Writing by Ferris Knight // Photograph by Catarina Inacio
Today we are going through one of the most publicly divisive moments for LGBT rights in Australia.
The plebiscite is going to be drawn out, with anyone who shouts loudly enough being given their
moment to speak up regardless of how relevant their position is. I think we all agree that this is a waste of money, harmful and unnecessary–especially as it’s non-binding. Regardless, I want you to forget these points for a minute to think of the real, current impact.
Even back in 2013 it was reported that 36.2% of trans and 24.4% of gay, lesbian and bisexual people experienced a major depressive episode in that year. This rate rose to 59.3% for trans women. Now, in the Stone Age, sorry, 2017, it’s expected to be even worse until at least the plebiscite is over (with Beyond Blue reporting a 40% increase in those seeking assistance) . And while we can’t make the plebiscite go away, we can take care of ourselves and each other during this difficult time.
If you are struggling, you may want to try some of the following:
– Turn off social/traditional media
This means no newspapers, no TV, maybe even Facebook if you need to. This doesn’t have to be forever, just remember you’re allowed to take a break. Go for a walk perhaps, or catch up with a friend and go for a coffee.
Also, remember that you are allowed to hide or delete people if you need to. This may seem more difficult especially if it’s family, but you can hide their updates and they won’t be notified if you need to ‘keep the peace’.
– Call your friends and check in
Check in on your LGBTI friends during this time. You don’t need to talk about the plebiscite, just ask if they’re okay. It’s a hard thing to ask for help, and some don’t know how to without prompting.
Get out of the house and do something completely different. Maybe you’d like to go to the movies, do some cooking, go punch a bag at the gym. I personally love reading (surprise surprise), but whatever you enjoy and/or need to do to get through, as long as you are safe it is okay.
If you are struggling there are help lines you can call, such as Kids Help Line (up to 25) on 1800 55 1800, Lifeline 13 11 14 and QLife* (for LGBTI people, between 3pm-12am) on 1800 184 527. Don’t wait until you’re struggling ‘enough’ because others ‘need it more’. If you need help, it is there, and you don’t have to justify yourself or how you feel to anyone to seek it out.
– Stand With Me
Check out websites such as Stand With Me , to see that you are surrounded by love and support.
And most importantly.
Whichever way this vote goes, and whatever the politicians do as a result of it – you are valid. You are loved. You deserve safety and security and happiness.