[Sub ID 4592] LGBTI Tertiary Support Program (National LGBTI Health Alliance)

Submission ID: 4592
Organisation name: National LGBTI Health Alliance
Contact name: Ms Rebecca Reynolds
Contact email: rebecca.reynolds@lgbtihealth.org.au

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Research show that the vast majority of LGBTI young people have experienced harassment, verbal and physical abuse, with school identified as the location where this is most likely to occur. Harassment and anti-LGBTI sentiments are still a significant problem within tertiary education settings. Transgender and gender diverse young people are at higher risk. Regardless of actual encounters of stigma, the mere perception of a hostile environment towards LGBTI people in education facilities, and that these situations may potentially occur, still has a significant impact on LGBTI students. Consequently, LGBTI young people have been consistently shown to have increased risk of anxiety, depression, trauma, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. Additionally, these experiences have an impact on learning and educational outcomes, including missing classes and not attending school to avoid harassment, a reduction in ability to concentrate, reduction in academic outcomes, and departing from education prior to completion. Inequality is the driver for LGBTI people, in particular transgender people, being more likely to be unemployed, have less career progression and earn less income than their peers, and live in poverty. LGBTI young people who have low educational attainment have a heightened risk for disadvantage, unemployment, welfare dependence and poor lifetime wellbeing.

What is your idea?
The project aims to support LGBTI young people in education through a combination of individual and systemic supports. This project would create a matrix of workers and supports at different points of the student’s educational journey to create a seamless safety net for LGBTI young people who are students who are at risk of leaving education and training settings because of their experiences of discrimination. This will support LGBTI young people to remain in the education system. This support matrix would be flexible, person centered, and tailored to meet the specific and individual needs of LGBTI young people, and include peer workers, case managers, education staff, University & TAFE management and policy workers, Centrelink and other Government agencies with a responsibility for student participation in education in Australia. This matrix approach means that regardless of circumstances LGBTI young people can enter this program at any time and receive support through a varying range of methods and formats that responds specifically to what they need. Accessibility to support will be supported through the use of technology, including online forums and virtual classrooms. The student can receive support at any stage as they continue through their education.