.