Jed Horner

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Jed Horner

  1. 1. Beyond the alphabet soup: Building a supportive environment for LGBTI students on campus Jed Horner Atari Metcalf Penny Pitcairn Clare Ellis 2nd Annual Student Health and Welfare Conference, Sydney Harbour Marriott, July 29th - 30th 2013
  2. 2. Lived experience(s) “I’m a high school teacher. When I was a student teacher I had my first prac in a Senior Catholic College in [NSW location]. One of the staff members I was working with directly asked me if I was gay and made it very known to me if I was gay I wouldn't be welcome in the school. I also found out a student had come out in the school and had consequently been expelled for it. For the month I worked there my mental health was in a terrible place. Thoughts of suicide / giving up my chosen career were all I could think about each night I went back to my holiday unit. At that stage I hadn't yet come out or accepted my sexuality and it was a very dark point in my life. Nothing was ever done about the Teacher / School from the University point of view because I never told the University about it because that would of required me to reveal my sexuality and the teacher involved was involved in my prac assessment. If the experience occurred now I'd be more than happy to report it to the appropriate people. No one should have to go through the experience I went through. Particularly a prac student who is dependent on the school / staff to pass the course (unequal power relationship).” - Gay Male, 20s
  3. 3. Lived experience(s) contd. “School was the worst time for me. When I was 12, a rumour went around that I was a lesbian which didn't bother me at all, but the reaction I got from my peers definitely effected me. Despite my young age, I've always known I was bisexual but I never told anyone. When the rumour went around, I was faced with awful name calling such as 'Disgusting', 'Filthy Lesbian' and a lot more. I was isolated and avoided by everyone. My friends, peers and even some of the teachers treated me different. After the rumour got around the school, I was treated like a second- class citizen. People didn't want to talk to me nor be around me. Everyday I went to school, I feared for my safety. It wasn't a pleasant experience, at all.” -Bisexual female, late teens
  4. 4. Social context influences health of LGBTI young people in profound ways • Key risk factors and determinants – Discrimination, harassment and violence • 61% report verbal abuse & 18% report physical abuse • 80% occurs in education settings (on the rise) • Higher in young men; trans, gender diverse and intersex YP – Peer and familial rejection  social isolation – Identity dissonance and internalised homophobia & transphobia  self-loathing – Compounded by issues around religion, cultural beliefs
  5. 5. LGBTI young people experience significant disparities in health + social outcomes • Higher rates of self-harm and suicide risk • Alcohol and other drug misuse • Disengagement from education • Much higher in trans, bisexual and intersex YP • Risk heightened prior to “coming out”
  6. 6. Health impacts of homophobia and transphobia – AOD misuse Figure 15. Relationships between homophobic abuse, alcohol & other drug use (Hillier et al. 2010)
  7. 7. Health impacts of homophobia and transphobia – suicide + self-harm Figure 14. Relationships between homophobic abuse, self-harm and suicide (Hillier et al. 2010)
  8. 8. Family support buffers impact of homophobia Figure 21. Rates of attempted suicide in young people when supported or rejected by family (Hillier et al. 2010)
  9. 9. …and so do supportive policies • Writing Themselves in Again 3 also found – Knowledge that their school had policies that protected them from homophobia, meant that young people who suffered no abuse, were less likely to self harm and attempt suicide – Young people who attended a school that was supportive, rather than homophobic, were less likely to self harm and attempt suicide
  10. 10. NSW anti-discrimination legislation • Anti-Discrimination Act (1977) – Homosexuality (actual or perceived) – Transgender – Disability (including HIV/AIDS, actual or perceived) • Exceptions for religious organisations apply – Goods and service provision – Employment
  11. 11. Federal anti-discrimination legislation • Sex Discrimination Act (1984) – New grounds: • Sexual Orientation • Gender Identity • Intersex Status • Fair Work Act (2009) – General protections: • Sexual Orientation • Gender Identity • Intersex Status
  12. 12. The ALLY@UNSW program is a staff and student network of trained volunteers, known as Allies, who support LGBTQI students and staff at UNSW. It began in 2008 and currently has 62 publicly listed Allies. • ALLY@UNSW is a lighthouse program aiming to create awareness and prevent harassment and discrimination • Prospective Allies participate in a training program that explores the life experiences of LGBTQI people before making a commitment to become an ALLY • ALLY trained staff have their work contact details listed on the SEADU website • The ALLY program has a Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Allyunsw/149076221829664?filter=1
  13. 13. ALLY@UNSW is open to all staff and students and is free • The training aims to provide an introduction to understanding issues of sexual orientations and gender identity for LGBTQI people. • We examine and explore: • Definitions, myths and stereotypes about LGBTQI identities • The challenges faced by LGBTQI people in different life stages • Health impacts of discrimination in LGBTQI communities • We look at protections provided under ant-discrimination legislation and the gaps that exist • We discuss the “lighthouse” role of being an ALLY in developing a culture of acceptance and inclusion at UNSW.
  14. 14. “Allies are not sexuality or gender identity experts, nor do they need to identify as LGBTQI” Allies volunteer to undertake their role with the knowledge that they are “making UNSW a better place to study and work for everybody” • ALLIES are identified in a public contact list and are identified by the ALLY@UNSW logo in their work area. • ALLIES are able to provide referral to appropriate LGBTQI services and information • ALLIES are asked to assist with one annual event- IDAHO Day on May 17th of each year to promote the ALLY network and combat homophobia. For more information visit www.studentequity.unsw.edu.au
  15. 15. ALLY Universities Australia
  16. 16. ALLY Universities the Bigger Picture • First Australian ALLY Program established at the University of Western Australia in 2002 • Adapted from US Models e.g. SafeZone Universities • 22 Australian/ NZ universities with ALLY Programs • ALLY Programs have similar structures • Can be a low cost, high impact initiative

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