The internet as a safety-Net for same sex attracted young people

‘It’s just easier’ The Internet as a safety-Net for same sex attracted young people
AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH CENTRE IN SEX, HEALTH AND SOCIETY

Click for full PDF version: “It’s just easier” Internet use report

Lynne Hillier, Chyloe Kurdas & Philomena Horsley
DECEMBER 2001
This work was funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health & Aged Care. ARCSHS is a collaborating centre to the National Centre in HIV Social Research.
>NHMRC ii © Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Publisher. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be directed to the Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society, La Trobe University, 1/215 Franklin St, Melbourne, VIC 3000. December 2001. Melbourne, Australia: La Trobe University, Australia: 3000. Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society (ARCSHS)
Tel: +61 3 92855382
Fax: +61 3 92855220
Email: arcshs@latrobe.edu.au
http://www.latrobe.edu.au/arcshs
http://www.latrobe.edu.au/ssay/
Monograph series number 29
ISBN : 1 8644 6559 X
Cover design: Anthony Muscat iii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We would like to thank Jan Watson, Jenny Walsh, Michael Crowhurst, Bernadette Roberts, Anne Mitchell, Lyn Harrison, Debbie Ollis, Deb Currin, Sue Dyson and Sarah Russell for their insightful comments on earlier drafts of this report.

Thanks also to the following people: Deborah Dempsey for her work in the early stages of the project, Emma Hopton for coordinating its production, Marian Pitts and other staff at ARCSHS who assisted with the project.

We want to acknowledge the important role of the SSAY Reference group that provided valuable advice in the formulation of the questionnaire and at many stages of the project (members are listed in Appendix II).

We thank the chatroom moderators for their support in recruiting and linking sites and the many organisations Australia-wide who assisted our work by promoting the research to young people.

We particularly want to thank the young people who contributed their thoughts and experiences to the project and shared such important and personal aspects of their lives with us.

Our gratitude goes to Anthony Muscat who provided us with the design for the cover of this report. Anthony is a year 12 student at South Oakleigh Secondary College in Melbourne who originally hails from a small country town in Victoria. Anthony’s passion for design and art work produced such an original and striking design. Thank you to Simon Kwok, Infographics Pty Ltd for production layout.

REFERENCE
Darnell, R. et. al. 1997, Html 4. Sams Net Publishing: Indianapolis COMPLILED BY CHYLOE KURDIS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This report explores the use of the Internet by same sex attracted young people (SSAY). Internet access is increasing in Australian homes at a rapid rate, with more than 75% of young people under the age of 18 years accessing the Net in 1999. Yet little is known about the specific ways in which young people generally, and same sex attracted young people in particular, use the Net for friendship, information and recreation.

This report further develops certain issues raised in previous national research (Hillier et al, 1998) which documented the extent to which same sex attracted young people are denied support and information about their sexuality, and the verbal and physical abuse they experienced in many areas of their life in Australia.

A questionnaire was designed for on-line completion at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society (ARCSHS) SSAY website. The young people participating in this research were, for the most part, recruited directly via promotion strategies on the Net. In total, 206 valid questionnaires were submitted via the website. Of these 151 (73.3%) were male, 52 (25.2%) were female and 3 (1.5%) were transgender young people. The average age was 18 years and all states and territories were represented as well as urban, regional and rural areas.

SEXUALITY AND INTERNET USE
We asked young people about the broad purpose of their Net use: 25% used the Internet for work and 54% used it for study, 70% used it for general leisure and 86% used it for sexuality-related leisure. Young people’s main reason for the latter use was to gain support and affirmation for their sexual feelings. About half of the young people also used the Net to access information about sexuality and safe sex. A smaller number used the Net for more directly related sexual purposes, such as a arousal before sex, Cybersex and/or to meet someone in Real Life (RL).

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE NET
Eight-five percent of the young people reported that the Net played an important role in putting them in touch with others like them and 70% felt it played an important role in reducing their isolation. It offered a sense of community and support, especially when young people felt depressed or suicidal at some point (nearly 50%). Two-thirds of the young people found the Net important or very important to them in accessing sexual health information, and 62% of young men and 26% of young women found it important in facilitating Real Life contact and friendship with other SSAY.

We asked the participants how they felt about their sexuality and 65% felt ‘great’ or ‘pretty good’ about it, which is slightly higher than our previous research. While we cannot directly compare this sample with our previous research, the findings of this report suggest that the Net is playing a vital role in supporting the development or maintenance of a positive sexual identity in these young people as well as providing them with a strong sense of community.

FAVOURITE THINGS ABOUT THE NET
What young people liked most about the Net was communicating with other young people like them. They used the Net to make new contacts, especially via gay chatrooms, and to keep them in touch with existing friends.

COMING OUT ON THE NET AND IN REAL LIFE

Coming out in Real Life is often not a comfortable or safe experience for SSAY, and research suggests this is a time of heightened risk for suicide of young people in this situation. We found that nearly half of the young people had told ‘everyone’ on the Net about their sexual identity and almost all (90%) had told at least one person they met on the Net. People in Real Life were less likely to be told by SSAY than those on-line. Young people also found the quality of support on the Net to be better, with most finding it ‘very supportive’ (62%) or ‘mostly supportive’ (22%). The Net also clearly provides an important ‘rehearsal space’ for coming out in Real Life.

WHY THE NET AND NOT REAL LIFE
We were interested in the qualities that Net life offered, how these differed from Real Life, and what either encouraged or inhibited an openness about sexuality among young people. Young people reported that it was ‘just easier’ on the Net, with its coexistent qualities of distance and intimacy. Communication about sexuality on the Net was more likely to be comfortable, safe and companionable. Inhabitants of the Net were often experienced as more diverse, less judgemental, and more open, worldly and sophisticated than people in Real Life.

The Net enabled access to same sex attracted young people of all ages and allowed young people to live their sexuality in a ‘normalised’ way. Real Life was a place in which most young people were hesitant to entrust their sexual identities, and Real Life encounters often loomed as threatening experiences. However, many young people yearned to live their authentic selves in a Real Life context and some found the discrepancy between their preferred ‘Net identity’ and their camouflaged ‘Real Life identity’ an uncomfortable and disconcerting experience.

LIFE WITHOUT THE INTERNET?
We asked young people how their life would change if they were without the Internet. The vast majority responded that life would be altered in a negative way, and for some it would profoundly difficult. Those who felt they would be least affected were those who were currently relatively open about their sexuality in Real Life and to some extent connected to gay and lesbian networks. For others the proposition created an emphatic sense of distress and terms such as ‘isolated’, ‘lonely’ and ‘desperate’ were frequently used. Despite significant proportions of young people feeling good or great about their sexuality, most clearly depended to some significant degree on the support from their virtual community.

MEETING PEOPLE OFF THE NET
Seventy-five percent of the young people, proportionally more young men than women, had organised to meet someone in Real Life after first contacting them on the Net. Friendship (42%), a date (34%), sex (14%) and shared interests (8%) were the reasons for their last meeting of this kind. Some meetings were problematic – failed arrangements, misrepresentations and mismatches of expectations – but rarely traumatic. Most meetings were a positive experience for young people.

HEALTH AND SAFETY ON THE NET
Current adult concerns about Net use by young people include: their exposure to undesirable information and people, loss of ability to relate in Real Life, and time-wasting. Many SSAY who participated (58%) had had concerns about their own Internet use at some point, primarily concerned with escapism from RL and the addictive nature of the Net. Chatroom harassment was reported, particularly by boys, as was discomfort when stumbling across homophobic websites. Others experienced discomfort when they heard about other people’s negative life experiences but could do nothing to help. However young people clearly had a number of strategies that they employed to protect themselves from hurtful or threatening situations either on the Net or when meeting in Real Life.

GENDERED INTERNET USE
There has been little attention paid to gender in research involving same sex attracted young people over the last decade, with many studies focussing only on boys, particularly those looking at youth suicide. Our research suggests that young women were using the Internet in different ways to young men: they were less likely to meet in RL, less likely to use the Net for sex-related activities and more reluctant to use the Net for contacts and support. However, there was a significant percentage of young women who did all of these things and when they did the outcome was very rewarding for them.

UniSA Pride Club

University of South Australia

Universiry South Australia Pride

 

Who are we?

UniSA Pride Club is a friendly social group aims to provide support(s) to UniSA students of all ages who are wondering about their sexuality and/or people who are newly identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or gender diverse university students. However, the club welcomes all students and non-students regardless of your age, gender, sexuality, race, nationality or disability to join us and stay in touch with our latest events and activities. We are all human-beings with a pair of eyes, a nose, a mouth and etc. None of us should discriminate or stereotype anyone due to their abilities, histories or experiences. Any forms of discrimination or harassment are definitely prohibited anytime, anywhere and anyhow.

We are supported by?

UniSA pride club is going to work collaboratively with the Learning and Teaching Unit (LTU) student counsellors, Adelaide University Pride Club, Bfriend (United Care Wesley) and other same-sex friendly community in order to provide sufficient information, joint activities and social supports based on individual needs. We are going to have more activities in a few months ahead to enhance social interaction and connection. (eg: barbecue, group dinner gathering, parties, pub crawl and etc.)

What do we offer?

UniSA Pride Club is a social group that offers support physically (chill-out and have drinks with other club members/peers) and as well as psychologically (the counsellors) to every of our members whenever needed. If you are struggling with some sort of difficulties in life about your sexuality or other matters, we welcome you to drop us a call or alternatively you are more than welcome to send us an email and we have our professional counsellors ready to go through the process together with you. We understand the importance of companion especially when things go wrong at certain stage in life. It could be very painful but it’s always good to have someone to talk about it rather than carrying the burden alone by yourself.

We are aware that some of you might concern about the confidentiality issue. Here’s a way of keeping you feel safe. The club provides several types of counselling session. You can either ring us up (telephone counselling) or email us (email counselling). Anyway will do and you DO NOT have to include/use your real name/identity if you don’t comfortable to do so. Through these modes of counselling sessions, confidentiality is not really a big concern anymore as the client and counsellor doesn’t know each other and they have never met personally. Professional relationship will be maintain throughout the period unless the client (you) wish to terminate the counselling session and do not wish to continue further.

These services are free-of-charge so please do not hesitate to ring us at 0451 131 886 (6pm-10pm-Monday to Thursday) or email us via unisa.pride.club@hotmail.com (anytime). ALL emails will be replied within 24 hours.

Safe Sex…..

This is a very serious issue where we would like to get across. Please stay safe when practising sex regardless you trust them or not. Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are on the rise. It is better to be safe than ‘sorry’. Sex is fun and good to enjoy but you have to be really careful and learn to say ‘NO’ whenever you do not feel safe or comfortable with it.

Please let us know via email if you need any information about sexual health test or any other information about your sexuality. We are here to support you and please do not be afraid of us as we are all very open-minded and friendly. We will do as much as we can and let’s walk through the journey together.

Other forms of contact?

Alternatively, you can contact us via:

 

How do we communicate?

The club will be using email and Facebook as two important modes of communication with the members. Any latest updates will be posted on Facebook page and at the same time all members will be notified by an email sent by the club as well. Please check your email regularly for our latest events updates making sure that you do not miss any of them! :0)

Last but not least…

If you have any questions or queries or if you need any support, please do not hesitate of shy to contact us and we’ll work it out together from there. Life is beautiful mate. Live it! Seize it!

Wish you guys all the best and have a nice day ahead!

Love from,

UniSA Pride Club team

Information on this page courtesy and property of UniLife. Full information can be found at http://unione.unilife.edu.au/Clubs/Club.aspx?CID=278 or by emailing unisa.pride.club@hotmail.com.

Sexual Health Information, Networking & Education South Australia

SHine SA

SHine SA is the lead sexual health agency in South Australia. We work in partnership with government, health, education and community agencies and communities to improve the sexual health and wellbeing of South Australians

SHine SA provides:

  • prevention, promotion and education programs that build the capacity of communities in greatest need
  • professional education programs that build the capacity of workers across all sectors
  • clinical services targeting communities with health inequalities and poor sexual health
  • therapeutic counselling services targeting individuals unable to afford private providers
  • information about sexual health and wellbeing
  • resources and library services accessible to workers and the community
  • opportunities for partnerships with workers, governments and agencies
  • individuals and workers links to relevant services and supports
  • leadership and advocacy for sexual health
  • opportunities for participation by our communities of interest

Counselling
SHine SA offers a therapeutic counselling service provided by professional sexual health counsellors. The service is available to individuals, couples and families.

You can come in to see us on your own or with a partner or support person. It’s up to you.

All services are confidential. (There are exceptions to confidentiality. Please refer to the Client rights pamphlet and discuss with your counsellor.)

Sexual health counsellors:

  • provide therapeutic counselling for a range of sexual health concerns
  • facilitate group sessions
  • provide a consultancy and referral service for workers and clients
  • get involved in community projects, training and health promotion

 

What is therapeutic counselling?

The aim of therapeutic counselling is to help you to become more aware of the options you have to shape your own life and make sense of the difficult periods that you may have experienced. Counsellors at SHine SA have a minimum of two years therapeutic counselling experience and hold an appropriate tertiary qualification. They offer help through empathic, genuine and respectful listening and support. We encourage you to ask about your counsellor’s professional background and approach when you first contact them.

What issues can benefit from counselling?

Counselling is provided for concerns related to sexual health. These include:

  • sexual concerns for women, including pre-orgasmia and vaginismus
  • sexual concerns for men, including erectile or ejaculation difficulties
  • differences in levels of sexual desire (libido)
  • concerns about same-sex attraction / sexual identity
  • sexual issues arising from sexual assault or child sexual abuse
  • not sure what to do about pregnancy
  • termination of pregnancy / post-termination
  • sexual issues associated with disabilities
  • living with sexually transmitted infections

The sexual health counsellor will be able to refer you to another service if there is a more appropriate service for your concerns.

Fees

Rural clients can phone to arrange for a telephone counselling appointment. The counsellor will then call you at the pre-arranged time.

Interpreters
A free interpreting service can be arranged with a male or female interpreter.

Please let us know what you require when booking your appointment.

When are the counsellors available?

A sexual health counsellor is generally available during work hours. The days and times vary for each location, so please contact your local SHine SA team to find out when counselling is available in your area. Some regions may offer evening appointments by negotiation.

There may be a waiting time for appointments, as there is often a high demand for counselling.

However, some issues such as unplanned pregnancy are considered a priority and arrangements will be made to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

If you are unable to attend your appointment please give 24 hours notice and ring to cancel.

At SHine SA you’ll be treated with respect and receive quality health care at all times. For information about your rights as a client of SHine SA see the Client rights leaflet.

Sexual Healthline

The Sexual Healthline is a confidential service, so if you want to talk to someone about your sexual health, but feel more at ease with a telephone conversation than face-to-face contact then contact us on:

Telephone: 1300 883 793
Toll free: 1800 188 171 (country callers only)
An interpreter can be arranged free of charge if required.
And if you prefer to use email, our sexual health nurses are happy to respond to your questions at sexualhealthhotline@health.sa.gov.au.
You can contact the Sexual Healthline about any sexual health issue, including:

  • contraception
  • fertility issues
  • period problems
  • pregnancy options
  • safer sex information
  • sexual health checks
  • sexual relationship problems
  • sexually transmitted infections

The Sexual Healthline nurses are also able to put you in contact with health services in your area if ongoing support is needed.

Education

As the lead sexual health agency in South Australia, SHine SA is responsible for educating the community and professionals about sexual health matters.

Community education

SHine SA’s Primary Health Care Teams offer a range of community education and health promotion activities that are aimed at improving the sexual health of South Australians.

Some of this work includes:

  • providing consultancy on sexual health
  • running workshops and group education sessions
  • youth participation and peer education
  • health promotion

SHine SA’s workers have developed strong links with other organisations and often work in partnership to increase sexual health awareness and promote open discussion. If you would like to know more about how we can help your community, contact your local Primary Health Care Team:

  • East/West team (08) 8300 5300
  • Northern team (08) 8256 0700
  • Southern team (08) 8186 8600

Clinics

The clinical teams at SHine SA include both medical officers and registered nurses who work collaboratively to provide high quality services to their community, including:

  • contraception services
  • pregnancy testing, counselling and referral
  • information on safer sex and sexuality issues
  • screening for breast changes and Pap smears
  • STI testing, management and referral
  • women’s health issues

Making an appointment

To make an appointment contact your nearest SHine SA team:

  • Woodville: 8300 5300
  • Davoren Park: 8256 0700
  • Christies Beach: 8186 8600

Fee

At SHine SA there are no individual consultation fees. An annual up-front service fee of $20 ($10 concession) is payable each year and that’s it. This fee covers clinic and counselling services. Contraceptives and medicines are sold at recommended retail price, or the doctor can write a prescription. Costs can be negotiated if there are financial difficulties.

Interpreters

Free interpreting can be arranged with a male or female interpreter. Please let us know what you require when booking your appointment.

Prescriptions

Prescriptions for contraceptives are available at SHine SA clinics.

Drop-in pregnancy testing

Pregnancy testing is available at each SHine SA regional office, Monday to Friday from 9 am – 4.30 pm. You will be able to see a nurse or doctor as soon as one is available, but sometimes you may have to wait or return at a later time. You may also purchase a test to take home. You will need to bring an early morning urine sample for the test. The pregnancy test is $12.00 (negotiable).

Workforce education

SHine SA’s Workprce Development & Resources team works in partnership with a range of different professionals to increase positive sexual health and relationship outcomes for South Australians by providing education for workers in the community.

We deliver education courses in sexual health and relationships for doctors, nurses and midwives, teachers, youth workers, disability workers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers.

Courses provide the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge and to explore values and attitudes so that professionals can address sexual health and relationship issues within daily work practices with their clients.

Most of our courses have a formal assessment process and are accredited either through the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system or through a South Australian University. This allows participants to negotiate recognition of their Sexual Health certificate as part of a relevant tertiary qualification with their institution.

We also host sexual health networks for specific groups to discuss new developments and to share issues and concerns arising from their work.

For an overview of the training offered see the Workforce Development & Resources leaflet.

For more information see Workforce Development or contact the Workforce Development & Resources team:

Tel: (08) 8300 5317
Email: SHineSACourses@health.sa.gov.au

SHine SA’s work is guided by the following principles:

Jakarta Declaration (1997)

  • increasing community capacity
  • increasing investments for health development
  • promoting responsibility for health
  • expanding partnerships

Ottawa Charter (1986)

  • building healthy public policy
  • creating supportive environments
  • strengthening community action
  • developing personal skills
  • re-orientating health services

Cairo (1994) and Beijing (1995) declarations

  • the rights of individuals to have information, skills, support and services they need to make responsible decisions about their sexuality consistent with their own values.

Information on this page courtesy and property of SHineSA. Full information can be found at www.shinesa.org.au.

Rainbow Family Tree

Rainbow Family TreeRainbow Family Tree is a space for sharing our stories of life, love, family and loss… feel free to explore the parameters of your identity, GLBTI, ‘other’ or ‘ally’… or abandon all socially imposed labels and make up your own!

We’re here to test whether challenging assumptions about gender, sexuality, identity and family can actually contribute to social change? Idealistic as it may sound, the theory is that collectively our stories can make a difference!

So, have a climb around the branches… offer feedback to storytellers or learn how to make your own, participate in discussions on creative process, tech issues, the research project or the educational DVD, and invite your friends to join us!

Things you need to know

Why make a Digital Story?
Because we want to change the world! We believe our stories have the potential to open minds, evoke tears and smiles… and maybe even provoke law reform.

Do I have to become a member?
No! You’re welcome to view our stories… but we’d love you to share them with other people and hear what you think about them… and it’s very easy to sign up so you can participate!

Where do I learn about making digital stories?
Many of the stories on the tree were made in face to face workshops facilitated by Incite Stories. However all the resources you need are available on this site, including downloadable guides and, most importantly, a community of experienced and helpful Digital Storytellers! To start with go to ‘How to make a Digital Story’. We’re keen to see the tree grow so if you’re interested in future face to face or virtual workshops let us know.

What’s all this about a research project about?
‘Digital Storytelling as Everyday Activism’ is a PhD-in-progress being undertaken by Sonja Vivienne, our founding member. She’s keen to hear about your experiences of using personal stories for social change. You can participate by posting anywhere on this site or on our Facebook page.

What’s viral distribution?
The idea is that people will see our stories, be moved by them, and share them with their friends and family members… as well as teachers, doctors, journalists and members of parliament. You can start causing ‘ripples in the pond’ by sharing online. When you watch a story you can ‘like’ it and share it automatically with your Facebook network. Or you can participate in discussion on our Facebook page. If you’d like to connect with other storytellers and larger audiences we’re also on Vimeo and YouTube.

I’m a luddite… where can I get technical help?
Just post us a message on the Rainbow Family Tree moderation page and we’ll try and help!

Can I buy a DVD of the stories?
Some of our stories have been gathered together for use as an educational resource. The ‘What’s your story?’ DVD comes with a facilitator’s guide to assist you in using the stories in training/ educational/ awareness-raising contexts. You can buy them from SHine SA.

Information on this page courtesy and property of the Rainbow Family Tree. Full information can be found at www.rainbowfamilytree.com.

Pinnacle Foundation

The Pinnacle Foundation has been established to provide scholarships to lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, intersex and bisexual youth who are marginalised or disadvantaged. It was set up by a group of friends who saw a big need in the LGBTIQ community that was not being met.

With so much unrealised potential out there we’re about providing financial and mentoring support to LGBTIQ youth who may not be able to achieve their educational or career goals on their own. Pinnacle aims to give young LGBTIQs the chance to achieve their full potential.

No matter what your interest or vocation, we might be able to help. Want to be an actor, musician, doctor or architect? A chef, accountant, lawyer or engineer? Whatever you aspire to, we may be able to offer the financial support and resources to help you get there.

We know that some young LGBTIQs can face a tough time – coming out to their families, friends and schools, with some finding themselves without the money and support needed to keep up their studies. That’s where we come in. We know from our own stories that having completed an education can make a big difference in this world. We know that with hope for the future it’s possible to leave those problems behind and move on to fulfilling and productive lives. We want to help encourage young LGBTIQs to make something of their lives so that they can act as future role models for others. We want to light the spark within!

So we’ve set up The Pinnacle Foundation with the aim of having enough money to fund a number of scholarships every year. In perpetuity, forever, from here to eternity. Pinnacle has the great support of a volunteer base – a bunch of people really committed to creating life-changing opportunities for LGBTIQ youth.

The good news is we are a registered charity with gift deductibility status. That means all your donations over $2 are tax deductible… so give generously!

If you’re into nitty-gritty details, Pinnacle has been established as a public company, limited by guarantee and registered under the Corporations Act 2001 (ACN 127 662 604 and ABN 81 127 662 604).

Information on this page courtesy and property of the Pinnacle Foundation. Full information can be found at www.thepinnaclefoundation.org.

Pink Parents

Pink Parents is a supportive and understanding community of future parents, single parents, couples, toddlers, babies, school-aged kids, extended, blended but importantly inclusive families.

We meet regularly for ‘kid friendly’ events. We also have regular ‘adult’s only’ nights to catch up and talk, support and generally relax in a gay-friendly atmosphere.

We recognise the difficulties that can occur not only with same-sex parenting but with trying to become a parent.

Our History
Pink Parents was formed at Feast Festival, Adelaide’s Gay and Lesbian cultural Festival in 2001. It was formed in recognition of the need for same-sex families to offer support to each other in a climate where legal recognition is not extended to the same-sex community.

The aim of Pink Parents is to provide a comfortable and secure environment for prospective and established families of same-sex attracted couples or individuals.

Run on an entirely voluntarily, basis Pink Parents is open to all prospective and established families and friends of the LGBTI community.

Information on this page courtesy and property of Pink Parents. Full information can be found at http://pinkparents.ning.com/.

PFLAG

PFLAG South Australia

PSP FLAG SA (Parents Supporting Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) is a South Australian Support group for parents and their children who are gay, lesbian or bisexual.

The aim of this group is to help keep families together.

We are all parents of gay, lesbian or bisexual sons and daughters. We have been exactly where you are now and understand how you feel.

The feelings of disbelief, grief, sorrow, guilt and anger we have all experienced at some time. Over a period of time we have found a new deeper understanding of life.

To arrive at this point the road has not been easy but the journey has certainly been worthwhile. Our commitment is to keep families together. We love and care for our gay kids.

If you yourself are gay, lesbian or bisexual and are considering coming out to your parents, friends and family, our group can offer you the support to talk freely and decide which would be the best way to talk to Mum, Dad and friends.

Information courtesy and property of PFLAG South Australia. Full information can be found at www.pflagaustralia.org.au/ or by emailing pspflagsa@hotmail.com.

PFLAG Australia

What is PFLAG?
PFLAG stands for Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays. We are a non-profit voluntary organisation whose members have a common goal of keeping families together. PFLAG is here to give help, support and information to families, friends of all gay people.

Who are we?
We are the parents and friends of gay and lesbian people who are a part of our community. Some of our families may be large, some small. Some of us are married, some divorced, some single. Our occupations are a varied as our personalities and educational levels. HOWEVER, we do have a common bond: someone we love and care for is lesbian or gay.

Where are we?
There are various PFLAG groups around Australia in QLD, WA, SA, TAS, VIC, and NSW.

Why does PFLAG exist?
In Australia today, there are many parents with homosexual children. These children, and often their families are victims of social, political and economic prejudice. Gay people in many communities are affected by discrimination in their pursuit of happiness and in striving to live their lives with openness and dignity. Homosexuals are not the only ones touched by this discrimination. It also affects their friends and families. We as parents, families and friends of lesbians and gay men wish to join together to appeal to the public conscience. We want to achieve the same rights and opportunities for our gay sons and lesbian daughters as are enjoyed by other Australians. As proud parents of gay people, our lives have been enriched by reaching an understanding and acceptance of our gay children and embracing their diversity. It is our goal to bring this understanding and acceptance of diversity to the community.

What do we do?
We have a number of activities aimed at supporting our members. We:

  • Hold monthly support meetings where we discuss member issues and concerns. Sometimes we have guest speakers who are professionals in their field to discuss topics of interest to the members.
  • Provide a safe, friendly place where participants can talk freely and openly. All our meetings are confidential to the participants.
  • Maintain a library of books, videos, pamphlets, and articles to help educate parents and others on issues of homosexuality.
  • Publish a monthly newsletter and provide an information telephone line. Provide speakers to interested organisations for discussion panels as and when requested.

We strictly respect and are sensitive to the confidentiality of all participants.

Information on this page courtesy and property of PFLAG Australia. Full information can be found at www.pflagaustralia.org.au.

Moolagoo Mob

Moolagoo MobMoolagoo Mob is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander group which offers a social and support network for those who identify as gay, lesbian or sistergirl.

Moolagoo Mob meets in Adelaide every month in a friendly, safe and confidential environment.

We come together to:

Build new friendships
Offer support to newly-identifying gay, lesbian and sistergirls
Share information
Celebrate our unique culture and diversity

Come and share some pizza and some laughs.

New members are always welcome.

So don’t be shy, get in touch with us if you have any questions.

We’re always happy to chat to anyone who is curious about the Moolagoo Mob. You can talk to us on the phone or via email. We can even meet for a coffee somewhere convenient and we can head along to one of the Moolagoo Mob events together.

Information on this page courtesy and property of Moolagoo Mob, Adelaide South Australia. Full information can be found at http://www.moolagoomob.com and by emailing info@moolagoomob.com.

Information Elsewhere

 

Australia wideInformation Elsewhere

 

 

Likeitis
This website, hosted by the Marie Stopes International initiative, is designed to educate teenagers on key issues of sexual health, drug use, bullying, self-esteem and relationships. It includes the Love Bugs Battle game.

Reach Out!
This website has been developed through the Inspire Foundation, a non-government organisation for youth health, and provides a wide range of health information for youth.

Hot News Community Group listings
HotNews is a fortnightly newsletter rounding up GLBTI stories from around the ‘net. HotNews, in collaboration with Bfriend, have a current list of community groups and contacts for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people.

Youth Central – Sexuality and Relationships
This website, hosted by the Department of Planning and Community Development, offers advice on a wide range of youth topics.

GLSEN
The Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, an American initiative, is a great place to look at tools and tips for tackling homophobic bullying in schools.

Kids Helpline – Teens
Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.

International

Tackle Homophobia
The Tackle Homophobia website provides schools with practical ‘tried and tested’ strategies for tackling homophobia and homophobic bullying. It is part of a Tacade project supporting primary and secondary schools in four areas of the UK.

See the World in Rainbows
See the World in Rainbows are a group of teacher education students at the University of Ottawa aiming to promote anti-homophobia education in primary and junior schools. They have created a resource package for educators, which includes a list of reviewed resources for use within the classroom, sample lesson plans, and an accompanying children’s book called, “I See the World in Rainbows” for use in read-alouds.

EACH: Education Action Challenging Homophobia
EACH is the award-winning charity for adults and young people affected by homophobia or transphobia. It is also a not-for-profit training agency for employers and organisations committed to realising an equal and safe working environment for all regardless of age, sex, ability, ethnicity, faith, gender identity or sexuality.

Education for all
Education for All is a British campaign tackling homophobia and homophobic bullying in schools.

Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers (GLLO)

SAPOL

The state of South Australia benefits from a diverse population representing many cultures, religions, beliefs and groups. SAPOL is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all these communities, and providing an equitable and fair service to them.

Historically an element of lack of trust has existed between the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) communities and the police. As a result, crimes committed against these communities largely went unreported. In addition, SAPOL acknowledges there is still a significant amount of negative prejudice ingrained in much of society directed at persons who identify as, or are perceived as being a member of the GLBT community.

In line with our commitment to customer service and providing a customer focused approach, SAPOL introduced the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer (GLLO) network in 2007. The development and ongoing training of this network of 45 members has been facilitated by members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community, through ongoing liaison with Gay Men’s Health of South Australia.

The GLLO network has representatives in Metropolitan and Country locations and also specialist policing areas including State Crime Prevention Branch, Sexual Crime Investigation Branch and Major Crime Investigation Branch. All GLLOs have undergone special training in GLBT issues and can provide discrete, non-judgemental guidance and support in the reporting of crimes.

GLLO officers will not usually investigate the crime, but are available to discuss the incident and facilitate the agreed and most appropriate response to it.

How SAPOL GLLOs can assist you
Remember there are GLLOs located throughout South Australia, all are specially selected and trained, and are sensitive to and supportive of GLBT issues including:

  • Hate crime;
  • Same sex relationship domestic abuse;
  • Assault;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Threatening or abusive phone calls;
  • Harassment from neighbours; and
  • Beat location issues.

All GLLOs have established links with key service providers including the Aids Council of South Australia (ACSA), Gay Men’s Health (GMH), Gay and Lesbian Community Service (GLCS), local Government and the local GLBT community as part of effectively undertaking their responsibilities.

The GLLOs can help you obtain the most appropriate support and outcome for your specific needs.

GLLOs can be contacted anonymously by members of the GLBT community, or by their family or friends to discuss issues and seek advice.

Neighbourhood Policing Teams
Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPT) were deployed for the first time in August 2010 at Elizabeth and South Coast Local Service Areas. These teams, each consisting of a supervisor and four NPT officers, represent an innovative and creative approach to increasing community engagement, confidence and satisfaction in the delivery of an equitable customer focused policing service.

Each allocated suburb will have a dedicated Neighbourhood Police Officer who will be highly visible, accessible and responsive to local community concerns about crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour.

As dedicated teams they will develop an in-depth understanding of the root causes of issues and work with the community and partners to resolve them.

The South Coast NPT supervisor is a Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer who provides a focal point of contact for members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Elizabeth LSA Suburbs

  • Davoren Park
  • Munno Para
  • Smithfield
  • Smithfield Plains

South Coast LSA Suburbs

  • Hackham West
  • Huntfield Heights
  • Seaford
  • Seaford Rise

Hate Crime
A hate crime is any criminal act which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by someone’s hatred or bias of an individual’s or group’s race, disability, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Why should I report such incidents?
SAPOL are encouraging people to report hate crime but know that many incidents go unreported. Even when they are, the person reporting may not tell us that the incident is connected to their sexuality because they do not want the police to know they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

  • By reporting hate crime you provide valuable information to the police which helps build a clearer picture of crime trends in the community;
  • It provides better opportunities for police to develop patrol strategies to catch the offenders and reduce/prevent further offences taking place;
  • Left unreported, the attackers are free to re-offend; and
  • Some of these offenders believe they can get away with harassment and other offences because they think (often correctly) that the incident will not be reported.

SAPOL takes all reports of hate crime seriously and strongly encourages victims to report these incidents, and the GLLO network was created to facilitate addressing these offences.

If you have been verbally or physically abused, harassed or attacked by someone because they think you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) help yourself and your community by reporting these crimes.

Remember in an emergency always dial 000, for non emergency, ring 131 444 to report the incident, any SAPOL employee will assist you. If you would rather, you may ask to speak to a GLLO covering the area where you live or where the incident occurred.

Abuse within same sex relationships
Domestic abuse in same sex and heterosexual relationships share many similarities, including the types of abuse and the impact on the victim. However, there are some aspects that are unique to same sex domestic abuse, these include but are not limited to:

  • Telling a partner that their allegations will not be taken seriously because the courts and police are homophobic;
  • The abuse is linked with sexuality – for many people, especially those new to a gay or lesbian relationship, the abuse they are suffering may seem connected with their sexual identity. They may feel the abuse is caused by or even deserved because they are gay or lesbian, leading to self-loathing and reluctance to report;
  • “Outing” as a method of control – if the abused partner has not come out to their friends, family, work colleagues or their cultural community, the abusive partner may out or threaten to out the victim to discourage them from reporting the abuse.

Do not tolerate or remain in a violent relationship. Report it and stop the cycle of domestic abuse.

The most important thing to remember if you are experiencing domestic abuse is that the abuse is not your fault and you don’t have to put up with it.
SAPOL is committed to taking positive action to address all domestic abuse. Your report will be taken seriously.

In an emergency ring 000 (or 131 444 if not urgent) for assistance. If urgent police attendance is not required, you may contact your local police station or alternatively a GLLO for confidential support and guidance.

GLLO information courtesy and property of the South Australian Police Force. Full information can be found at

www.sapolice.sa.gov.au/sapol/community_services/gay_lesbian_liaison_officers.jsp