*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of Queensland, Australia - A campaign to remove our Sodomy Law (which was enacted in 1990).

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18th November 2011 Email to Hon Premier Anna Bligh, Hon Attorney-General Paul Lucas, Neil Roberts MP and to Courier Mail "Letters" regarding the statement by psychologist Paul Martin in support of equal age of consent reform for the sake of our state’s youth.

“On 18th November 2011 highly respected Brisbane psychologist Paul Martin, of the Centre For Human Potential, issued a very strong public statement in support of urgent action by your Government to enact equal age of consent reform. The text of his complete statement is included below, and is also stored for public access as a pdf file on my site at:

http://www.queerradio.org/Paul_Martin_CFHP_support_for_equal_age_of_consent_reform.pdf . Paul Martin's contact details are included in his statement.

 

The sad truth is that our state's youth are suffering, and lives may be lost, on every day that the Government delays this long overdue reform. Since 2003 Queensland has been the only region in Australia which does not have a truly equal age of consent.”

 


From: John Frame [mailto:jvframe@ozemail.com.au]
Sent: Saturday, 19 November 2011 3:10 AM
To: Attorney - SMTP; The Premier; Neil Roberts Nudgee Electorate Office
Subject: Brisbane psychologist Paul Martin's statement in support of urgent action on equal age of consent reform

To the Hon Premier Anna Bligh, Attorney-General Paul Lucas and my local MP Neil Roberts.

 

Dear Premier, Attorney-General and Neil,

 

On 18th November 2011 highly respected Brisbane psychologist Paul Martin, of the Centre For Human Potential, issued a very strong public statement in support of urgent action by your Government to enact equal age of consent reform. The text of his complete statement is included below, and is also stored for public access as a pdf file on my site at:

http://www.queerradio.org/Paul_Martin_CFHP_support_for_equal_age_of_consent_reform.pdf

 

Paul Martin's contact details are included in his statement.

 

The sad truth is that our state's youth are suffering, and lives may be lost, on every day that the Government delays this long overdue reform. Since 2003 Queensland has been the only region in Australia which does not have a truly equal age of consent.

 

yours sincerely

 

John Frame

jvframe@ozemail.com.au

82 Main Ave., Wavell Hts 4012 Australia

Ph: (07) 3350 1562 / 0409 501 561

http://www.queerradio.org

 

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

 

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A statement of support for equal age of consent reform in Queensland

 

by Paul Martin, Principal Psychologist, Centre for Human Potential, Brisbane

 

18th November 2011

 

Paul Martin

Principal Psychologist

Centre for Human Potential

www.cfhp.com.au

Level 9/243 Edward Street

BRISBANE QLD 4000

GPO Box 1492

BRISBANE QLD 4001

P: 07 3211 1117

F: 07 3211 9689

M: 0419 0055 55

I am a psychologist with over 25 years experience specializing in mental health in LGBTI populations. I run a practice which sees many young same sex attracted people and am actively involved in PFLAG where I spend much time with parents of same sex attracted young people. I have worked with parents who have lost their child to suicide as a result of their conflicts around being same sex attracted and young people who were close to dying as a result of suicide attempts. These are extremely vulnerable segments of Australia’s young population. Clinical and research evidence strongly suggests that the Queensland Sodomy Law which sets a higher minimum age of 18 for anal intercourse not only exposes many of them (any person who engages in anal intercourse) and any of their sexual partners to criminal prosecution, but also causes psychological harm and increases risks of negative outcomes including suicide.

 

 

The mental health statistics for same sex attracted youth are alarming and they are at much higher risk of negative mental and physical health outcomes. This includes that 64% of young men and 23% of young women who are same sex attracted had harmed themselves or had mentioned thinking about or attempting suicide (Hillier, Turner, & Mitchell, 2005).

 

 

The mental health issues of young same sex attracted people are primarily a result of negative beliefs that are absorbed from a young age regarding what it means to be gay or lesbian. This is reinforced in the school yard including the worst thing to be called is a ‘faggot’. The negative psychological impact of bullying, and/or the adverse mental health outcomes of pretending to be heterosexual to prevent bullying and social exclusion has been widely documented. The negative outcomes of these beliefs can include substance abuse, suicidality, depression, anxiety, self harm and other self destructive behaviours.

 

When young same sex attracted people hear homophobic remarks from community leaders or are aware of inequities in the law that favours heterosexuals, this confirms and reinforces these negative beliefs. I had a young person in my practice recently who was very close to dying after a suicide attempt. He stated that when he heard the Prime Minister of our country say that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, he “realized that all of his negative beliefs about gay relationships were true”, and that his future was bleak and he then concluded: “what’s the point.”

 

 

The evidence is therefore clear, that a law which specifically targets and discriminates against same sex attracted youth, such as the Sodomy law, sends a very clear message that they are not equal, are not valued, are at risk of a criminal offense, and are therefore defective. This confirms their internalized homophobia and this causes psychological damage.

 

 

Whilst the Premier’s ‘It Gets Better’ video would have had a positive impact on the mental health of some same sex attracted youth, the impact may be largely negated by her refusal to change discrimination in the Sodomy Law. This law quite clearly causes psychological harm and it is imperative that our Premier acts urgently to change this for the sake of the most vulnerable youth in Queensland.