A survey from the Pew Research Center found that the average age that lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual individuals come out, is 20 years old – an age when many are still studying.
LGBTI students face specific risk factors in regards to their mental health and safety. Those who are also international students may, in addition, have specific cultural needs. Research has also shown that many international students have difficulty locating and communicating with support services.
International students should know that in Australia, there are many different kinds of support services available to LGBTI individuals.
Click on the links below to find out more about being LGBTI in Australia and the support services available to you.
What is Australia like for LGBTI people?
If you haven’t yet arrived in Australia, you may be curious about what your experience as an LGBTI individual will be. While it’s difficult to generalise, there are a few important things to know.
In Australia, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 makes it against the law to discriminate against a person on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.
While discrimination is illegal, a report from the National LGBTI Health Alliance found that acceptance of LGBTI people varies from place to place, with acceptance of diverse sexuality and gender being generally higher in more metropolitan areas. And, like many places in the world, there are still specific issues that LGBTQI in Australia people face to a greater degree than the general population. The same report found that these issues can include; harassment, rejection from family and friends, alcohol and substance misuse, experiences of violence and experiences of discrimination in the workplace and at school.
What support services are available from educational institutions?
The type of support systems available to LGBTI students varies from institution to institution.
The Australian LGBTI Uni Guide is a terrific resource that enables you to compare the ways in which Australian universities cater to the needs of their LGBTI students. The metrics used include things like; ‘inclusive policies, staff training and the availability of information, resources, and support’.
While many universities have improved their services for LGBTI students in recent years, some have also been criticised for not doing enough. If you find that the institution you attend does not cater to your needs, please check out the links below.
Where can I find culturally specific support services?
Some LGBTI international students face specific issues relating to their culture, beliefs and the attitudes of their families and friends. If you’re looking for support services that are sensitive to your cultural needs, or would just like to engage with other LGBTI students from similar backgrounds, ReachOut.com has assembled this list of Culturally diverse LGBTIQ support services available in each state and territory.
What general support services are available?
To find out what’s available in different Australian state and territories, please see ReachOut.com’s list of LGBTIQ support services.
If you’re in need of help right now, please call:
- Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or,
- Lifeline on 13 11 14