HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [5.40 pm]: Members, tomorrow is IDAHOBIT. To refresh members’ memories, that stands for the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia. It is an opportunity to celebrate the LGBTIQ community, to acknowledge and honour the hard-fought advancements in the rights of LGBTIQ people and to also recognise that there is still much more work to be done. And there is of course still more work to be done. I would like to use the opportunity presented by IDAHOBIT to reflect on how trans and gender diverse people, in particular, are faring, which in turn is a reflection on us as a broader community.

Nearly 12 000 Western Australians aged between 10 and 24 years are transgender or gender diverse. By that, I mean that their gender identity does not match the sex that was assigned to them at birth. Thanks to a fantastic piece of research undertaken by the Telethon Kids Institute in 2017, we have some excellent, but disturbing, data on a range of indicators. From this, we know that unfortunately trans people are really struggling. A total of 859 trans young people took part in this research. Some of the key findings were that four out of five trans young people have self-harmed compared with 11 per cent of young people of the general cohort; almost one in two have attempted suicide, which is 20 times higher than adolescents in the general population; three out of four trans young people have been diagnosed with depression—again, 10 times higher than their counterparts in the general population; 72 per cent of trans young people have been diagnosed with anxiety—again, a rate 10 times higher than the general population; 23 per cent of trans young people have been diagnosed with an eating disorder; 25 per cent of trans young people have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder; 74 per cent of trans young people have experienced bullying; 79 per cent have experienced issues with school, university or TAFE; 69 per cent have experienced discrimination; 66 per cent have experienced lack of family support; and 22 per cent have experienced accommodation issues or homelessness. This is an incredibly grim picture but it is worth making clear that being trans or gender diverse in itself is not a risk factor for poor mental health and other adverse outcomes; rather, the social exclusion and discrimination experienced by these young people has a negative impact.

Given this data, there is no doubt that trans young people face many additional challenges and are in need of urgent targeted support. That is why LGBTIQ people have been identified as a priority population in the 10-year mental health plan and the Suicide Prevention 2020 strategy and by the Commissioner for Children and Young People. Knowing this, I was disappointed by the government’s answer to the question without notice that I asked today, which confirmed the decision not to increase funding to the Perth Inner City Youth Service to expand its specialist homelessness service for trans and gender diverse young people, despite the fact that PICYS presented a clear proposal for better meeting the demand in the community. PICYS has a longstanding service agreement to provide a household network specialist youth homelessness service, and for many years has had an intentional focus on LGBTIQ young people. The service that PICYS offers is further complemented by a Mental Health Commission agreement to provide individualised psychosocial support to 15 to 20-year-old young people experiencing extreme risk factors, including homelessness, risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation or attempts, amongst other serious issues. It is an important service.

When putting together its proposal for additional funding, PICYS consulted with and received endorsement for its proposal from a wide range of stakeholders, including from research institutions, local governments, not-for-profit agencies and consumer representatives organisations. PICYS was able to secure this far-reaching support because of the wide acceptance of the vulnerability of trans and gender diverse young people, and because of its excellent track record of service delivery in this space. Really, what more could we ask for? There is a clearly defined need and a widely endorsed plan to address the need and the presence of a reputable, experienced provider to implement the plan.

I can assure all members of the LGBTIQ community that the Greens will continue to call on the government to fund important services such as this one. We will also keep working at dismantling the remaining legislation that legally allows private schools to discriminate against pupils, parents and staff from the LGBTIQ community. With LGBTIQ people thought to make up 11 per cent of the population, we as a broader community have so much to gain by getting rid of discrimination and social exclusion and instead focusing on being an inclusive and cohesive community.


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