May 17 is IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia or Intersexism and Transphobia), marking the anniversary of the World Health Organisation removing homosexuality from the ‘Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems’ in 1990.
Sadly, individuals who are diverse in their gender and/or sexuality experience disproportionately inflated rates of suicide and deliberate self-harm. These health outcomes occur as a direct result of the ongoing impact of heteronormativity, stigma, discrimination, prejudice, and abuse.
Some quick figures:
- 22.5% of YF staff identified as diverse in their sexuality, in the 2022 YF Staff Survey
- 68% of LGBTQIA+ employees in Australia are not ‘out’ to everyone at work
- 35% of LGBTQIA+ Australians have experienced verbal abuse in the past 12 months
- LGBTQIA+ young people are at significantly higher risk of suicide than their peers who are cisgender and heterosexual, primarily due to continued stigma, rejection, and discrimination
As an organisation, we are committed to creating safe and inclusive spaces for young people and colleagues. We live by our values by being deeply committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination. Not only do we celebrate this milestone and other advancements of LGBTIQA+ equality, but we raise awareness that there is still more work to be done!
Ongoing work at Youth Focus includes:
- Recognising that language matters and ensuring that we are guided by an individual’s identity, rather than making assumptions or imposing heteronormative labels; such as asking what pronouns a person uses, and using gender-neutral language in forms and in-person.
- Continuing to educate ourselves on the significant impact prejudice and discrimination has on the mental health of LGBTQIA+ people, and reflecting on how we can do better.
- Supporting staff to access professional development opportunities so they can feel knowledgeable and confident when supporting LGBTQIA+ people.
- Providing access to LGBTQIA+ focused resources and services, such as QLife, Minus18, SHQ,
- Supporting opportunities for staff and young people to connect to LGBTQIA + culture and community, through social groups, community engagement and recognising LGBTQIA+ days of significance, like Pride!
- Creating a safe environment through signals of safety such as: pride flags, inclusion statements, use of pronouns in introductions and emails.
- Supporting staff who identify as LGBTQIA+ to feel safe and supported.
- Having an intersectional approach to inclusion and recognising that a person’s identity and experiences can be informed by many different, overlapping parts that includes, but is not limited to their sexuality and gender.
- Providing regular opportunities for voluntary and anonymous feedback.
Across Western Australia, our Youth Focus and headspace centres will be uniting on May 17 to celebrate and raise awareness of IDAHOBIT.
At headspace Midland, you’ll find the Our Place team in their brightest colours on May 17, as they come together for discussions, a group art project, badge making, face painting, afternoon snacks and a keynote presentation.
At Youth Focus Burswood, the team is coming together to watch the IDAHOBIT keynote presentation, make themed badges, share lunch, and chat.
IDAHOIT is a day to stand together, be visible and celebrate. Youth Focus is proudly in support of IDAHOBIT.
Some useful organisations to know about:
Living Proud: https://www.livingproud.org.au/
Pride WA: https://www.pridewa.com.au/
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia: https://www.lgbtiqhealth.org.au/about
Freedom Centre: https://www.freedom.org.au/
WA Aids Council (WAAC): https://www.waac.com.au/idahobit/
Transfolk of WA: https://www.transfolkofwa.org/
Transcend Australia: https://transcend.org.au/
Black Rainbow: https://blackrainbow.org.au/
First Peoples Rainbow Mob WA: https://www.fprmwa.com.au/
Walkern Katatdjin (Rainbow Knowledge) https://www.rainbowknowledge.org/