This IDAHOBIT day, it’s never been more important to support young CALD LGBTQIA+ communities
The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) is a crucial reminder of the importance of supporting young culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) LGBTQIA+ communities. With two out of three LGBTQIA+ youth experiencing abuse due to their identity and anti-trans activists featuring heavily in the media in recent months, many LGBTQIA+ individuals face increased stress and challenges. CALD LGBTQIA+ youth, in particular, may struggle with intersectionality and accessing mental health support services.
The Australian LGBTQIA+ Multicultural Council (AGMC) has raised concerns about the mental health challenges that CALD LGBTQIA+ youth face, particularly when living in unsupportive family environments. Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, Research Lead at AGMC and co-author of the report “Navigating Intersectionality: Multicultural Multifaith Victorians Talk About Discrimination and Affirmation”, emphasises the need to reach out to these individuals and provide them with the necessary support.
Though CALD youth are just as likely to be LGBTQIA+ as others, they often find themselves left out of mainstream LGBTQIA+ support services. This issue is not limited to mental health support; emergency communications, such as COVID responses and health checks, have also faced difficulties reaching multicultural populations.
There is a real need for tailored communications and support for LGBTQIA+ communities in relation to mental health services. Coming out can be particularly challenging for CALD youth due to potential hostility from their communities and difficulty accessing available support.
Emily Unity, a queer Asian individual working in the mental health space, highlights the importance of understanding intersectional identities in mental health services. According to Emily, both LGBTQIA+ and CALD individuals have a higher risk of developing mental health issues due to experiences of discrimination and isolation. However, current mental health care services often cater to Western audiences, which can result in discrimination against multicultural identities.
For many queer individuals, family acceptance is a significant concern, and adding a cultural layer to this issue can make it even more complex. Emily emphasises the need for mental health care services to become more inclusive, accessible, and educated for an increasingly diverse population.
The purpose of IDAHOBIT is to raise awareness about the discrimination and violence faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals, promote equality, and drive societal change toward a more inclusive and accepting environment. This IDAHOBIT day, let us unite and amplify our efforts to create tailored communication and support systems for CALD LGBTQIA+ youth. By ensuring they have access to the resources and help they need, we can foster a society that celebrates diversity and empowers every individual, regardless of their background or identity.
If you need urgent support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14