Australian social workers endorse International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia, support Safe Schools and decry conversion therapy
Published: 16 May 2018
Tomorrow is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) and is an incredibly important date to support and advocate for the rights of same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse people across Australia, and all over the world.
AASW National President Christine Craik said, “IDAHOBIT is an international day aimed at raising awareness of the violence and discrimination faced by same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse people and also an important celebration of sexual and gender diversity.”
This year’s theme is ALLIANCES for SOLIDARITY, emphasising how collective action can play an important role in creating a more inclusive, safe and supportive society. The theme also highlights the role everyone plays in challenging discriminatory behaviour in all aspects of our lives.
Ms Craik highlighted the importance of addressing homophobia at an early stage and said social workers endorse the Safe Schools program as essential to the Government’s national mental health strategy. Alongside other credible mental health professionals, social workers decry any form of conversion therapy.
She said, “Australia has come a long way in terms of LGBTIQ+ rights in recent years but there is still so much work to be done. For example, the continued opposition to the Safe Schools program from so many groups is evidence of why days like IDAHOBIT are so important.
“Initiatives like the Safe Schools program provide same-sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students with an environment where they can feel safe, and has the potential to save lives. Despite the numerous reviews that substantiate the program’s quality and benefit, it has now ceased in almost every state and territory, with each now developing their own programs, in many cases diminishing its scope and purpose.
“Studies show that as many as 75 per cent of same-sex attracted students have been physically assaulted or verbally abused, the majority within the school community, and they are six times more likely to attempt suicide or self-harm. Initiatives like the Safe Schools program are an important component of the Government’s national mental health strategy in addressing the steep rise in the national suicide rate.
“We need strong political leadership to emphatically state that the discrimination of any sort is unacceptable, and take meaningful action by funding programs and services that work. For example, a significant step that all Australian governments can take is to ban ‘conversion’ therapies, which has no evidence base and has been demonstrated to be incredibly harmful to individuals.”
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