Everyone Deserves Respect: Rainbow Talk

Posted: 03/09/2019


Diversity enriches our community by …

Everyone’s body is different, therefore …

A gender stereotype I have experienced is …

These are just three of the forty cards from Rainbow Talk, a resource for opening up respectful conversations and storytelling about diversity—particularly in relation to gender, sexuality and biological sex.  Featuring a sentence starter on each card, this beautifully-designed resource encourages young people and adults to talk respectfully about the knowns and unknowns, the ups and downs—the richness—of learning about and expressing who we are. This includes reflecting on stereotypes, assumptions, language, advantage, disadvantage, social messages, human rights and the law. The cards also invite us to reflect on how our own experiences, attitudes and beliefs have been shaped, how they may have changed, and what we wish for the future.

Why were Rainbow Talk cards created?

The initial prompt for the Rainbow Talk was to provide a simple conversation-building tool that would help increase everyone’s knowledge, skills, empathy and understanding of the experiences of people in LGBTIQ communities. As time went by we began to understand more clearly that these cards are for anyone wanting to explore their identity in a more nuanced and reflective way.

The cards do not pathologise or ‘other’ the experiences of people in LGBTIQ communities, or assume that conversations about gender, sexual identity and biological sex are their sole responsibility. Quite the contrary—these cards literally put on the table that these conversations are everyone’s responsibility, and that these conversations can help build a fairer and more inclusive society for everyone.

Many people from LGBTIQ communities have experienced discrimination and exclusion based on their intersex status, sexual orientation or gender identity. This kind of discrimination has been clearly shown to contribute to poorer health and wellbeing outcomes, particularly in relation to mental health.

According to the National LGBTI Health Alliance, compared to the general population, people from LGBTIQ communities are more likely to attempt suicide in their lifetime, specifically:

  • LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 are five times more likely
  • Transgender people aged 18 and over are nearly eleven times more likely
  • People with an intersex variation aged 16 and over are nearly six times more likely
  • LGBT young people who experience abuse and harassment are even more likely to attempt suicide (source: National LGBTI Health Alliance – https://lgbtihealth.org.au/statistics/ )

Additionally, compared to the general population, LGBTIQ people are more likely to experience and be diagnosed with a mental health disorder, specifically:

  • Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are twice as likely to have symptoms that the criteria for a mental health disorder in the past 12 months
  • LGBT people are twice as likely to be diagnosed and treated for mental health disorders  (https://lgbtihealth.org.au/statistics/ )

Unless we collectively take an active role in noticing and addressing entrenched forms of exclusion, things are unlikely to change. We hope Rainbow Talk will help do that in a safe and respectful way.





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