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    Diverse Sexuality and Gender

    It is estimated that people of Diverse Sexuality of Gender (DSG) comprise 2-3% of the Australian population.  Whilst many live within major cities, people of DSG reside in every region of the State. Like all communities, the DSG is not a homogenous group, with considerable diversity in terms of age, income, employment status, education levels, religious beliefs, cultural heritage and family structure.

    Although progress has been made in recent decades, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people continue to be excluded to varying degrees within Western Australia. This exclusion pervades many aspects of our culture and society, however is also defined by the formal and systematic inequalities that exist within legislation at both Commonwealth and State level.

    The effects of this exclusion on the DSG community are evident through various indicators. Recent studies report consistently high rates of heterosexist violence, abuse and discrimination against people of DSG, whilst the prevalence of associated self-harm, suicide, depression, and alcohol and drug abuse within the DSG community is higher than that reported within the general population.

    Despite great demand, the small number of Diverse Sexuality and Gender support services that currently exist in WA receive very little funding and are often forced to rely upon volunteers to achieve the outcomes they do.

    Given the serious prevalence of discrimination and associated high suicide and mental health rates outlined above, it is evident that government commitment is required in order to foster a safer environment for the DSG community. Addressing this issue requires a two-fold approach: urgent need exists for a range of support services for the DSG community itself; whilst training and education in relation to sexuality and gender issues for the community, business, government and services is also required in order to foster movement towards an environment of safety, respect and equality for all Western Australians regardless of their sexuality or gender preference.

    Links:

    Gay and Lesbian Community Services (GLCS)

    1. Diverse Sexuality and Gender - WACOSS Issues Paper 2011-12 Oct 2010
      file (368.52 KB)