Categories
Gender/ sexuality

Katherine Deves proves that anti – trans activist have no legitimate argument

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Last week, Warringah Liberal candidate, Katherine Deves caused outrage over past anti – trans comments.

In tweets that are now deleted, Deves compared trans activists to Nazis and the opponents of ‘trans ideology’ as being opponents of the Holocaust.

She also spread fears of parents of transgender children being at risk of creating a ‘Stolen Generation’. I think she might’ve been alluding to Vancouver father, Rob Hoogland.

And then there was allegedly this tweet:

…half of all males with trans identities are sex offenders

From an allegedly deleted tweet from Katherine Deves

Since these revelations, Deves apologised and claimed she received death and rape threats. This is reprehensible and shame on anyone who takes part in that behaviour.

Was the tweet about prisoners? Liberal senator, Matt Kean argued with 2GB’s Ben Fordham on whether or not Deves specifically was alluding to prisoners or transwomen in general. I think Kean took a step too far accusing Deves of comparing transgender children to sex offenders.

Despite pressure, Prime Minister, Scott Morrison refused to ban Deves and has defended her right to free speech. However, Mr Morrison has also backpedaled any plans to ban transwomen competing against cis – gender women.

Deves’ comments not a surprise

It was only a matter of time that someone made comments like Deves.

Since same – sex marriage was acheived in 2017, trans and non – binary people have been the new bogey people.

All of a sudden, trans and gender non – binary people are predators, brainwashing children, etc.

Trans debate: just history repeating itself

Does this sound familiar? It should to LGBTQ+ Australians. During the same – sex marriage debate, LGB+ people were frequently accused of brainwashing children.

The Safe Schools curriculum was falsely portrayed as teaching young children about sex toys and masturbation.

Same – sex parents were often seen as detrimental to children’s welfare, despite the lack of peer reviewed studies that supported the claim.

I believe that this debate is largely another attempt to demonise a minority. And, just with the same – sex marriage debate, opponents of trans and non – binary acceptance prove that they lack a strong argument. This is proven by Deves’ hyperbole.

The language in the debate

From WordPress Free Images

Is it just me? Has anyone else noticed the language used in the gender debate? Notice that the term ‘transwomen’ is rarely used by critics? It’s always ‘biological men’ or that someone was ‘born male’.

No discussion about transition. I wrote about Royal Children’s Hospital’s stance on children and transitioning and steps often taken in my last post.

There has been a lack of discussion on the effect of hormone therapy on trans people. Why have these factors been largely ignored in the debate?

Look, I could meet Deves half way if she said that transwomen athletes should have a certain amount of transition before competing against cis – gender women. I also think everyone should be protected from predators, regardless of the gender identities of perpetrators or victims.

However, I don’t think this is what this debate is about. This is about looking for another pariah. Another minority group to spread fear and lies about.

The cat’s out of the bag now. It just took Deves to go one step too far to expose it.

What do you think about Katherine Deves’ comments? What do you think about transwomen sport? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Gender/ sexuality

The fear – mongerimg about trans and non – binary people has no basis

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The Trans Day of Visibility was on the 31 March. The day aims to acknowledge the achievements of trans and non – binary people. It also highlights the discrimination trans and non – binary people still face.

Transgender and gender diverse people are the hot topic of the day. Unfortunately, ‘issues’ like Lia Thompson winning in swimming take up a lot of time on social media, media and for policy makers.

So does children transitioning. This is despite Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital stating that gender affirming treatment is done in two stages.

Stage one takes part under the age of sixteen. This includes social transitioning, affirmation and, yes, puberty blockers. These parts of transition are usually reversible.

Stage two of gender affirming treatment only takes place when is a child is sixteen or older. This stage includes hormone treatments and surgery. At this stage, treatment is largely irreversible.

No one is ‘turned’ trans

Commissioner for LGBTQ communities, Todd Fernando, emphatically denies that anyone is ‘turned trans’ due to affirmation of trans and gender diverse identities.

He wrote in The Age that the existence and bodily autonomy is “not up for debate”.

Gender affirmation can save lives

Let’s cut to the chase. Affirming trans people’s identities can save lives. Fernando linked a number of studies that suggested that gender affirmation, including puberty blockers are life saving to many trans and gender diverse youth.

Young trans and gender diverse people who undergo gender affirming hormone therapy and puberty blockers are less likely to experience depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

Psychology magazine, Psychology Today reinforced this belief. After reviewing sixteen studies Jack Tarbi MD concluded:

…the body of research indicates that these interventions result in favourable mental health outcomes.

Jack Tarbin MD MHS, Psychology Today, January 24 2022

In contrast, non – affirming actions can end in disaster. This is why there has been such a strong push to ban so – called ‘conversion therapy’, including against trans and gender – diverse people in Australia.

Fear mongering about trans and gender non – binary people is (recent) history repeating itself

LGBT rainbow Pride flag
Image: iStock

I’m not trying to be disrespectful. And I’m not trying to play the No True Scotsman card.

However, I’m sceptical of the stances of some LGBTQ+ people. It’s strange to me, for example, that a transwoman would want to ‘debate’ people like Ben Shapiro or Steven Crowder on whether they should be referred by their preferred pronouns.

I mean YouTuber and transwoman Blaire White debated what people should refer to her as ‘she’.

Remember the fear – mongering over Safe Schools teaching young children about sex – toys? How gays and lesbians were accused of ‘indoctrinating’ children? And don’t get me started on the slippery – slope arguments against same – sex marriage.

My point is, the fear – mongering over trans and gender non – binary people is history repeating itself. Children are being used as pawns (again) and it seems most arguments are just misinformation. Again.

I think the evidence is clear. Falsely demonising trans and gender non – binary people does harm. If we really care about children, we have to accept them for who they are. Including if their trans or non – binary.

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Gender/ sexuality

Bisexual people still stigmatised when it comes to dating

Bisexual pride flag (from top): pink, purple and blue
Image: iStock

I know it’s nearly over, but I thought I would do this post in part because it’s Pride Month.

Writer and social worker, Deidre Fidge posted and article on ABC Everyday lamenting the stigma bisexual people still face.

According to the Australia Talks survey, 44% of nearly 60,000 respondents claimed they weren’t open to dating someone who’s bisexual. A further 15% claimed they were reluctant.

While you can’t control who you are (or aren’t) attracted to, this figure is quite alarming. And it does raise questions:

  • Do people automatically assume that people attracted to more than one gender will cheat?
  • Is there still stigma surrounding sexual history?
  • What sexual history do people assume bi/ poly/ pan people have?

Why LGBTQ+ people should stand by bisexual people

I believe that much of biphobia boils down to one pet peeve of mine: they’re reduced to what they ‘do’.

These stereotypes take away the humanity of LGBTQ+ people.

Sexual stereotypes that fuelled opposition to same – sex marriage for years.

That caused commentators to fear – monger about same – sex marriage leading to polygamy.

People assumed that same – sex couples can’t raise healthy children despite numerous studies saying otherwise. 

For years, asexual people have been told they’re broken or that asexuality doesn’t exist.

Transgender and non – binary people have become the new target. Basic reason? Because of people’s obsession of othering minorities and reducing them to what’s between their legs.

What’s disappointing is seeing and hearing other LGBTQ+ people go on the attack. Often, LGBTQ+ content creators and media personalities willingly throw other LGBTQ+ under the bus. Can we just make it stop?

Other issues bisexual people face

Statistically, bisexual people make up the biggest percentage of people that are LGBTQ+.

Bisexual people can experience hostility from both gay and straight people. Often, their orientation is not taken seriously. They are often pressured to ‘pick a side’. Bi women are assumed to be straight, but ‘experimenting’. Meanwhile, bi men are considered gay.

As a result of erasure and discrimination, bisexual people often experience loneliness, depression and suicidality.

Despite increase in gay and lesbian acceptance in the West, the same can’t be said for bisexual people. According to a study by Associate Professor, Brian Dodge. He told Washington Post that attitudes towards bisexuals have only improved slightly since the 1990’s.

But, won’t bisexual partners cheat?

People, regardless of gender identity or orientation can cheat.

There are a number of resons why a person may chest n a spouse or partner. They include: unmet needs, low self – esteem and the need for revenge.

Opportunity can be a risk factor. However, other factors listed above are usually at play.

So, can we put the idea that just because someone is bisexual or pansexual that they’re more likely to cheat to rest?

If you’re in Australia and this post has raised any issues, you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636, or chat online.

QLife: 1800 184 527. They also have a webchat.

If you feel like you need emergency help, call 000.

As always, feel free to add support services or emergency contacts in the comments if you’re outside Australia.

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Gender/ sexuality

Mental health and the need for asexuality inclusion in schools

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Trigger warning: This post deals with suicide and may be triggering for some readers.

In September last year, the worst nightmare for any parent came true. 13 – year – old, Lily Dowling had taken her own life.

Before her death, she wrote letters to her best friends and left them in thier lockers. 

Jane Hansen from Herald Sun described her as a “gorgeous 13 – year  – old with a love for Harry Potter books and the world at her feet…”

When speaking about her daughter, Emma Heeley said:

She was the kindest, most caring girl who was always looking out for others. She attracted really beautiful people and had a lot of friends. 

The warning signs

There were clues that Lily wasn’t coping. Lily had written a poem about her own death nine months before the tragedy. She’d posted it on Instagram. Unfortunately, Ms. Heeley only found the poem after Lily’s death. 

By August 2019, Lily had started to withdraw.

“I knew something was really, really wrong, but she would just close up and not talk to me”, Ms. Heeley said. 

Lily refused to go to therapy.

Lily’s death is only one of a string of suicides among young girls that have gotten worse over the last ten years.

Lily came out as asexual

Three months before her death, Lily came out on Instagram as asexual. (Kudos for Jane Hansen for properly defining it in the article). 

Professor Ian Hickie raised concern about young people feeling the need to put a label on themselves in such a sexualised culture.

It’s true that young people shouldn’t be forced to place a label on themselves before their ready. Sexuality can be complex, especially while growing up.

Having said that, young people, should be able to come out if they feel sure about how they feel. 

How many cases like this out there?

How many young asexual people feel lost, depressed and even suicidal? Studies suggest that young LGBT people are at least 2.5 times more likely to take their own lives than heterosexual peers. However, this data excludes asexual and non binary trans people. 

In a paper, Morag Yule, Lori Brotto and Boris Bolzaka guessed that asexual individuals may suffer worse mental health issues due to stigma than other groups.

It wouldn’t surprise me if this was the case. What I found the hardest growing up was the erasure. I was told that asexuality Leither didn’t exist or it was something that people grew out of. 

I’ve said before that I don’t blame the people that told me these myths. This was in the early 2000’s – from 2005 to 2007. But I do hope things are changing.

School counsellors and other mental health workers need to know about asexuality

Everyone should feel free to go to a counsellor. LGBTQ+ people need to have counsellors that are going to accept and validate their identities and experiences. They need to know they won’t be judged.

This is why acceptance of asexual people is so important. School counsellors, social workers and other mental health workers need to know that asexuality is real. 

 

Maybe this can be included in a professional development program. Or make it a part of social work and psychology degree subjects/ modules. You might be scoffing at this, but the time for erasure and ignorance needs to end. 

 

 

If you feel like you need assistance, you can call Lifeline: 13 11 14.

BeyondBlue: 1300 224 636 (you can also chat online. They also have LGBTQ+ resources. They include asexuality).

If you believe that you or someone you know is in crisis, contact 000 or your country’s emergency number. 

Please leave your thoughts or helpful mental health hotlines in your area in the comments below. 

 

 

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Gender/ sexuality

Aromantic: short and sweet explanation

Aromantic pride flag
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About ten years ago, there was  a mini – explosion in aromantic and asexual awareness in the media.

MamaMiaCleo Australia and Ten’s The Project all ran stories about asexual and aromantic people. Of course, they had their detractors.

Now, aromantic people are in the spotlight. This is in part because the Yarra council in Melbourne has placed the aromantic flag over Richmond, Fitzroy and Abbotsford town halls.

What is aromantic?

Think about this: Have you ever had a crush? Have you planned dates, romantic getaways and weddings with a loved one in mind?

Do you get butterflies or nerves, when you see or think of someone in particular?

Well, some people don’t. They don’t feel the ‘butterflies’ or the desire for another person to be their significant other. They are aromantic.

That’s the simplest way I can explain it.

Because romance and sex often go hand in hand in society, there can be confusion for asexual people. How do you define “romantic attraction” when it’s divorced (no pun intended) from sexual attraction?

Here’s what I think about it. Romantic attraction is when you want to take a relationship beyond what is considered friendship. It’s when you want to date, be in  a relationship and maybe marry.

To muddy the waters, some aromantic people are in relationships that, on the outside look like romantic ones. They are known as queer – platonic. So, my personal definition above may not fit everyone.

Grey zones

Romantic (and sexual) attraction can exist on a spectrum. There are a number of terms that describe this spectrum:

  • Grey – romantic: simplest definition is someone who find themselves not 100% aromantic. Someone who is grey – romantic may feel romantic attraction rarely, in only specific circumstances (more on that later), or may be too weak to act on.
  • Demi – romantic: People who identify as demi – romantic don’t form crushes on strangers. They only fall in love with people they are close with, such as a best friend.
  • Fray – romantic: This is a less known grey – romantic orientation. Accoriding to LGBTA Wikia,  fray – romanticism is the opposite to demi – romanticism. They lose romantic interest after a connection has formed.

This is by no means an extensive list. This is only a few terms that are used to describe experiences of people on the aromantic spectrum.

 

My plea to skeptics

I can already sense people rolling their eyes. But please consider this. Many aromantic and/ or asexual people often grow up feeling isolated and “broken”. Having these labels (and more) give people language for what they do (or don’t) experience.

Often, people on the aromantic/ asexual spectrum to fall into self doubt and self – loathing because they don’t fit in. That’s why aromantic and asexual awareness is important.

 

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Gender/ sexuality

Queensland becomes the first Australian state to ban conversion therapy

Bible held by rainbpw - coloured hand with cross in a rainbow - coloured background
Image: iStock

 

CW: LGBTQ conversion therapy. This content may be distressing to some readers

Last week,  Queensland has made a historical leap  and introduced laws against LGBTQ+ conversion practices.

It will be illegal for health professionals to suggest ‘therapy’ to change a patient’s sexuality or gender identity.

Medical practitioners suggesting or performing the practice can face up to eighteen months in jail.

Criticisms of the Bill

The bill has been criticised from both ends of the political spectrum. Of course, there is ‘concern’ about how it will affect the counselling of trans and gender diverse children – pushing the idea that children are forced to take hormones and surgery prematurely.

Other critics say that the bill doesn’t go far enough Anti – conversion therapy advocate, Chris Csabs expressed disappointment that only the medical community was targeted in the bill.

Csabs claimed that 90% of conversion victims have experienced the practice in non – medical settings.

It makes sense. All major medical and psychological bodies worldwide reject the notion that sexual orientation and gender identity can be ‘fixed’. The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1973.

Since then, conversion therapy has been condemned for LGB+ and trans youth.

Should conversion practices be illegal for religious communities?

The only context that ‘conversion therapy’ most likely happens is within religious groups. While churches like Hillsong has shied away from conversion practices  years ago, other organisations probably still do it.

There are most likely young LGBTQ+ people still at risk of being subjected to the harmful practice. Should this also be outlawed? Ideally, yes. But do you run the risk of pushing it underground? What if that makes the practice even more dangerous? What if physical abuse becomes apart of the ‘therapy’?

 

Ultimately, conversion therapy will only become a thing of the past when people realise that LGBTQ+ people can’t change. And that they shouldn’t have to. Conversion therapy will only become a thing of the past when LGBTQ+ people are welcomed and included in all aspects of society. That’s up to religious groups, families, schools and the medical communities.

 

Update

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has also seen a bill to outlaw conversion therapy.

The Sexuality and Gender  Conversion Practices Bill is targeted at not just medical practitioners, but also parents who push their children into it.

The bill differentiates between conversion therapy and counselling aimed at gender diverse youth before medical transition. The Bill allows the latter.

 

Another update

The ACT’s Sexuality and Gender Conversion Practices Bill has been passed. Vagueness has been cleared up.

Religious groups have also been assured that they won’t be penalised because of their views on sexuality or gender identity.

Let’s hope it works and that people will realise that LGBTQ+ people are who they are and can’t change that aspect of their identity. It’s honestly the only way that conversion practices will finally become a thing of the past.

If this post has raised any issues for you, you can contact Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 

For people under 25, there is also Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800.

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Gender/ sexuality

Asexual people need the police. Here’s why.

Asexual ityflag
Image: iStock

 

Content warning: this post mention# sexual assault. If this is triggering for you, please proceed with caution.

Last week, LGBT+ Police UK put out a statement supporting asexual people.

This has caused a stir, with some journalists complaining.

So, is it important that police publicly support asexual people? Actually, yes, it is. Asexual people have faced a number of social issues that are rarely acknowledged.

Asexual people and sexual violence

Statistics have been hard to come by when researching this. However, some asexual women have reported being raped or sexually assaulted. Known as ‘corrective rape’, asexual women and lesbians, have been raped in order to ‘fix’ their orientation. According to Sarah Doa Minh, corrective rape happens in different parts of the world, including the U.S.

In her 2014 book, An Invisible Orientation, An Introduction to Asexuality, Julie Sondra Decker, recalled being indecently assaulted at the end of a date when she was nineteen. The date proceeded to kiss her without her permission.

Asexual people who get married also need to know they are protected as well. Marital rape is a crime in Western countries (as it should be). Asexual people need to know that they have a right to not be coerced and/ or raped by a spouse.

I haven’t found any data based on asexuals in Australia, which in itself, I find problematic. But going by what has happened overseas, it’s something that people need to be aware of.

Queerphobia and LGBT asexuals

Some asexuals are are attracted to the same – sex and/ or are transgender or gender non – binary. These individuals can face similar, if not the same prejudices and discrimination that other LGBT people face.

Asexual people with a same – sex partner may face the same issues when in public with their same – sex partner. Some may be harassed or violently attacked, like gay, lesbian and bisexual counterparts.

Other services need to get onboard

While it’s good that police departments are supporting asexual people, other community groups also need to get on board.

Too often, asexual people are disbelieved by mental health services. They may even have their lack of sexual attraction pathologised. As a result, real mental health issues may be minimised or ignored.

Mental health workers may not be sinister. They could just be misinformed, thinking it’s a fad, a symptom of a problem, or a phase that people ‘grow out of’. While not always malicious, these assumptions are unhelpful and asexual people looking for mental health support do not these misconceptions to add to and exacerbate real issues.

Homoromantic, biI ro mantic, pan romantic and transgender and gender non – binary people need to be able to find mental health services that can assist them too. I find it scary that since same – sex marriage has been legalised, state and federal politicians and lobby groups have pushed to have anti – discrimination laws back-pedalled. While it’s the argument has been used to protect, conservative cake bakers, there has been some push to allow counsellors to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people on religious grounds.

 

Like everyone else, asexual people will need access to different services. This means health, social services and law enforcement. The fact that a police department is willing to protect asexual people is quite comforting.

If you’re in Australia and you feel you need to get support, you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732

Or you can call 000 (or national emergency number) for emergencies.

If you’re from another country, feel free t9 comment with any contact details of services. In your area.

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Gender/ sexuality

LGBTQ+ Muslims deserve our support

Islam symbol and mosque (top), LGBTQ pride flag (bottom)
Images: iStock.

 

One thing I like about the broadcaster, SBS is how they often present minority and diverse communities.

Sometimes, minority identities clash. LGBTQ+ Muslims often feel this clash.

Last Thursday in the lead up to 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, SBS Pride published an article on a Muslim Pride event coming up in London. It’s set to happen on April 11 after a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Unfortunately, the organisers and participants can expect backlash.

LGBTQ+ Muslims face opposition among Muslims and the LGBTQ+ community

It’s no secret that there is often hostility between Islam and LGBTQ+ people. Countries and provinces that implement Sharia law often outlaw homosexuality. The punishments for this ‘crime’ often include execution or other barbaric practices, such as flogging.

LGBTQ+ Muslims who grow up in Western countries are often ostracised and abused by their families and community. Lebanese – Australian, Hussein Hawley told the ABC his family tried to “beat the gay” out of him before kicking him out of home.

Like many other LGBTQ+ people, LGBTQ+ Muslims are at high risk of suicide.

LGBTQ+ people of colour face discrimination in LGBTQ+ spaces

Muslims are not the only people who struggle fitting within the LGBTQ+ community.

People of colour, (including non – Muslims) report being discriminated against.

According to Stonewall UK, 51% LGBTQ+ people of colour have experienced racism within the LGBTQ+ community. Unfortunately, this number rose to 61% for black people. This is not right and needs to be condemned.

LGBTQ+ Muslims and the no true Scotsman fallacy

When I was reading some comments on Facebook, I was disappointed, although not surprised. The whole ‘let’s see this happen  in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc’, came up. As if LGBTQ+ Muslims are responsible for theocratic and totalitarian regimes. Are LGBTQ+ Christians responsible for the likes of Steven Anderson or Roger Jiminez? I don’t think so. No doubt, LGBTQ+ Muslims may face uncertainty and de – programming and find their way through their beliefs. Many LGBTQ+ people of faith face similar struggles.

Plus, there was the No True Scotsman statements, i.e. ‘you can’t be gay and Muslim’. Here’s the thing: you can’t choose your sexual orientation or gender identity. And you can’t change it. Ask any LGBTQ+ Christian pushed into conversion therapy.

However, all people should be able to freely choose their faith. Everyone deserves the right to explore their faith and relationship with the divine.

LGBTQ+ people of faith also deserve the opportunity to participate in a community. And the LGBTQ+ community needs to be a viable option if their faith community isn’t.

The LGBTQ+ community often campaign for inclusive and non – discriminatory policies. Maybe it’s time that some of them walk the walk.

SBS’s coverage of Mardi Gras reflects diversity

SBS did a great job in broadcasting the Mardi Gras. I liked how they reflected the diversity within the LGBTQ+, including ethnic  and religious diversity. They’re often good like that.

 

I can only hope that all LGBTQ+ people will be able to feel welcomed in the future. I hope that Pride and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole will become a place where everyone can be their true selves and be embraced. I hope LGBTQ+ spaces become safe spaces for those who need it most.

 

Are LGBTQ+ spaces exclusionary to people of faith or colour? Have you felt excluded from an LGBTQ+ space? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

 

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Gender/ sexuality

Study suggests that LGBTQ+ youth feel unsafe online

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It’s well known that cyber bullying is a scourge facing too many young people today. School bullies now target their victims after the final bell rings. Homes are no longer a safe haven for many victims.

According to education resource, Bullying No Way, one in five young people under eighteen experience online bullying. It is more common in secondary school than primary school.

It’s important to note that Bullying No Way advises caution when dealing with statistics on bullying.

Of course, numbers surrounding bullying can be hard to pinpoint due to lack of reporting. Shame and fear keep victims silent.

LGBTQ+ youth vulnerable to cyber bullying

The internet, especially social media has been an avenue of connection and exploration for young LGBTQ+ people. However, it can be hazardous too.

Cyber security blogger, Sarah Turner published an article on VPN Mentor suggesting that LGBTQ+ youth are vulnerable online.

In Turner’s study, 695 young people were surveyed. While it’s a small sample, the results are quite alarming.

  • 73% of all respondents claimed they’d been harassed online
  • 50%  of respondents had experienced sexual harassment online
  • Asexual people felt the least safe online of all sexual identities
  • Transwomen felt most unsafe online out of the gender identities. They also risked being outed.

This is not the only study to suggest LGBTQ+ youth are vulnerable online.

According to ConnectSafely, multiple studies from 2012 onwards concluded that LGBTQ+ young people are up to three times more likely to be cyber bullied than cisgender and straight peers. A 2012 study by Warren Blumenfeld and RM Cooper found that 52% of LGBTQ+ youth between 11 – 22 had been targets of cyber bullies a number of times.

In 2015, Centre of Disease Control (CDC) also found LGBTQ+ youth were more likely to be targets.

I’m usually skeptical of studies that rely on small sample sizes. But there’s a pattern that’s emerged that can’t be ignored.

 

Cyber bullying of LGBTQ+ people should be dealt with

One of the common arguments against the Safe Schools program was it’s emphasis on LGBTQ+ youth, rather than bullying as a whole.

If Australia is like the US in bullying rates, maybe we do need to have some LGBTQ+ – specific anti – bullying strategies.

I also think that many LGBTQ+ young people still face shame about their sexuality or gender identity. This prevents LGBTQ+ victims from reaching out for help. This exacerbates the pain and humiliation that bullying victims already experience. This is why I strongly believe that schools need to be openly supportive of LGBTQ+ students.

If this post has raised any issues with you or your loved ones, you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 or via chat on their website

Kids Helpline (for those under 18): 1800 551 800

Like always, if you’re not from Australia, please provide any contact details of counselling services from your area in the comments below.

Final note: the VPN Mentor article was brought to my attention via an email (thank you to the emailer). If you would like to give me any articles, blog posts,  or anything else, you can contact me through comments section, the contact form or email me at: sharnetty@glycerinequeenmedia.com. I’ll try and get to as many responses/ emails as I can.

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In the wake of IDAHOBIT, thank you, but keep fighting -repost

Rainbow Pride flag
Image: iStock

This post was originally written in May 17 2018.

17 May is the International Day Against Homophobia, Bi – phobia, Intersexism and trans – phobia. (IDAHOBIT). 17 May 1990 was the day when the World Health Organisation officially declassified homosexuality as a mental qaillness.

I said about a year ago about how IDAHOBIT was a great day for the LGBTQ+ community to show appreciation for those who have stood by us, fought for the rights of LGBTQ+ people and stood by LGBTQ+ people who are in distress. This is still close to my heart. Thank you again for everyone who has been a part of making our lives a little bit easier, especially last year during the same – sex marriage postal survey debate.

But, of course , the work is not done; not here and not around the world. Currently,  seventy – four countries still outlaw homosexuality, some of where the death penalty can be carried out for same – sex relations.

 

The Australian LGBTQ+ community won a major battle last year; same – sex marriage finally came legal after 61.6% of survey participants agreed that same – sex couples should be able to marry. The Act now states that two people can marry, with no mention of sexual orientation, sex or gender identity. This is monumental.

The battle for the right to marry for LGBTQ+ people is won. Where we still need to be vigilant is the reversal of anti – discrimination laws. Last year, there was discussion about whether businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ+ couples who want to marry on the grounds of faith or conviction. I have expressed numerous times how I think this is a potential slippery slope and how there is no guarantee that it’ll only be cake bakers or other wedding suppliers that will be exempt, but also teachers, other educators, counsellors, psychologists, etc like it has in parts of the US. I plead for our allies to be vigilant about that and, if it comes up, to vocally protest against it.

I still feel strongly about LGBTQ+ students being supported in schools. If not through Safe Schools, I don’t think it would hurt to have another program aimed at tackling homophobia, bi – phobia and trans – phobia etc. As I’ve said before in the context of education and AFL’s Pride Round, I really don’t think it’s enough for students to have to assume that they are not at risk of being rejected. It needs to be made obvious. The voices in the head of someone even questioning their sexuality can make one assume the worst; that they won’t be accepted, that they deserve to be bullied, etc.

Not all advocacy is political either. Increasingly, the issue of proper LGBTQ+ visibility in the media and pop culture comes up. There are still issues with misrepresentation or invisibility, especially of bisexual people. Negative stereotypes about bisexual and pansexual people still persist and have negative consequences on their mental health.

While things are improving for asexual people,including visbility, things can still improve. For starters, it would be great if people would get to know what asexuality is. Allow people to define their own sexuality and/ or relationships, without resorting to comments that it’s a phase, etc, (often it’s not).

 

The West have made great strides in LGBTQ+ rights. I am really hopeful, although cautious, about the future. The world as a whole has a long, long way to go. Hopefully IDAHOBIT in the future can bribg positive change where it’s needed.

Have you, your school or workplace done anything for IDAHOBIT? Also, what do you think can improve for LGBTQ+ people?