75 per cent of LGBTIQ young people in Australia experience homophobic or transphobic abuse and 80 per cent of this abuse occurs at school.
Acknowledging the important role that universities continue to play in creating safe and respectful environments to work and study, RMIT has announced a new partnership with Minus18.
Research shows that LGBTIQ young people are twice as likely to experience anxiety or depression and three times more likely to attempt suicide than non-LGBTIQ young people.
Minus18 is Australia's largest LGBTIQ youth network. The charity creates social change, mobilises community support and tackles queerphobia through youth-led events, workshops, campaigns and education resources nationwide.
CEO of Minus18 Micah Scott said RMIT and other universities played a vital role in helping to forge the identity of young people at a time where they are developing the independence, self-confidence and resilience to contend with an array of contemporary issues.
“School can be a really difficult time for young people, but even more so for LGBTIQ youth," Scott said.
"The environments you enter into as a young adult can play a crucial role in affirming a sense of individuality, safety and belonging.”
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Vice-President Professor Belinda Tynan said the partnership provided a wonderful opportunity to create more safe spaces for queer youth and the wider community.
“We want our staff and students to feel free to be themselves here. Safe and supported by everyone around them,” Tynan said.
“This partnership gives us the opportunity to grow as an organisation, but also clearly says to any young person thinking about where to continue their education - RMIT is the place for you.”
As part of the partnership, Minus18 will be invited to deliver diversity and awareness training to RMIT staff and students and RMIT will become the Platinum Sponsor of Minus18’s Melbourne Queer Formal.
Story: Rhys Cranney