A policy blueprint for action from the Victorian Government on health and welfare issues for GLBT youth is set to be released this month.
The Beyond Homophobia policy blueprint has been put together by the Australian Research Centre for Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) and Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria to fill the gaps in meeting the needs of same-sex attracted and transgender youth.
Lead researcher Lynne Hillier told Southern Star although Victoria has made some positive moves in the area, there is still a long way to go.
“Funding is one of the huge issues, because there’s no point having policies without having any funding behind them.”
Hillier pointed to the state Government’s anti-homophobia Supporting Sexual Diversity Policy which was quietly rolled out in schools by the Department of Education in 2008.
“If you don’t get these things out there, and throw some actual resources behind it, no one knows about it,” she said.
“Views are so entrenched and have in the past been promulgated by psychiatry, psychology, the law and religion.
“While there’s been a lot of good work done, it’s still patchy.”
The blueprint will be launched on April 20 by Mental Health Minister Lisa Neville, who’s faced heavy criticism recently that she and her department are not doing enough for GLBTI mental health.
The blueprint will cover a range of areas including health, employment, schools and housing.
Hillier said the research used in the blueprint points to a need for better environments for both young people and staff working with young people to feel better supported when issues about sexuality or gender diversity are raised.
According to data collected for the blueprint, of 300 staff working with young people, 41 percent said they wouldn’t raise complaints about sexuality because they feared a backlash.
A further 42 percent of staff said they wouldn’t come out because they fear a negative response.
“When you’ve got fear and people watching their backs, you’re not going to make any progress,” Hillier said.
The blueprint has been funded by The William Buckland Foundation.