Homophobia continues to be a major issue amongst young people, particularly young boys. A study commissioned by BeyondBlue, revealed that one third of boys aged 14-17 would not be happy to have a same sex attracted person as their friend. One in five said they found it hard to treat gay people equally.
The report pointed out that high levels of homophobia amongst teen boys affects the mental health of young LGBTI people and puts them at higher risk of suicide and self harm.
The driving force behind these attitudes is a society that perpetuates and reinforces strict gender norms. Making matters worse, profit driven cuts to public services affect LGBTI people disproportionately.
LGBTI youth face high levels of discrimination and violence and need access to services to help them escape it. Cuts to mental and sexual health services and welfare only make the situation worse.
Homophobic attitudes need to be combated wherever they arise but to do this successfully we also need to challenge the institutionalised discrimination that exists. Only a society that puts people’s needs before profits will be capable of removing homophobia and other forms of discrimination once and for all.
By Aishwarya Ramji