The Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) recently released the Voices of Hope: Growing Up in Queensland 2020 Report which captured the views of 8,000 children and young people from across Queensland. 24 per cent of respondents identified as LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex and/or asexual).
The report highlighted the bullying and harassment experienced by LGBTQIA young people as well as the perceived lack of acceptance by the general community.
QFCC Principal Commissioner Cheryl Vardon said the report is a temperature check of our young people, helping to guide organisations, decision-makers, and governments on what needs to be done to support LGBTQIA young people as they grow up.
“Hearing from 8,000 young Queenslanders about their hopes and dreams, big issues and what is most important to them is valuable and we need to ensure these voices are amplified to decision-makers,” Ms Vardon said.
“The report revealed perceptions of belonging differed vastly with only 42 per cent of LGBTQIA participants experiencing a sense of belonging compared to 64 per cent of other young people.
“We also heard how only 35 per cent of LGBTQIA respondents reported feeling accepted at social or community events and only 30 per cent felt accepted in public which is something we need to address as a society.”
Feelings of safety in the community differed substantially between participants who identified as LGBTQIA and other young people. Of the LGBTQIA youth survey participants, only half said they felt safe in their community compared to two-thirds of other participants.
Participants who identified as LGBTQIA were more likely than other participants to have experienced verbal, physical, social and online bullying. Of the LGBTQIA participants, 34 per cent had experienced online bullying, compared to only 21 per cent of other participants.
“LGBTQIA respondents were also more likely to express negative feelings about their future than other participants and no doubt this has an impact on the mental wellbeing of these young people,” Ms Vardon said.
“Our young people are passionate and thoughtful contributors to our society and policy and decision-makers should seek out young people’s voices and listen to their views. We will use the findings to inform our future work and to advocate on behalf of LGBTQIA young people.”
Hamish Bessant, Chair of the Queensland Public Sector LGBTIQ+ Steering Committee said that despite the progress made with marriage equality, young LGBTQIA Queenslanders still feel excluded and unsafe.
“Many young LGBTQIA Queenslanders have spoken about how there aren’t enough safe spaces for them in the community. It’s important for our community leaders to know that LGBTQIA people, particularly children and young people, have higher rates of mental health and suicide than the general population,” Mr Bessant said.
“We need to listen to what young people have asked of us and taken action on ensuring LGBTQIA young people can be themselves in the community without fear or stigma.”
To view a copy of the Voices of Hope: Growing Up in Queensland 2020 report, go here.