ACYP’s mandate, under the Advocate for Children and Young People Act (2014) is to consult with children and young people from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences, as well as to give priority to the interests and needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people.
Throughout ACYP’s ongoing consultations with children and young people, it became clear that young people who identify as LGBTQIA+ experience particular vulnerabilities, and ACYP’s research in development of the NSW Strategic Plan for Children and Young People 2022-2024 revealed this group experienced poorer outcomes across a variety of measures.
As a result, in 2022 ACYP conducted face to face and online consultations with 233 LGBTQIA+ identifying young people over a six month period. They were asked a series of questions about their experiences in education and work and with health and mental health services; their ‘coming out’ experiences, whether they had experienced stigma, discrimination and violence and what advice they had for NSW Government to improve the lives of LGBTQIA+ young people.
The findings in this report are confronting. While many young people who identify as LGBTQIA+ were great supports to one another and sought out opportunities to celebrate their identity, they also faced difficulties in navigating communities that did not always accept them. While they have seen positive changes in recent years, LGBTQIA+ young people continue to face bullying, homophobia, and in some cases violence. Others spoke about lack of access to information and health care.
All young people have a right to health, a right to education, a right to be respected and a right to be safe.
The following guides have been developed based on the recommendations of young people throughout this report. They have been designed to help those who work and interact with LGBTQIA+ young people to create a safe, supportive environment. We encourage you to use them and share them with others to build support for LGBTQIA+ young people.