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Beyondblue marches against discrimination
To mark its inaugural year as an official sponsor of Sydney Mardi Gras, beyondblue will have a marching team in the parade this Saturday, March 2, made up of staff, supporters, friends and LGBTI people who appear in the beyondblue Stop Think Respect campaign.
Beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell, who will be one of the Stop Think Respect marchers, said this was a great way to focus attention on the collaborative work beyondblue is doing with gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex (GLBTI) communities.
“Over the last few years, we have been collaborating with leaders of the community, investing in targeted research and together, with support from Movember, we developed an advertising campaign aimed at reducing discrimination,” Carnell said.
“The Stop Think Respect campaign focuses attention on how unreasonable it is to discriminate against people just for being themselves. It draws a parallel with the ludicrous notion of discriminating against people for being left-handed. It happened in the past, but it wouldn’t happen now. Discrimination of any kind, against anyone, is totally unacceptable,” she said.
Beyondblue research shows that both subtle and overt prejudice, discrimination and bullying are major contributing factors to the much higher rates of depression and anxiety amongst LGBTI communities.
LGBTI people are found to be two-to-three times more likely to experience anxiety and depression than the broader community and are at greater risk of suicide and self-harm.
“It’s distressing to hear that almost half of GLBTI people hide their sexuality or gender identity in a range of situations for fear of violence or discrimination – with young people aged 16 to 24 years more likely to do so than any other age group,” Carnell said.
“We hope by marching in the Sydney Mardi Gras parade, people in GLBTI communities will be reminded that beyondblue continues to work with their community leaders to improve mental health, and that our website and info line are places where everyone can access information about depression and anxiety, and find out how to take action to maintain good mental health.
“We hope our involvement in the Sydney Mardi Gras will reinforce the fact that discrimination or bullying of any kind is unacceptable because it can lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide. And it’s not OK, under any circumstances, to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexuality, sex or gender.”
The beyondblue Stop Think Respect marchers will wear blue T-shirts and carry banners promoting the Stop Think Respect message. The blue T-shirts will tie the marchers together as a group, but individuals will wear differing headgear and accessories to reflect the diversity amongst LGBTI communities.
For more information about depression and anxiety go to www.beyondblue.org.au