Young gay men in Australia face disproportionate challenges

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New research from the Monash University Center for Youth Policy and Education Practice has found that young gay men in Australia face disproportionate challenges compared to their heterosexual peers in key areas such as education, health and employment.

A comprehensive survey of over five hundred young Australians aged 18-24, and in-depth interviews with another 30, covered areas such as education, employment, technology, health and wellbeing, finance, housing, civic engagement and the impact of COVID-19.

The findings reveal that more urgent action is needed to ensure safe and inclusive communities, and offer particularly stark insights into three key areas: mental health and wellbeing, education and employment.

Among a long list of findings from the report released today, Queer Young People in Australia: Insights from the 2021 Australian Youth Barometer, researchers found that queer youth:

  • are 33% more likely to experience significant stress from interacting with other students than cisgender/straight youth
  • are 21% less likely to feel like they belong at school than cisgender/straight youth
  • are 85% more likely to feel pessimistic or very pessimistic about having a meaningful job
  • are 1.4 times more likely to rate their own mental health as poor or very poor
  • were 71% more likely to have sought but not received mental health support in the past two years

The report’s co-author, Professor Lucas Walsh, said that by documenting the disproportionate challenges faced by young gay men, the report aims to highlight how these experiences reflect wider systemic influences in our society.

Prof Lucas says more needs to be done by all levels of government urgently.

“While young gay men are well aware of the challenges facing their community, their concerns are not being heard, particularly by the Australian government and particularly during this election. We must do more to create safer schools and provide mental health services, health and wellness support,” he says.

Blake Cutler, the report’s lead author and a researcher at the Center for Youth Policy and Education Practice, says schools should be places of care and safety where young people can thrive, and yet for many that’s not the case.

“For many young gay men, schools are places where they regularly experience harassment and discrimination. These negative experiences contribute to poorer well-being outcomes, and young gay men face significant challenges when they’re accessing health and mental health care that’s critical to being gay affirming. Solving these issues is the responsibility of all of us,” Cutler said.

For the purposes of the survey, queer youth shared the terms they use to refer to themselves. Subsequently, the researchers did not consider it appropriate to misrepresent or omit their self-identification by using some form of LGBTIQA+ acronym in the article, using the term “queer” to refer to young people who use a or more of the identities. represented within and beyond the acronym LGBTIQA+.

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More information:
Young gay men in Australia: insights from the Australian Youth Barometer 2021. … h_Barometer/19719532

Provided by Monash University

Quote: Queer young people in Australia face disproportionate challenges (2022, May 30) retrieved May 30, 2022 from

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