Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Writting Themselves in Again

This is the summary of the key findings from the 'Writing themselves in again' report on the sexuality, health and well-being of same sex attracted young people in Australia.

1749 australian young queer people answered the survey.

I have sumarised the finding of this report and put them into a slide show, 1st slide pictured left. To be shown by our school Q+A group at a staff meeting.

About Your Sexual Feelings:

Key finding:
•Young women were more likely to identify as bisexual or no label than men
•More than a third of young people realised their sexual differences very early in their lives. (over half of young men and women cited realising they were not heterosexual before the age of 14)
•There was no relationship between age at first realization of sexual feelings, current attraction and gender of sexual partner.
•Once young people reframed their experiences oh homophobia as an issue of bullying and not of truths about themselves, they were more likely to feel better about being same sex attracted.

About Your Sexual Behaviour
Key findings:
•SSAY (Same sex attracted Young People) were more likely to be sexually active earlier than their Year 10 and 12 peers in secondary school
•SSA were more likely to be having sex that matched their sexual attraction in 1998.
•65% used a condom at their last penetrative encounter (58% of young women and 68% young men)
•10% reported being diagnosed with an ATI
•11% of young women had been pregnant (one third of these women identify as being attracted exclusively to their own gender), 10% of the 15-18 year old sub-sample
•6% reported having been diagnosed with some form of hepatitis

How do People Treat you?

Key Findings:
•38% of participants reported unfair treatment on the basis of their sexuality
•44% reported verbal abuse and 16% reported physical abuse because of their sexuality (figures are largely unchanged since the 1998 report)
•School was the most dangerous place for young people to be with 74% of young people who were abused experiencing this abuse at school (80% young men, 48% young women)

Impact of Discrimination and abuse

Key Findings:
•Homophobic abuse has a profound impact on young peoples well-being
ØThose who had suffered abuse felt less safe at school, home, on social occasions and sport
ØThose who had experience abuse were more likely to self-harm, report a sexually transmissible infection and use a range of legal and illegal drugs
ØYoung people felt the most safe at home and the least safe at sporting events

About your drug use

Key findings
•In 2004, the reported use of all drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, part drugs and heroin was down on reported use in 1998 (percentage of young people who had injected drugs dropped from 11% to 4%)
•Drugs remain substantially higher than for heterosexual youth, for example, over double the number of SSAY have injected drugs
•There remains a significant relationship between homophobic abuse and drug use
•Drug use serves a number of important functions in these peoples lives.

Disclosure and Support

Key Findings
•Support from all confidants was higher in 2004 than it was in 1998
•Young people who had support felt significantly better about their sexuality
•There was an increase in support from teachers and student welfare coordinators in 2004
•Almost three quarters of young people had spoken to someone on the internet about their sexuality

Sex education information

•The internet was the most important source of information about homophobia and discrimination (71%), gay (73%) and Lesbian (60%) relationships and gay (69%) and lesbian (54) safe sex
•80% of these SSAY found sex education at school to be useless or fairly useless, while 20% found it to be useful


Anonymous said...

Kath, if you were to randomly pick a high school and randomly pick a senior from that high school, do you think they would be open about their sexuality? Is the 10% Queer statistic present there?

Kath said...

what? I've got no idea what you're saying?
These information in this report came from 14 to 21 year old's all over Australia. It was an ellective survey. I t was a project that advirtised and same sex attracted students responded by completing the survey. They received 130 invalid surveys, surveys weer considered to be ivalid if they were icomplete, homophobic or replicated

Anonymous said...

You misunderstood me.

I was merely questioning the honesty and openness young queers are since they are surrounded by hostility. With the exception of some schools, I would think most Queers would remain fairly closeted, even if the survey was optional.

Kath said...

Yes with this survey you didn’t necessarily have to come out to do, it was confidential and well advertised.

I have no doubt that a significant number of the students who completed the survey remained in the closet.

It's hard to know in general how many queer students come out. Many of the queers I know in high school found that by the time they were in their senior years being in the closet was just too hard. It takes a lot of energy to hide and if you've been hiding for several years, by you final year there’s a "well I'm leaving next year anyway" mentality. Of course my interpretation is skewed because most of the queers I know are political and this can give them both more strength to come out and more motivation.

A lot of people wait till university before they come out, when they come into contact with student unions and queer departments. This may mean that queers who don’t go to university are missing out on vital support.

YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO HIDE TO FEEL SAFE! Yet we know this is sadly a reality for many queers. I have huge amounts of respects for open queers, particularly those in younger year levels. Coming out should not be some big scary step, but it is. I think young open queer high school students are incredibly brave, and I wish I’d had an ounce of their bravery when I was younger.

It's interesting that home was where most queers felt safest, but family was the last person queers came out to if they came out to them at all.

Anonymous said...