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Major new anti-discrimination campaign launched by beyondblue

Campaign aimed at reducing discrimination and bullying particularly against young gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or intersex people

Today at 10.30 am at Event Cinemas, Westfield Shopping town, Bondi Junction, Chairman of beyondblue, The Hon. Jeff Kennett, launches a major national awareness campaign aimed at reducing discrimination and bullying particularly against young gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or intersex (GLBTI) people.
Mr Kennett said: “It’s unreasonable to think you would discriminate against someone just for being themselves. We don’t want people to feel they have to hide who they are because they fear discrimination, ridicule or violence.
“beyondblue research shows that, discrimination and bullying are major contributing factors to depression and anxiety, and risk of suicide. The GLBTI community, in particular, faces widespread discrimination which contributes to much higher rates of anxiety and depression than in the general population.
“GLBTI people are at least two to three times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than the broader population and are at greater risk of suicide and self-harm. Almost half hide their sexuality or gender identity in a range of situations fearing violence or discrimination – with young people aged 16 to 24 years more likely to do so than any other age group.
“This is why beyondblue, together with Movember, has contributed $1.5 million to this major national antidiscrimination and stigma-reduction campaign which includes cinema ads, TV, print and outdoor ads, and personal video stories from GLBTI people who have experienced depression and anxiety as a result of discrimination. The ads and videos can also be seen on beyondblue’s website, Facebook and Youtube pages.
The ads focus on the outdated practice of past generations which forced children who were born left-handed to use their right hand, as this was deemed to be ‘correct’.
Mr Kennett said: “Now it seems ludicrous that adults tried to make left-handed children conform to what they considered was the ‘right way’ of doing things. This campaign draws a parallel and makes us question if our society isn’t doing exactly the same thing to people whose sexuality or gender identification is different. Is it all right to be left-handed? Of course. Is it all right to be gay or lesbian? Of course.”
Although the campaign is aimed at young men, the message is expected to have cut through to the broader mainstream community.
beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell AO said: “For our first 12 years, beyondblue focused on raising awareness of depression and anxiety. For the next decade, we will continue to raise awareness, but we will focus more on reducing discriminatory and stigmatising, behaviour and attitudes that cause people real psychological distress which can lead to depression, anxiety and suicide.
“This phase of the campaign aims to change attitudes and behaviour towards gay, lesbian, bi, trans and intersex people, however, the big picture of our ongoing campaign will work towards reducing discrimination and stigma across the board, including amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, culturally and linguistically diverse populations and everyone who has depression and anxiety – because discrimination, shame and stigma often stop people from getting help.
“Things need to change. We want everyone in Australia to STOP the discrimination, THINK about how comments you make could cause real distress and harm, and RESPECT people who are different from you,” Ms Carnell said.
Besides the ads, briefing packs for health professionals, community service organisations and schools will be distributed nationally to assist people working in these areas to be more inclusive of GLBTI people and more respectful and understanding of issues faced by this population group.
beyondblue has developed this campaign in close consultation with national leaders of the GLBTI community and Movember. The cinemas ads will run until Christmas and, the TV ads will be seen on an ongoing basis with the support of media organisations. High res dub of cinema ad will be sent by Adstream to TV stations – key number BBL0003/120.