Media Release - International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT): Creating a Culture of Inclusivity
MEDIA RELEASE - May 17th 2019
In celebration of diversity and raising the awareness of the negative effects of marginalisation and discrimination, this IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia) day headspace Mildura take some time to speak out about the T in LGBTQIA+; Transgender.
The physical features you were born with (sex assigned at birth) don’t necessarily define your gender; gender is now more widely recognised beyond either ‘male’ or ‘female’. People who identify as the gender they are assigned with at birth are referred to as cisgender people. Transgender people, also known as trans people, are people whose inner sense of gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth. People assigned male at birth and identify female are transwomen, and people assigned female and identify as male are transmen. There are also non-binary people who don’t identify themselves as male or female.
Young people who are gender diverse or do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth live fulfilling lives, studying, working and engaging in interests and hobbies. Finley Hopley-Willcock, LGBTQIA+ Project Officer of headspace Mildura, says “if you have been living in or around Mildura for more than 6 months chances are you have already met a transgender person and haven’t even noticed”. Despite this, headspace identifies that transphobic discrimination (being treated differently or excluded because of your gender identity) does still exist. This – along with a lack of understanding or acceptance – can contribute to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, self harm and suicide. Research indicates that one in two trans people will attempt suicide in their life and 79.7% of trans people have self-harmed.
Finley reports “it’s difficulties with disclosure and community attitudes, not gender identity itself, that can affect someone’s sense of wellbeing”. “It can also make it hard to ask for help when problems arise”. headspace identifies some common experiences that can affect your wellbeing and increase your vulnerability to developing mental health difficulties including:
- o feeling ‘different’ from other people around you
- o transphobic bullying about your gender identity, whether verbal, physical or online
- o feeling pressure to define or deny your feelings regarding your gender identity
- o feeling unsupported or worried that your gender identity will not be accepted by friends and family members, along with the possibility of being rejected or isolated
- o feeling stressed and anxious in relation to the pressure to conform with your sex assigned at birth.
Finley urges “as a community, it’s important that we let go of stereotypes and prejudices and rather think about what we all have in common - the need to be honest to ourselves and the want to be accepted by our family, peers and community”.
There are many young people exploring and questioning their gender identity; if you would like to talk through any questions or concerns about your gender identity or are finding it hard to cope and your social, work or school life are being affected, headspace Mildura is a safe and inclusive space for trans and gender diverse young people. headspace Mildura offers inclusive counselling services and peer mentoring for young people who would like more information on LGBTQIA+ identities and community and also offers Alphabet Soup, an LGBTQIA+ support group for young people aged 12-25 that meets fortnightly, and a Parents and Friends of LGBTQIA+ Group that meets monthly. headspace Mildura Centre Manager Teresa Cavallo says “our aim is to help create a culture of inclusivity where everyone feels safe and can be themselves”.
You can seek support at headspace through face-to-face, online or telephone services. You can also find a number of online resources and factsheets at headspace.org.au. For immediate help we recommend you contact 000 if it is an emergency. Alternatively, crisis support services are available including:
- o Lifeline: 13 11 14
- o Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
- o Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
Strauss, P., Cook, A., Winter, S., Watson, V., Wright Toussaint, D., Lin, A. (2017). Trans Pathways: the mental health experiences and care pathways of trans young people. Summary of results. Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, Australia. Retrieved from https://www.telethonkids.org.au/globalassets/media/documents/brain--behaviour/trans-pathways_plain-text_no-figures.pdf