*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of
2005 Letter from
Parents and friends of Lesbians and gays – support group
c/- Queensland AIDS Council,
PO Box 3142,South Brisbane. 4101
Phone: 07 3017 1739
Hon. Premier Peter Beattie,
Reform of Sodomy Laws
We are writing this letter in support of the need for reform to Sodomy laws. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) believe that it is time for the “age of consent” to show equality for all by making the age of consent 16years of age which will remove confusion and another inequality affecting the gay youth.
We all know, whether we approve or not that the present generation are engaging in sexual intercourse at quite an early age and we believe that gay youth need as much information as possible to keep them safe.
Presently, it seems that many lack access to safe sex information because of their fear of accessing legitimate agencies for safe sex information and secondly because of the confusion amongst workers about legal ramifications involved with supplying gay youth with relevant information.
Sexual equality doesn’t mean that gay youth will be more permissive. Studies show that providing teenagers with safe sex information does not make them engage in sexual intercourse earlier but it does show that if they do they are more inclined to use protection and be more informed about their actions. The studies that I personally have seen show that in some cases good sexuality education sometimes delays their decisions to begin a sexual relationship. As a parent group we want our youth to be able to access information without fear of prosecution or reprisals for all concerned.
A problem for gay youth is they already feel marginalised with little or no positive reference made to homosexuality by school counsellors, peers, relationship education and families in general. And, because of this are more inclined to be at a higher risk of drug taking, alcohol abuse and suicide.
Research shows that gay youth are 7 times more likely to consider suicide and 6 times more likely to be homeless than heterosexual youth. This clearly shows our children are high risk and often with low self esteem. These two factors often lead to unnecessary risk taking in sexual activity which can be a grave concern for parents.
A large concern for many is the fear of exploitation by sexual predators but research shows that gay youth are no more exposed to this than heterosexual youth with the age of consent being at 16 years for them. PFLAG parents want the government to provide the same rights for our gay youth as our heterosexual youth.
We strongly believe and urge the State government to reconsider these laws and amend them as quickly as possible.
Shelley Argent (Convenor)
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.