ACROSS this week, the Wimmera Mail-Times will release a four-episode podcast telling the story of three people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community showcasing three very different experiences of the Wimmera.
In regional areas, people with differing sexualities or gender identities can face a range of challenges – from bullying to a lack of specialised medical access and understanding.
Tom, Wanda and Lily as they shared their experiences growing up or living in the Wimmera as LQBTIQ people.
In this episode they share the impact their isolation had on their mental health.
Episode one: Mental health
Lily Dalton, 19, said the abuse, transphobia and homophobia encountered in the Wimmera had huge impacts on their mental health. Lily identifies as non-binary and bisexual.
Lily has twice tried to take their own life.
Sadly, Lily’s experiences and mental health challenges are not unique.
LGBTQ youth are five times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population and transgender adults are 11 times more likely.
Wanda Jackson, a transgender woman, said she worried about young LGBTIQ people such as Lily.
Tom Dryburgh, a gay man originally from Rainbow, also struggled with his mental health growing up.
He believes his ongoing anxiety has roots in his experiences earlier in life.
Why the right words matter
FOR many, terms used but LGBTIQ people can be foreign, we’ve put together an explainer of some common terms.
Sex: The term refers to biology and sex assigned to someone at birth. It does not always match someone’s gender.
Gender: One’s sense of self, what they identify as.
Trans: The term trans is sometimes used as an umbrella term for anyone whose gender characteristics differ from societal expectations – meaning their gender doesn’t match their sex.
For example a person classed as male at birth, their sex, who’s gender is female might describe herself as a trans woman, or a woman.
Gender diverse: Gender diverse people include people who identify as agender, having no gender; bigender, both a man and a woman; genderqueer or fluid, having shifting genders; or as non-binary, neither a man or a woman.
Misgendering: Misgendering is the term used for describing someone with a pronoun or language that doesn’t match how they identify.
Why does it matter?
Everyone one likes to be recognised for who they are, misgendering someone takes that away from them and can indicate they are not supported in their real identity.
All this is new?
No, people have been undergoing sexual reassignment surgery since 1951. People living as genders other than their birth sex have been recorded back to ancient civilisations.
Help is available
Headspace Horsham have recently opened their doors as a safe space for all youth.
They are working to create an LGBTIQ inclusive space where young people can be supported and find resources.