National youth mental health foundation headspace has joined leading AFL players, including Carlton’s Nick Duigan, to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) on May 17.

The organisation and the AFL Players’ Association want to hear from people in the community in the run-up to the event by designing a postcard relating to IDAHO.

The theme of the competition is In My Eyes, Homophobia is Out of Bounds. Organisers want submissions with entrants’ perceptions of discrimination and making homophobia ‘out of bounds’.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke told the Star Observer the community must reassure youth they are valued for who they are.

“We live in a society in which same-sex attracted young people fare worse on almost every indicator of health and wellbeing than their peers,” Szoke said.

“According to several Australian studies, same-sex attracted young people are three times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual young people, and rural same-sex attracted young people are six times more likely to attempt suicide than the population as a whole.”

Despite the controversy surrounding homophobic comments by prominent AFL identities such as Jason Akermanis last year, which cast a cloud on the AFL’s involvement in the 2010 initiative, Szoke said the Commission still welcomed their involvement.

“Cultural change takes time, and community awareness of any cultural change achieved takes even longer.

“We are delighted by the fact that the AFL Players Association — which has shown great leadership on other equality issues in the past — has agreed to get involved with this critical issue and use its enormous public influence to support the wellbeing of GLBTI young people.”

Headspace and AFL players will judge this year’s competition and are looking for the most inspiring and creative entries.

There are four $100 iTunes vouchers up for grabs and a football signed by a leading AFL player from the Carlton, Western Bulldogs or Richmond Football Clubs. The competition judging will take place at headspace Western Melbourne on Monday, May 16 and winning entrants will be notified by Monday, May 23.

You can enter by downloading a postcard template from the headspace website – CLICK HERE – entries close at 5pm Friday, May 13.

Carlton player Nick Duigan and former Ivanhoe Girls Grammar student Hannah Williams.

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