Many lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people report to dealing surprisingly well with systemic discrimination, and most do not experience depression or any other mental health condition. However, experiences with discrimination and stigmatisation can lead to a higher likelihood of emotional distress, depression and anxiety.
People can often feel pressured to fit in with society's conventional ideas of being male or female. Those who don't fit the mould can be subjected to ridicule, intimidation and even physical abuse.
Even though there is an increasing acceptance of LGBTI people in society and greater visibility in the media and public life, many LGBTI people still experience discrimination, harassment and violence at work, school and in social situations.
Discrimination can take the form of:
- obvious acts of prejudice and discrimination (e.g. someone who is open about being transgender being refused employment or promotion)
- more subtle, but no less harmful, discrimination that reinforces negative stereotypes and feelings of difference (e.g. use of the word 'gay' as a derogatory term).
Stop. Think. Respect.
Because of the things people say and do, LGBTI people are far more likely to experience depression and anxiety. Beyond Blue is committed to raising awareness about these issues and helping to reduce the discrimination faced by LGBTI communities.
Beyond Blue, in collaboration with LGBTI communities and the Movember Foundation, has produced a national campaign aimed at improving the Australian community's understanding of discriminatory behaviour and the impact it can have on the mental health of LGBTI communities.
The campaign, including the Left hand cinema commercial and real life stories, works predominantly with the broader Australian community, and young people in particular. It has been designed to prompt people to stop the discrimination, think about how comments you make could cause real distress and harm, and respect people who are different from you.
Real life stories
Annaliese, Gina, Marlee, Rob, Sally and Shane share their stories of being treated differently and how they have overcome depression and/or anxiety. You can watch their stories at the top of this page, or visit our Stop. Think. Respect. page to find out more about our campaign.