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7th September 2006 Email to Premier Peter Beattie, Attorney General Linda Lavarch and my local Member Neil Roberts highlighting a 6th September 2006 article in the Courier Mail which states the high risk of suicide in same sex attracted youth. I suggest that, since we all do know the definite link between oppression of same sex attracted youth and the drastically higher rate of suicide for them, the very least the Beattie Government can do is to immediately reform the one basic flaw in current Criminal Law which is known to actively impede the acceptance and support of same sex attracted youth - namely the unequal age of consent.

 


 

 

----- Original Message -----

From: John Frame

To: Nudgee Electorate Office ; Attorney-SMTP ; Premier Peter Beattie

Cc: cmletters@qnp.newsltd.com.au

Sent: Thursday, September 07, 2006 1:29 PM

Subject: the Beattie Government and World Suicide Prevention Day

 

To: Premier Peter Beattie, Attorney-General Linda Lavarch, my local Member (for Nudgee) Neil Roberts

 

Cc to the Courier Mail

 

There was a very good article in the Courier Mail yesterday (6th September 2006) regarding same sex attraction as a recognised high risk factor in youth suicide. Jane Fynes-Clinton is also pointing to Sunday's World Suicide Prevention Day event at City Hall.

 

I have posted my own comments to the article online at

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,20359169-5003426,00.html

 

For your convenience I have included the text of that article, including my comments, further below.

 

I suggest that, since we all do know the definite link between oppression of same sex attracted youth and the drastically higher rate of suicide for them, the very least the Beattie Government can do is to immediately reform the one basic flaw in current Criminal Law which is known to actively impede the acceptance and support of same sex attracted youth - namely the unequal age of consent.

 

I am very disappointed that your government has made no public attempt to treat this issue seriously. It should at least have been presented as an election promise for immediate action. If your government is returned after this weekend, then I hope and pray that you have sufficient moral fortitude to give this matter priority. 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

John Frame
Ph: 07 3350 1562 / local mobile: 0409 501 561
Post:
82 Main Avenue, Wavell Heights 4012, QLD, Australia.

 

----"There is no substitute for equality"----

 

 

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,20359169-5003426,00.html

 

Stop the deadly toll

 

by Jane Fynes-Clinton    Courier Mail   September 06, 2006  12:00am

 

IT IS one of the few areas that retains an air of social taboo, yet it takes more lives than car accidents.

 

For those left behind, the grief it causes is immeasurable.

 

Community Action for the Prevention of Suicide is determined to bring suicide in from the shadows.

 

It is hoped that a community forum, to be held on Saturday at Brisbane City Hall, will expose the myths and the mystery around Australia's biggest external killer, and lead to deeper understanding of the causes and help available.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that 2400 Australian commit suicide each year. The figures for attempts are not kept, but are believed to be 10 or 20 times that many. Last year 350 Queensland young people called Kids Help Line and talked of suicidal thoughts.

 

Lifeline telephone counselling supervisor Webb Lin says when a person calls who is contemplating suicide, most often they reveal they are having suicidal thoughts. A minority have planned suicide and may have had attempts.

 

"I think the reason they call is because for one reason or another, they feel guilty or ashamed and do not want to talk to someone they know," Lin says. "They can share what they are feeling and the person they talk to will just listen.

 

"My understanding is there are events that can trigger a person to think about suicide, but it is always an accumulation of things. That trigger may not be a huge event; it can be something that seems small to others." Lin says a ray of hope can make all the difference to someone.

 

"Sometimes reality testing can help," he says."Reminding them that they are loved can help."

 

Lin says those who have attempted suicide describe the pain as being too great. They say they are unable to feel anything but their own pain and cannot see the pain their death will cause others. They feel so unworthy of living that they feel their families and friends will be better off without them or that they will not be missed."

 

Inspire Foundation director of programs Jonathan Nicholas says people under 25, and particularly those with same-sex orientation, are particularly at risk.

 

"Young people who are same-sex attracted attempt suicide at a rate of four to six times that of other young people," he says. "When you consider 5-7 per cent of heterosexual young people attempt suicide, the rates for same-sex attracted youth is very concerning at 25-30 per cent."

 

Nicholas says the biggest danger time for young people with homosexual attraction is between when they accept that they are gay, but have not told anyone else.

 

"There is a period and it can be a long time when a young person might have recognised and accepted that this is how they are, but hate that about themselves and feel they would never be accepted."

 

Nicholas says it is vital that young people generally feel accepted for who they are.

 

"Young people always look for cues they are accepted and that they are safe in their family or their group of friends."

 

He says a big problem for gay youth is the lack of modelling and that exploring sexuality is often done in secret.

 

Lin agrees that openness and honesty are vital when someone is showing signs of considering suicide.

 

"The biggest way to help is to be open when someone you are close to shows signs of feeling suicidal," Lin says. "Ask them if they are thinking of killing themselves. Ask them if they have planned it out.

 

"Never minimise what they are feeling. Ask what help they need and help them get it.

 

"Ultimately, though, it is up to the person. They must choose to be open about their feelings or accept help.

 

"Some hide their feelings very well and often the bereaved will never know why their loved one died or why they didn't talk about what they were feeling."

 

World Suicide Prevention Day is on Sunday.

 

A Community Action for the Prevention of Suicide public forum will be held at Brisbane City Hall on Saturday from 8.30am. Entry is free. Contact Penny Bandelier, ph 0417 877 809

 

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Latest Comments:

 

"Stop the deadly toll" by Jane Fynes-Clinton (CM 6th Sept) is a vital and praiseworthy eye-opener on the dramatically higher risk of suicide for same sex attracted youth. This may be news for many of the general public - but it is not news for Premier Peter Beattie and his Attorney-General. They both know that Queensland's unequal age of consent actively impedes the acceptance and support of same sex attracted male youth in particular, by treating those youth as potential criminals until the age of 18. Same sex attracted young women of the same age may not face legal prosecution, but they definitely suffer the same complete lack of the inclusion and acceptance which is enjoyed by their heterosexual peers.

 

Since 2003 Queensland has been the only Australian state or territory which does not have an equal age of consent. The law must be changed urgently to allow ALL youth to be equally supported and protected. That's a necessary first step toward maximising effective suicide prevention.

 

In July 2005 Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth advised both the Premier and Attorney-General that this law should be reformed as a matter of urgency. However they still refuse to make any commitment - because they say that it is a "vexed" issue. Suicide is infinitely more serious than a "vexed" issue.

 

In 1990, as Chair of the PCJC Committee on Homosexual Law Reform, Mr Beattie wrote that he personally supported the majority recommendation for an equal age of consent. There is still time before Saturday's Election for Mr Beattie to rekindle his social conscience and promise to enact equity for youth.

 

Posted by: John Frame of Wavell Heights, Brisbane 3:17pm today