Kate Carnell
Kate Carnell

The Gillard government’s new anti discrimination bill sends a strong message in support of the LGBTI community.

beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell has commended the Gillard Government on the introduction of its anti-discrimination legislation to protect the rights of gay lesbian bisexual trans and intersex people.

“The passing of the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill will ensure that LGBTI people have the same protection as everyone else under Commonwealth law – and why shouldn’t that be the case?

“Discriminating against people on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status is wrong and it’s time it stopped,” she said.

beyondblue research shows that both subtle and overt prejudice, discrimination and bullying are major contributing factors to the much higher rates of depression and anxiety amongst LGBTI people. Ms Carnell said that LGBTI people are two to three times more likely to experience anxiety and depression than the broader community and are at greater risk of suicide and self-harm.

“It’s distressing to hear that almost half of LGBTI people hide their sexuality or gender identity in a range of situations for fear of violence or discrimination – with young people aged 16 to 24 years more likely to do so than any other age group.

“Over the last few years, beyondblue has been collaborating with leaders of the LGBTI community to develop an awareness campaign aimed at reducing discrimination.

“Launched in 2012, the Stop Think Respect campaign focuses attention on how unreasonable it is to discriminate against people just for being themselves. It draws a parallel with the ludicrous notion of discriminating against people for being left-handed. It happened in the past, but it wouldn’t happen now.

beyondblue does not condone discrimination or bullying of any kind, not only because it is unacceptable, but because it can lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide. And it’s not OK, under any circumstances, to discriminate against people especially because of their sexuality, sex or gender.

“We want people to stop, think and respect. Stop the discrimination, think about how comments you make could cause real harm and respect people who are different from you,” Ms Carnell said.