The following is a statement from ACON President Dr Justin Koonin and Acting-CEO Karen Price
ACON is aware of today’s front-page The Daily Telegraph story ‘Teachers align on gender spotting’. ACON is also aware of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s comment on Twitter relating to the story which says: “We do not need ‘gender whisperers’ in our schools. Let kids be kids.”
While we respect Mr Morrison’s right to hold personal opinions, we would encourage him to use the office of Prime Minister to act in a manner which is inclusive of all Australians, and to refrain from using stigmatising language that makes the lives of vulnerable people harder.
The mental health issues for trans and gender diverse people are real and pressing. Data from the National LGBTI Health Alliance state that transgender people aged 18 and over are nearly eleven times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population, with 35% of transgender people aged 18 and over having attempted suicide in their lifetime.
Further, the largest study ever conducted of the mental health and care pathways of trans and gender diverse young people in Australia – the 2017 TransPathways report – states that of 859 young trans and gender diverse respondents aged 14-25, over 70% had been diagnosed with depression or anxiety and almost 80% had self-harmed. Young trans and gender diverse respondents further identified some of the key drivers for poor mental health as peer rejection (89%), issues with school, university and/or TAFE (79%) and bullying (74%).
We understand that the Prime Minister said yesterday on Melbourne radio 3AW that he loves all Australians, that he respects people of all sexualities, all religions and faiths. These are comments that reflect an ambition for a safe and cohesive society for all – where unity is prioritised over division.
We hope the Prime Minister can take the sentiments he expressed yesterday forward to help build the health, wellbeing, safety and inclusion of all Australians.
If you are experiencing distress and would like to speak to someone – please contact:
13 11 14
1300 22 4636
1800 55 1800
1800 184 527
For further media enquiries, contact ACON Communications Officer David Alexander on 0428 477 042 or email [email protected]