Australia’s national mental health foundation for young people, headspace, has widened its call for supporters of same-sex marriage to share their stories about why the issue matters to them.

In November, headspace called on young people to do so, following the 2010 release of La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society’s Writing Themselves In 3 report. Now they want to hear from the people in their lives who are important to them as well.

“We are happy for anyone to submit their views, not just young people,” headspace chief executive Chris Tanti said.

“Mothers, grandmothers, fathers, uncles, friends, colleagues — in short, anyone and everyone who cares about the issue.

“We want to see an end to the unnecessary stigma and isolation another generation of young Australians could face because of this inequality. As an organisation that works with young people, we can tell you that marriage equality is primarily about ending social exclusion and giving all Australians the same basic rights.”

Headspace will collect emails from people until November. They plan to present the results to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Opposition leader Tony Abbott, and other key MPs across the political spectrum before the ALP national conference in Melbourne, which is being held on the weekend of December 2.

Tanti said giving GLBTIs the same set of rights as everyone else would be an important move in improving the wellbeing and self-esteem of young GLBTI people.

“We know from the responses of the more than 3000 young people in the Writing Themselves In report that discrimination perpetuates feelings of isolation and poorer mental health outcomes,” Tanti said.

“Suicide rates among same-sex attracted young people are three times higher and up to six times higher in rural and regional areas. As Australians who believe in equality for all people, this is not something we can ignore.”

Supporters of same-sex marriage are encouraged to send their stories to yourvoice@headspace.org.au

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