BT recently announced its major sponsorship of the It Gets Better Australia group that works to help young LGBTI youth cope with harassment and discrimination relating to their sexuality.
“Adolescence is a difficult time and many grapple with issues to do with sexuality. It can be a particularly challenging for LGBTI youth, given the level of discrimination that still exists in our society today,” he said.
Cooper added that statistics show the impact of society’s behaviour towards these young people could not be argued with.
According to statistics from the Federal Government and University of Adelaide, LGBTI teens are more likely to commit suicide than other youths and about 30 per cent of completed suicides were related to a sexual identity crisis; LGBTI youths were five times more likely to miss school because they fetl unsafe after being bullied while 28 per cent drop out of school all together.
LGBTI youth were nearly three times as likely as their heterosexual peers to have been assaulted due to their sexual orientation, and possibly because of such abuses, LGBTI youth were more likely than their heterosexual peers to abuse alcohol, drugs, engage in risky behaviour or run away from home.
Cooper said that any time suicide, drug-taking or bullying could be prevented, it was a good outcome.
“These are our children we are talking about and we have a responsibility to support programs where people who have been through the same experiences, and have come out the other side, can talk to our kids in their own language,” he said.
It Gets Better Australia is an affiliate of the US-based It Gets Better Project.