Calls for more support for trans youth after mental health report

Western Australian MPs and other organisations are working towards finding further support for trans and gender diverse youth after a new report from the Telethon Kids Institute.

The Trans Pathways study has found trans young people are at high risk for suicide and are approximately 10 times more likely than other young Australians to experience serious depression and anxiety.

Speaking with OUTinPerth, Premier Mark McGowan said the figures are disturbing.

The Premier said his government was assisting trans youth through support of marriage equality, a commitment to the Safe Schools Coalition anti-bullying program, and renewed funding for mental health organisations.

“We’re doing everything in our power to promote harmony, and equality, and understanding.” McGowan said.

“We’ve just announced funding for mental health programs that deal with these issues.”

“Being an adolescent is hard enough without feeling marginalised.”

Greens MLC and mental health spokesperson Alison Xamon also expressed her concern for the trans and gender diverse community, particularly in Australia’s current political climate.

“On every measure for mental health and risk of suicide Trans children were identified at being at significant risk,” Xamon said.

“Considering how vile and transphobic the current ads opposing marriage equality are proving to be it is clear that now is the time we need to ensure the urgent wellbeing of our trans children is upheld.

Xamon said the research identified one of the key reasons for compromised mental health wellbeing was the ongoing discrimination and lack of acceptance experienced by trans children by the community.

“This is one of the key reasons that important programs like Safe Schools were created in the first place – to raise awareness of the needs of Trans people and to encourage respect and inclusion within our schools and the broader community,” she said.

“We also need to urgently re-evaluate the amount of funding which is being made available to programs such as the PMH Gender Diversity Clinic which simply cannot meet up with the demand for their services.

“Considering how at risk these children are, this can never be acceptable.”

Equal Opportunity Commissioner welcomes Trans Pathways report

Western Australian Acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner Dr John Byrne said the Trans Pathways report was a valuable step in the right direction for transgender equality.

Byrne said the report documented compelling research, such as statistics showing trans young people identified the main drivers for poor mental health as discrimination (68.9%), bullying (74%), issues with education centres (78.9%) and peer rejection (89%).

“These statistics indicate a clear need for greater community acceptance of transgender issues, especially when it comes to vulnerable young people transitioning,” Byrne said.

He said it was a misconception among many that gender identity was simply a lifestyle choice.

“This report supports the need for trans young people to have access to the same rights as other young people, namely access to education, shelter, services and protection from discrimination.”

Dr Byrne said the Commission had worked extensively with public and independent schools as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) support groups to produce a set of guidelines to help support vulnerable LGBTI youth.

“The Commission’s Guidelines for supporting sexual and gender diversity in schools, as well as the extensive information found in the Trans Pathways report, can help the community better support transitioning youth.

“I would like to see the Western Australian community, in particular, embrace this information to stop trans youth from facing discrimination, bullying and any other barriers to them leading happy and healthy lives,” Byrne said.

OIP Staff

Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyondblue: and

QLife: and
QLife are a counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

If you are looking for organisations that support trans youth and their families OUTinPerth recommends:

Transfolk WA a peer support group for transgender people.

The Freedom Centre Perth LGBTIQ+ youth centre, located in Northbridge.

PFLAG The Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, is also inclusive of transgender issues and welcomes the parents and friends of trans people.

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