Professor Paula Gerber, from the Faculty of Law at Monash University discusses the importance of National Coming Out Day in 2021.
“Having laws that protect LGBTIQ from discrimination is just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle. We also need to raise awareness and change attitudes,” Professor Gerber said.
“Some people might think that now same-sex couples can marry, there is no longer any need for a National Coming Out Day. But young LGBTIQ people today continue to suffer significant mental health problems because of the discrimination and vilification they still experience. Sometimes this is even sanctioned by law, for example, in religious schools.”
“COVID-19 makes National Coming Out Day more important than ever. Connection to community and peer support have been found to have an important protective effect for LGBTIQ people, who are at higher risk of suicide and self-harm. Restrictions and lockdowns, which are necessary public health measures, increase the isolation of LGBTIQ people, sometimes in homes with family members who are not accepting of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
“There is a lot more Australia can do to increase respect for LGBTIQ people, including more protection for children in same-sex families, allowing donor siblings to find and know each other, raising education and awaress about bisexuality and banning gender normalising surgery on intersex children.”