We should make young people feel safe every day

The deadline has passed to enrol to vote on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry in Australia.

Australians will soon be asked to post their votes and have their say on whether or not others are free to marry the person they love.

The Bendigo Advertiser is of the view the postal vote is unnecessary. We have already called for our community to reach out and support their LGBTI friends and family during what is proving to be a difficult and painful period for them.

It’s important we keep doing this.

Today, we hear of same-sex and gender diverse young people who fear for their safety because of this debate.

We already know discrimination increases the risk of mental health issues and suicide.

Mental Health organisation beyondblue says: LGBTI people experience higher rates of depression and anxiety, and are at greater risk of suicide, than the broader community. This is not due to their sexuality or gender identity, but because of the discrimination and prejudice they too often face.

Same-sex attracted Australians are three times more likely to experience depression, and twice as likely to experience an anxiety condition, than heterosexual Australians. One in six LGBTI young people has attempted suicide.

We cannot continue to put lives at risk because of prejudice. It is up to all of us to keep our LGBTI community safe.

Today is Wear it Purple day – a day where people are encouraged to show their support and foster safe and supportive environments for LGBTI young people.  

While we encourage our readers to embrace the day, we ask them to do so every day – and create a world where all young people feel physically and emotionally safe and supported.

Nicole Ferrie, editor