'Rainbow Realities’ report launched at Health in Difference Conference

Posted 23rd April 2024

The Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, launched the Rainbow Realities report at the 12th Health in Difference Conference hosted by LGBTIQ+ Health Australia in Canberra. It provides in-depth analysis of the health and wellbeing of LGBTQA+ people in Australia.

The report includes 52 new analyses of existing LGBTQA+ data sets, such as Private Lives 3 and Writing Themselves In 4. Professor Adam Bourne of the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health, and Society presented key insights from the report at the conference.

In total, surveys received over 20,000 responses from LGBTQA+ individuals across Australia. The report delves into factors that impact LGBTQA+ health outcomes throughout 10 chapters, including:

  • Mental health and suicidality
  • Income inequality
  • Housing and experiences of homelessness
  • Discrimination and abuse
  • Family violence and sexual assault
  • Alcohol and other drugs
  • Relationships
  • Parenting and sexual and reproductive health
  • Gender affirmation and trans-affirming practices
  • General healthcare
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Intersectional identities.

The mental health and suicidality chapter describes the negative impact of discrimination on experiences of mental health, suicidality, self-harm and support seeking. Building connections, finding support, and being involved with the LGBTQA+ community might help protect against these negative impacts.

The Rainbow Realities report also details that some groups within the LGBTQA+ community experience poorer mental health outcomes, often from facing different sources of discrimination. These groups include:

  • Trans or gender-diverse people
  • Cisgender women
  • People with disability
  • Non-monosexual individuals (that is, people who are not attracted to only one gender)
  • People living outside of metropolitan areas.
  • Younger people
  • People born in a non-English-speaking country.
  • High-school students.

The Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care commissioned the Rainbow Realities report to inform the development of the 10-year LGBTIQA+ Health and Wellbeing Action Plan. It represents one part of a national consultation process, alongside an Expert Advisory Group, a report on LGBTIQA+ inclusion within other strategies and action plans, and other targeted consultation activities.

Rainbow Realities underscores the need for future research to understand the compounded mental health challenges faced by those belonging to multiple minority or disadvantaged groups within the LGBTQA+ community and to address the specific needs of intersex individuals.

Read the full report.

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