Quentin Bryce launches 'Families Like Mine'
Governor-General and beyondblue patron, Quentin Bryce, launches a new e-book aimed at saving the lives of young same-sex attracted, bisexual and gender diverse people.PT1M21S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2y729 620 349 November 26, 2013
Governor-General Quentin Bryce has spoken out about the high suicide rates of young gay, lesbian and gender diverse people, saying their deaths are "too high a price to pay".
On Tuesday Ms Bryce said lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and intersex Australians were six times more likely to take their own lives than mainstream Australians.
"This is too high a price to pay for our young people. We cannot allow another person to be lost," she said.
Governor-General of Australia Quentin Bryce with Carlton footballer Brock McLean. Photo: Joe Armao
The Governor-General's comments came after others she made on Saturday in which she publicly supported gay marriage and Australia's becoming a republic.
Ms Bryce, the Queen's representative in Australia, will step down in March after five years in the role.
Ms Bryce was in Melbourne on Tuesday to launch an e-book by depression awareness group beyondblue. Families Like Mine includes advice for families of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.
Ms Bryce said coming to grips with your sexual identity was challenging. "Fear of rejection and, particularly, fear of being rejected by a loved one is shown to increase anxiety and the risk of suicide and self-harm. But a supportive family can make all the difference," she said.
She said she was deeply touched by the stories of families in the book: "Everyone here would want all young people to know that they are not alone, that as a society, we do care. They can live rich and rewarding lives but sometimes they just need our support."
Carlton Football Club player Brock McLean, who has been an advocate for gay footballers, spoke about his sister Ellie's struggle to come out to him.
"I've always told myself that if my sister can't feel comfortable enough to be who she is around me and feel accepted and loved, then I've failed my role as a brother. There are parents out there who want to love their children and accept them but they just don't know how."
He said the book could give families a foundation for understanding LGBTI people better and to learn how to support and accept them.
McLean said that many of his sister's friends had been disowned by their parents after revealing they were gay.
"For parents to basically tell them: 'We don't love you any more', I think for a child to hear that is one of the most awful things you could ever hear."
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