Private Lives 3* is Australia’s largest national survey of the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people. It was developed in
consultation with representatives from across states and territories as well as different sections of the LGBTIQA+ communities. Western Australians comprised 9.8% of all participants, which is representative of the state’s general population. Most LGBTIQA+ Australians are happy and healthy but are over-represented among those with poorer mental health. Our anticipation and fear of stigma, discrimination, abuse, violence, and exclusion exacerbate these health outcomes.
We know that this has an economic impact. A more supportive environment for LGBTIQA+ people would directly benefit the state government and businesses.
A whole-of-government strategy to eliminate discrimination and disadvantage, planned in collaboration with LGBTIOA+ communities Policy and programs that address the needs of LGBTIQA+ people require appropriate expertise and infrastructure.
The involvement of LGBTIQA+ organisations that are already contributing to this important work is vital to self-determination. However, government support, where it has occurred, has been disparate and piecemeal. We recommend the establishment of an LGBT10.44- portfolio based on the Victorian/Tasmanian model, with funding that allows LGBTIQA+ services to build capacity and plan for the long term.
Despite commitments outlined in policy platforms, there has been little substantive progress on LGBTIQA+ law and other reforms by successive state governments. There was strong support across all survey participants for the following reforms to be addressed with urgency:
- Strengthening anti-discrimination protections to protect all LGBTIQA+ people and remove exemptions for faith-based organisations.
- Ending conversion and similar practices that seek to change or suppress sexual orientation or gender identity and ensuring support for survivors.
- Ensuring trans and gender diverse people can easily update their documents for legal gender recognition without the need for medical or surgical treatment.
- Prohibiting deferrable medical interventions performed on people born with intersex variations without their consent.
- Ensuring surrogacy laws do not discriminate against male couples and singles so that children have the security of legal recognition of their parents.
- Investing in LGBTIQA+ health and wellbeing to reduce social, economic and health disparities.
Walk the talk
- Over three quarters were treated unfairly because of their gender identity
- Less than half felt their sexuality or gender identity was respected in mainstream services
- Less than half of trans and gender diverse people felt they were easily able to access gender-affirming care
- Over 60% of people with an intersex variation/s had experienced an occasion where they felt they did not have sufficient say over medical decisions that related to them.
- Almost a quarter had experienced homelessness (higher for trans and gender diverse people)
- More than 10% had recently struggled to manage their alcohol/drug use
- More than a third had a disability or long-term health condition, with many being treated unfairly by others because of it
- More than a third residing in regional locations rated their health as ‘poor’ or ‘fair’
- Participants from multicultural backgrounds were more likely to report very high levels of psychological distress.
- Less than one third rated their health as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ (lower for trans and gender diverse people) compared to more than half of the general population
- More than half reported high levels of psychological distress
- Almost three quarters had considered suicide at some point during their lives – almost a third had attempted it
- Trans and gender diverse people had higher rates of psychological distress, suicidal ideation and attempts overall.