ONLY days after signalling her public backing for marriage equality laws and an Australian republic, Governor-General Quentin Bryce has offered even more words of support towards the LGBTI community this week, saying the wider community had to do more to prevent the suicides of young LGBTI people.
Attending the launch of an e-book by depression and anxiety organisation Beyondblue in Melbourne on Tuesday, Bryce spoke about the importance of familial support for young people questioning their sexuality or gender identity. The e-book, Families Like Mine, contains advice for families of LGBTI people.
“Fear of rejection and, particularly, fear of being rejected by a loved one is shown to increase anxiety and the risk of suicide and self-harm. But a supportive family can make all the difference,” the Governor-General told the audience at the launch.
“Everyone here would want all young people to know that they are not alone, that as a society, we do care. They can live rich and rewarding lives but sometimes they just need our support.”
Saying she was deeply touched by some of the stories contained in the e-book, Bryce also referred to research that shows LGBTI Australians are six times more likely to take their own lives compared to their peers.
“This is too high a price to pay for our young people. We cannot allow another person to be lost,” she said.
Last Friday evening while delivering her final Boyer lecture, Bryce, who is expected to vacate the position shortly, told the audience in Sydney that she hoped Australia might become a nation “where people are free to love and marry whom they choose”.
“And where perhaps, my friends, one day one young girl or boy may even grow up to be our nation’s first head of state,” she said.
If you or someone you know needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service on Evening Support line: 02 8594 9596 or 1800 184 527 (regional callers) – open daily 5:30pm-10:30pm.