The AFL Players' Association has teamed up with
headspace to celebrate IDAHO (International Day
Against Homophobia and Transphobia), on May 17.
Carlton player Nick Duigan, who is working as a psychologist at
headspace Southern Melbourne, Bob Murphy (Western
Bulldogs) and Daniel Jackson (Richmond) are speaking up to
encourage tolerance and acceptance.
"We want all young people to feel safe and connected to the
community. Sexuality and gender identity do not cause mental health
problems, but some of the societal prejudices associated with being
same sex attracted can impact a person's good mental health," Nick
headspace CEO Chris Tanti said homophobia
causes social isolation and bullying behaviour.
"Homophobia is a serious issue that can have devastating effects
on the health and wellbeing of a young person," Mr Tanti said.
"Those who identify themselves as being same sex attracted or
gender questioning are at a much higher risk of depression and
anxiety, and four times more likely to suicide. When young people
are killing themselves, it's clearly time to speak out.
"I commend these players for recognising this isn't an issue
about just sexuality, it's an issue about the health and wellbeing
of young people - you wouldn't ask someone to change footy teams,
so why would you ask them to change who they are?" Mr Tanti
headspace centres provide a safe and sensitive
place for young people wishing to discuss their sexual orientation
or gender identity or any other health issues they are worried
To celebrate IDAHO headspace and AFL Players
are asking young people aged 12 to 25 years to share messages of
hope and acceptance by designing postcards around the theme - 'In my Eyes, Homophobia is
Out of Bounds'. The most inspiring entries will be selected by
the AFL players at an event held at headspace Western Melbourne
(80b Harvester Rd, Sunshine) at 3.30pm May 16. Four $100 iTunes
vouchers and signed footballs are up for grabs.
To enter the competition download the PDF postcard from
headspace.org.au or pick one up from a headspace centre. All cards
must be sent to a headspace by 5pm Friday 13 May 2011.
IDAHO aims to create a prejudice-free world which can provide a
place at the table for everyone; regardless of their sexual
The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is a
supporter of this initiative and welcomes the partnership between
headspace and the AFLPA.
"We must take every opportunity to condemn homophobia and
discrimination, and reassure young men and women that they are
valued in our community for who they are," Dr Helen Szoke,
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner said.
headspace media contact:
Tel: 0422 283 400