Marriage debate – yes, it does effect the LGBT community

Note: some of the content of this post may be distressing and triggering for some readers. 

Even though the plebiscite is dead at the moment (been voted down the second time), it hasn’t stopped the debate – or, frankly, the hostility. The Facebook post below from Sky’s “Paul Murray Live” shows a short story about the plebiscite being voted down in Parliament on Monday for the second time. The next step is anyone’s guess. Some people, like Senator David Lyonhjelm thinks it’s either the plebiscite or nothing, (more on him in a second).

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FPaulMurrayLIVE%2Fposts%2F1476688602360104&width=500

 

Now, same – marriage sceptics or outright opponents, as well as some proponents, argue that we should be able to “debate” this issue. Senator for the Liberal Democrats, David LeyonheljmSamneS, made a speech addressing Parliament on the plebiscite. He himself is a supporter of same – sex marriage, but also supports a plebiscite, unlike most LGBTQ+ people and their allies, according to Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

Yesterday, Melbourne’s the “Herald Sun” printed an edit of Leyonheljm’s speech, encouraging a vote for the passing of legislation on the plebiscite. Some things he said, that was also printed in the Herald Sun were controversial.

Your (Labor, Greens and other opponents of the plebiscite) suggestion that an acrimonious debate will prompt suicides and other mental health issues in the LGBTI community is obnoxious. These are normal people, not mentally fragile little daffodils affronted by name calling.

This little paragraph alone is, quite frankly problematic on so many levels. While the LGBTQ+ community can’t be all lumped in together in regard to vies on same – sex marriage or mental strength, mental health organisations such asSuicide Prevention, Black Dog Institute and Beyond Blue acknowledge that the LGBTQ+ community are at risk when it comes to mental health issues, especially when facing homophobic, bi – phobic and trans – phobic bullying and violence.

 

Also, I think that this so – called “debate” has gone beyond a bit heated. I was appalled at some of the comments in the comments under the Facebook post above. Throwing false slippery slope arguments that same – sex marriage will lead to the acceptance of paedophilia or that gays are paedophiles, a claim that’s COMPLETELY false!!!! Regardless of your view on homosexuality or same – sex marriage ANY PAEDOPHILE WHO IS ACTING OUT THEIR SEXUAL DESIRES IS COMMITTING RAPE!!! Everyone get that?! Rape!!! All States and Territories in Australia and the Western world have age limits to when a person can engage in consensual sexual activity. In the U.S, who made same – sex marriage law nation wide last year, according to “Age of Consent (US), the age restrictions are between 16 to 18 across the country.  In England and Wales – countries that legalised same – sex marriage in 2014, have a minimum age of consent at 16. This goes across the board, regardless of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Holland, the first country in the world to legalise same – sex marriage in the world has less straightforward laws. According to “Netherlands – Age of Consent”, the legal age of sexual contact is 16. However, if a person 12 or over agrees to have sex and no complaint is made by parents, then no prosecution will occur.

 

Also, the “debate’ has seen threats of violence toward LGBTQ organisations, despite what some would like to believe. In September, Melbourne LGBT radio station, JOY 94.9 FM had to be evacuated after a bomb threat was made against staff via e – mail. This got almost buckley’s coverage in the mainstream media. The first place I read about it was on Facebook. No hate speech from the “no” side? Yeah right! It hasn’t all been one way, but the fact that this got a little but not a lot of attention is despicable.

A part from that, I truly believe the well – being of the LGBTQ+ community should be (and should’ve been from the start), taken into consideration and not mocked. And, no, it’s not enough for a journalist to just cite the Lifeline number of feature it for ten seconds at a bottom of a screen. Think about what you are saying! Realise that this issue does affect people. Not everyone can brush off hurtful or downright hateful comments, unlike what Leyonheljm or conservatives would like to suggest.

You want a debate, then fine. BUT it’s not without consequences. Lives are affected. And let’s condemn abuse! 

 

If this post has brought up any issues for you contact:

Lifelline: 13 11 14

QLife: ask@qlife.org.au or 1800 184 527 3 p.m. onward every day

For those under 25: Headspace:  on – line or by phone: 1800 650 890

If you need help, please, please get it.

 

 

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For those who need help…

I have written extensively about LGBTQ+ politics over the last few months. Yet, me banging on about such things and asking questions can only do so much. I think this tweet from LGBT Shrink is what some people, both LGBTQ+ and cis – het need to know:

Sometimes, it’s hard, but I hope you all get and believe this.

If you’re in Australia and need help for anything you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond BlueHeadspace (for those under 25)

Here is a list of mental health services across Australia (some are for specific age groups, including young children/ infants).

Thoughts on World Mental Health Week

This week is World Mental Health Week. LGBTQ+ issues and mental health are often tightly linked, considering that LGBT people (especially youth) are, according to mental health advocasy group, Beyond Blue, data showed that 36.2% of trans people and 24.4% of lesbian, gay or bisexual people:

met the  criteria for experiencing major depressive episodes.

Trans women under 30have the highest rate of mental health issues (59.3%).

Gays and lesbians had also been found to have significantly higher rates of anxiety (31% vs 14%sexual people also report having higher incidents of mental health issues at similar rates of lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

One of the issues that are faced by asexual people is erasure – a lack of knowledge – or more likely – acceptance that people can be – and are – asexual. This is slowly, slowly changing, with a number of media outlets over the years doipng articles and news items on asexual people. Cleo, women’s site, Mamamia, Everyday Feminism and Ravishly has done articles on people on the asexual spectrum. Despite the controversy around the Safe Schools program, I’ll give credit when it’s due – it was acknowledged in the resource ‘All of Us’ that some people are asexual. Although not directky linked, I had looked at the site Minus18 for LGBTQ+ youth under 25, and realised that they did differentiate between sexual and romantic attraction. That would have madechigh school so much easier! It’s a pity it all turned out to be a political manifesto and that data on sexuality and gender diversity was inaccurate.

Anyway, back to mental health. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was slammed by tying the same – sex martiage plebiscite to gay t thing to sayand lesbian youth suicide. While I don’t think it was the wrong thing to say, and I agree with Andrew Bolt that it was emotional blackmail, mental health of LGBTQ+ does need to be a part of this debate.

 

I know I said this before, but I want to repeat it. To my LGBTQ+ friends and family, I love you and I hope that all of you are doing well. For those who need help, please get it. Don’t bottle anything up.  To all my other friends and family, I say the same. I love you, and if you have any issues, please grt help.

Lifeline number: 13 11 14.

Mental Health Month

Trigger Warning: depression and suicide. Plese proceed with caution if this is triggering for you.

October is known as “Mental Health Month” in Australia (I’m not sure about other countries). It’s about bringing awarenes to the issue of mental illness. The reason why I’m doing this post on this blog in particular (I did another one in another one of my blogs read here if you want: Mental Health Month) is because LGBT+ youth are statistically more at risk of mentla health issues and suicide than non – minority groups. I also know from experience that identifying as asexual can be scary and quite isolating.

When the Trevor Project started in the US a few years ago, which was originally aimed at preventing suicid among LGBTI youth, apparently they also got calls from young people who idnentified, or at least suspected, that they were asexual. I get why it does your head in. First, the confusion that asexual young people can go through, sometimes for years, can be really hard. When I suspected that I was asexual, there seemed to be less visibility than what there is now.  It was mentally hard. I have to say though, that i haven’t been through many of the experiences that others have been through, which is explained by Julie Decker on Youtube. I admit I’m lucky that way. Although, I’ve got to say the invisibility can be hard.

Whoever you are, if you are experincing mental illness, or suspect you are, please, please get help. Find some support from family, friends and professionals to help you get through it. Nobody, regardless of sexuality, gender, or any other factors should have to suffer in silence. Please get support.

For people in Australia who need support:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: Beyondblue.org.au- Visit beyondblue

KIds Helpline (for those under 25): 1800 55 1800

Mensline: Mensline Australia: Help, Support and Counselling Services …

 

Anyone who knows any services from a home country other than Australia, feel free to post the links/ numbers in the comments section below. Thanks.

 

 

Is It Just Me Or Is This Really Over The Top?

In change.org, there is a petition basically accusing the youth mental health organisation Headspace of “promoting homosexuality” in Victorian schools and encouraging students to “try it” (experimenting with members of the same sex ).

Now, I get that people are against same – sex sexual behaviour and honestly, I’m not criticising anyone for that. This is pure scaremongering and the demonisation of a much needed youth mental health service. I can’t for the life of me see a professional organisation telling someone to try something they are not comfortable with. The role of any organisation is to get clientele to practise free will and respecting the values and cultures of the individuals they support, and all with confidentiality held with the upmost importance (except when abuse has been disclosed or a crime is being committed).

Headspace are going to run a program called Peninsula Pride, from, what I understand is to support LGBTQ youth, but the ethics and legal requirements would still apply.

i don’t get the scaremongering of some people. It doesn’t give them any credit and doesn’t  help anybody. I, for one, am a big fan of Headspace, and, frankly, in my view, they are much needed and they don’t need to be slammed like this.