Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 2017) . . Page.. 3943 ..
advocacy services to LGBTIQ people, their friends and their families. Their initiatives include community events, discussion groups, access to a gender library, law reform activities, and training and community education.
We have also ensured that safe schools will continue to be funded in the ACT. Young LGBTIQ people are at considerably higher risk of suffering from poor mental health than non-LGBTIQ youth. We are talking about differences of more than 30 per cent in the presentation of high or very high levels of psychological distress. It is incumbent on us as the government to help all young people to understand gender diversity and to create a safe environment for young people to figure out their sexuality.
The costs of social exclusion of the LGBTIQ community are more than any individual or group should ever have to bear. The ACT government is absolutely committed to supporting our LGBTIQ friends and creating a community that accepts and welcomes them. In the words of Gloria Carter, Jay-Z’s mum, who came out to the world in his recent track Smile:
Living in the shadow, can you imagine what kind of life it is to live? … Life is short, and it’s time to be free. Love who you love, because life isn’t guaranteed.
We will keep working together until gender and sexual orientation are non-issues, until LGBTIQ people feel safe, supported and free in our community. Our support for the LGBTIQ community is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the social inclusion initiatives of this government, but due to time constraints I will leave it to my colleagues to elaborate on other inclusion measures that are underway. One thing is very clear: the ACT government is utterly committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming city for all Canberrans, and we are taking practical steps to achieve just that. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (11.12): I am very pleased to stand in support of this motion today and I thank Ms Cheyne for bringing it forth. I believe, and I think everyone here believes, that it is important that we maintain a focus on social inclusion. The government provides programs and initiatives that not only recognise but respect, celebrate and support our community and also work to minimise the exclusion that specific groups in our community face. We need to understand that a socially inclusive society is one where all people feel valued, their differences are respected and their basic needs are met so that they can live in dignity. Poverty often leads to social exclusion, but it is not the only thing preventing people from participating fully in economic, social and political life in the society in which they live.
Social inclusion is about connectedness and participation. However, in order to understand how to promote such connectedness and participation, it is important to understand the barriers and obstacles to participation so that they can be removed or reduced. As I have said to many people, I originally studied economics at university because it was very obvious to me that financial issues, including poverty, were a major barrier to social justice, compassion and equality. Clearly, poverty is one of the issues, but it is not the only issue, and I am going to talk about some of the other issues here today.