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Writing Themselves in 3: The Third National Study on the Sexual Health and Wellbeing of Same Sex Attracted and Gender Questioning Young People

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This is the third of the Writing Themselves In national reports which have been conducted six years apart since 1998. In 2010, a total of 3134 same sex attracted and gender questioning (SSAGQ) young people participated in Writing Themselves In 3 (WTi3), almost double the number in 2004 and more than four times that of 1998. The participants, who were aged between 14 and 21 years, came from all states and territories of Australia, from remote (2%), rural (18%) and urban (67%) areas and from a range of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. There were more young women (57%) than young men (41%) and a smaller group (3%) who were gender questioning (GQ). Findings cover statistics and qualitative information on health, mental health and wellbeing, education and social measures.
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... Participants believed that this can be achieved through integrating LGBTIQ+-related sexual and personal development education within school curriculum, as well as having more diverse representation of Indigenous LGBTIQ+ individuals within media and storytelling to exhibit their multifaceted lived experiences. LGBTIQ+ individuals' dissatisfaction with schools' provision of LGBTIQ+ knowledge, particularly, has been documented in previous research [6,41,42]. Schools often only provided a heteronormative perspective on sexual and sexuality education, which was mostly inappropriate and/or irrelevant for LGBTIQ+ experiences [41,42]. This notion of inappropriate school education was especially evident in Christian schools [42], reflecting the experience of one of the participants in the current study. ...
... LGBTIQ+ individuals' dissatisfaction with schools' provision of LGBTIQ+ knowledge, particularly, has been documented in previous research [6,41,42]. Schools often only provided a heteronormative perspective on sexual and sexuality education, which was mostly inappropriate and/or irrelevant for LGBTIQ+ experiences [41,42]. This notion of inappropriate school education was especially evident in Christian schools [42], reflecting the experience of one of the participants in the current study. ...
... This notion of inappropriate school education was especially evident in Christian schools [42], reflecting the experience of one of the participants in the current study. Unfortunately, schools have made little progress in developing appropriate information for LGBTIQ+ students [41], which emphasises the participants' expressed desire for education catered to LGBTIQ+ individuals, including Indigenous LGBTIQ+ youths. ...
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Access to adequate and appropriate service provision has a direct positive impact on health and wellbeing. Experiences of inaccessible, discriminatory, and culturally unsafe services and/or service providers are considered a root cause for the health inequalities that exist among Indigenous queer youth. Experiences of discrimination and cultural inappropriateness are commonplace, with Indigenous queer youth noting issues related to access to services and treatment, stereotyping, and a lack of quality in the care provided, which discourage Indigenous people from accessing care. This paper examines the perspectives of Indigenous LGBTIQ+ youth and health service providers to identify what challenges, obstacles and opportunities are currently being faced and what could be implemented to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for Indigenous LGBTIQ+ youth in the future.
... • Remove Schedule 2. Same sex attracted youth aged 14-21yrs in the Writing Themselves in surveys over time showed participants increasingly disclosed being same sex attracted to their doctors -from around a tenth in 1998 to around a third of 3,134 in 2010 (Hillier et al., 2010). The Understanding LGBTI+ Lives in Crisis survey of 472 LGBTIQ+ participants showed experiences of discrimination were widespread amongst the community (Waling et al., 2019). ...
... • Some same sex attracted youths' only source of information on safe sex was their health professionals or doctor. Health professionals are particularly encouraged to take sexual histories and also talk about future sexual possibilities in a non-judgemental manner with young people, when determining the information, referrals and reproductive advice they may need (Hillier et al., 2010). • How healthcare professionals respond to same sex attracted youths' identity disclosures matters. ...
... Same sex attracted youths' rates of suicide and self-harm when they have experienced physical abuse, are significantly lower if they received support about their identity disclosure to their doctors and especially their school nurses (the rates of suicide attempts were over 70% with rejection from the school nurse, and just above 40% with the school nurse's support, Hillier et al., 2010, p.76). • Rurality increased the risk of already high negative mental health outcomes for same sex attracted youth, likely due to the lack of supportive communities and services -37% of rural participants had self-harmed compared to 28% in urban areas and nearly a quarter of rural participants had attempted suicide compared to 15 per cent in urban areas (Hillier et al., 2010;Jones, 2015a). Transgender people are significantly discriminated against in Australian healthcare already, without adding new legal allowance for health professionals to forego their healthcare service duties to the group. ...
... 5 Among young lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people, multiple Australian studies with large sample sizes have shown higher rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts than the general Australian population. [6][7][8] Although there are no representative national samples of lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, queer, asexual, or other non-heterosexual identifying youth (henceforth referred to as LGBQA+ youth) in Australia, in a 2016 study, a representative sample of Australian adults (18 years and older) showed that gay men and bisexual women reported higher odds of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts than their heterosexual counterparts. 9 Advances in the legal environment in Australia over the past decade have ensured greater equity, inclusion, and protection from discrimination for LGBQA+ people in everyday social life. ...
... [10][11][12][13] Despite this, contemporary Australian research continues to document ongoing experiences of sexuality-based discrimination, harassment and violence, psychological distress, mental health difficulties, homelessness, and substance use among LGBQA+ youth and adults. 6,[14][15][16][17] However, research examining the factors associated with suicidal ideation or suicide attempts among LGBQA+ youth in Australia is limited. In particular, little is known about the relationship between sexual identities and experiences of suicidal ideation or suicide attempts. ...
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Purpose: This article examines factors associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in the past 12 months among lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, queer, asexual, or other non-heterosexual identifying youth (LGBQA+). Methods: A national Australian cross-sectional online survey was conducted involving 4370 cisgender LGBQA+ participants aged 14-21 years from September to October 2019. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to examine significant factors associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in the past 12 months. Research ethics approval for the WTI4 study was granted by the La Trobe University Human Research Ethics Committee and the ACON Research Ethics Review Committee. Results: Overall, 56.4% of participants reported suicidal ideation and 8.9% a suicide attempt in the past 12 months. Multivariable regression results show that participants aged younger than 18 years, lesbian (compared with gay) identifying, those living in rural or remote locations (compared with inner city), those reporting any verbal, physical, or sexual harassment or assault based on sexual orientation or gender identity, or who had a religious family or household, or had experienced conversion practices in the past 12 months reported higher levels of suicidal ideation or suicide attempts. Those who reported feeling part of their school reported lower levels of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Conclusion: High levels of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among young LGBQA+ people in Australia highlight a need for the ongoing inclusion of LGBQA+ youth as a priority population for suicide prevention. The findings illustrate key factors associated with a greater risk of suicidality among young LGBQA+ people. These findings can be used to inform the provision of tailored support services, including culturally safe suicide prevention programs and efforts to address stigma, discrimination, and conversion practices.
... The area of cyberbullying has been growing rapidly over the past two decades, particularly as it pertains to diverse and marginal youth groups (Hillier et al., 2010;Ranney et al., 2020;Smith et al., 2014). However, there still is disagreement in the literature regarding the definition of cyberbullying, and a lack of studies on what diverse youth groups themselves consider the term to cover (Menesini et al., 2012;Menesini and Nocentini, 2009). ...
... The importance of including these young people -apart from the importance of ensuring the wider applicability of these findings -is that there is evidence that these young people experience cyberbullying in a different way to their heterosexual, cisgender and White counterparts. Specifically, LGBTQIA+ have been shown to experience higher levels of cybervictimisation than their heterosexual/cisgender peers (Abreu and Kenny, 2018;Hillier et al., 2010;Smith et al., 2014;UNESCO, 2016) and are also more likely to experience other forms of online aggression, such as sexually charged bullying (Ballard and Welch, 2017). Among culturally diverse young people, there is mixed evidence regarding how frequently they experience cyberbullying compared to their Caucasian counterparts, with some studies finding no differences between groups, others finding increased levels among ethnic minorities and others finding increased levels among Caucasian groups (Kowalski et al., 2019;Ranney et al., 2020). ...
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... Physical, psychological and DNA tests/ buccal smears were common. The group were also occasionally subsumed within critical studies of LGBTI people or 'transgender and/ or intersex' groups with only varying levels of representation (Hillier et al., 2010;Jones, del Pozo de Bolger, Dunne, Lykins, & Hawkes, 2015;Smith et al., 2014). ...
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... Acronyms can also incorporate fluid and emergent self-coding. In the Writing Themselves In study (Hillier et al., 2010) 'gender-questioning' is used in their acronym 'SSAGQ' (same-sex attracted and gender questioning) which signals to respondents that gender can be an evolving process that is not easy to lock into finite categories. ...
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Accurate data collection from LGBTIQ+ communities is crucial for public health research and the provision of equitable services. Emergent fluid, multiple, trans and non-binary gender identities complicate data collection in ways that make an excellent case-study for rethinking the categorization of such data. In this article, we explore some of the obstacles to collecting data from trans, gender-diverse and non-binary (TGD) communities, and the difficulties in synthesizing meaning about fluid or multiple identity categories. We review a selection of international surveys from the last 10 years and then present a case-study of data collection in an Australian mixed-methods study of LGBTQ+ young people’s uses of social media. In doing so we draw upon trans and gender diverse people’s lived experiences to reinterpret our survey dataset in which responses that ‘refused categorisation’ were initially removed. We argue that theorizing the ‘social life of data’ – that is analysing the disciplinary orientation and purpose of research, while also acknowledging the moment and site of data collection, the methods used, and the mutable meanings in play – better accounts for the lived experiences of gender beyond binary and static identities.
... Hate against the LGBTIQ+ community is also well documented in Australia, mainly using terms such as homophobia and transphobia (Flood and Hamilton, 2005). Victimisation surveys among LGBTIQ+ people in Australia indicate that between 75 per cent and 90 per cent of respondents have experienced hate due to their sexuality or gender identity, commonly in the forms of harassment, bullying and abuse (Leonard et al., 2008;AHRC, 2015;Hillier et al., 2010). Although less prominent in public discourse, other groups, including women, people with disability, people experiencing homelessness, or the elderly, are well-documented targets of hatred (D'Souza et al., 2018;Oakley and Bletsas, 2018;Johnson and West, 2020;Lichtenstein, 2021). ...
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Responses to hate crimes, hate incidents and hate speech are characterised by an exceptional fragmentation in terminology and lack of coordination among governmental and non-governmental organisations. This article proposes a new conceptual framework to map the diversity of responses to hate crime, hate incidents and hate speech, with the aim of assessing gaps and needs in this important policy area. Using Australia as a case study, we create and analyse a database of 222 organisations running activities focusing on tackling hate against different target groups. The results highlight an uneven distribution of efforts across different geographical areas, types of activities and target groups. The majority of anti-hate efforts, especially by government organisations, focus on awareness raising and education rather than victim support and data collection. Racial and religious hate are the main foci of anti-hate efforts, compared to other forms of hate, such as anti-LGBTIQ+ and disablist hate.
... An increasing amount of Australian (Carlton et al. 2016;Hillier et al. 2010;Leonard et al. 2012;Pitts et al. 2006; Robinson et al. 2014). This existing research has been used to inform policy as backgrounds (Ward 2017); potential services to support LGBTIQ+ immigrants (Poljski 2011); reconciling religious beliefs with sexuality (Wong 2017); and diversity within ...
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MEDIA RELEASE/Abstract In Safe Spaces, Many Multicultural and Multifaith LGBTIQ+ People Don’t Feel Safe At All Latest research in the Navigating Intersectionality report has found that many multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ+ people experience violence in the very communities we’re meant to feel welcome in. The Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council (AGMC) has released a new research report, Navigating Intersectionality, that looks at forms of violence experienced by multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ+ communities. A key finding of the report is racism is the primary form of violence experienced by multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ+ people, and that covert racism has replaced overt racism across all settings. “The ground-breaking research was funded by the Victorian Government to inform strategies that combat the intersections between racism, queerphobia, faith-based discrimination and other forms of violence, stigma and prejudices such as ageism and ableism”, says AGMC President, Mx Giancarlo de Vera. “We wanted to conduct research that could map how and where LGBTIQ+ people from multicultural and multifaith communities experience discrimination. That’s why the report investigates across all major settings such as cultural, religious, higher education, healthcare, workplace and media settings and sites”, says Principal Researcher, Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli. “We also ensured our research used an intersectional framework that builds on the various ways that multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ+ people navigate, build resilience, and affirm their intersectional identities,” adds Dr Pallotta-Chiarolli. “Whilst overt racism was not widely reported, covert and subtle forms of racism continue to be experienced by members of multicultural and multifaith communities”, says Dr Judy Tang, a Co-Researcher and a Victorian Multicultural Commissioner. “Many participants reported microaggression and feeling unsafe in LGBTIQ+ spaces and events, while those who attended cultural and faith-based spaces felt that their LGBTIQ+ identities were not fully embraced”, she added. The research also found that the majority of respondents did not report incidences of racism, queerphobia, and other forms of discrimination through official channels. “The fact that LGBTIQ+ people from multicultural and multifaith communities don’t feel safe, or don’t believe reporting incidences of violence will result in change, highlights just how embedded the problem is”, says Mx de Vera. Co-Researcher and community advocate, Budi Sudarto, explains, “Unfortunately, many members of our communities don’t report. The emotional labour involved to relive trauma is a huge barrier, with many people in our communities expecting complaints to not be taken seriously. As a result, systems continue to privilege Whiteness and/or heterosexism and/or cisgenderism, leaving multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ+ remaining excluded and feeling unsafe.” “We need systemic change to address the lack of safety and inclusion for multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ people” says Mx de Vera. “The lack of reporting highlights how embedded the problem is, with the problem remaining invisible to duty holders such as event managers, police, community organisations, universities and employers, who are responsible for ensuring multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ+ people feel safe”, Mx de Vera adds. “This is a crucial finding and tells us that people remove themselves from unsafe spaces, instead of spaces creating necessary change that leads to security, support and belonging. And so the cycle of violence continues,” says Dr Pallotta-Chiarolli. “We need a circuit-breaker, and so we hope the recommendations and key findings from this report are used to inform policies, procedures, resources and indeed future research across all settings,” says Mx de Vera. The research also analysed trolling and the emotionally laborious task performed by the research team of removing negative comments to avoid retraumatising the respondents and in analysing the data, and turning expressions of hatred into a research opportunity to further strengthen the development of anti-racism and anti-discrimination strategies and practices. Navigating Intersectionality also promotes the concept of positive intersectionality to highlight the strength and resilience of communities to embrace their multiple identities and keep themselves safe across different settings. “This is significant to ensure that strategies are designed in collaboration with multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ+ people, to focus on strengths so changes are impactful and sustainable”, says Dr Pallotta-Chiarolli.
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