I turned down an radio interview today and here’s why…..
About the topic here’s what we know. LGBTI people are said to have the highest rates of self-harm and suicide of any population in Australia. Same-sex attracted Australians are said to exhibit up to 14-times-higher rates of suicide attempts than their heterosexual peers. Yet, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 996 suicides reported across Australia between 2001 and 2010 among Indigenous peoples. We are told that 1.6 per cent of all Australians die by suicide but for Indigenous peoples, this rate is more than 4.2 per cent, or one in every 24.
This logic (very preliminary) model below, which non-creatively, I’ve called ‘Bonson’s Logic‘ (2014) indicates on the left hand side, in BLUE boxes, the social determinants of health (SDOH) that are attributed to the Indigenous Australian community. Above that is a GREEN box with Social and Emotional distress written. The SDOH cause Social and Emotional distress. In the ORANGE box you will see the terms ‘Gender Variant and Sexuality Diverse’ this is another way of explaining LGBQTI (it is also my now preferred way when I am writing and giving presentations). As you can see following the ORANGE box are two more boxes. They are coloured PURPLE. One says Perceived and the other says Actual under a BLACK box that says threats. The types of threats are then split into two types of aggressions (micro or macro) based on Non-acceptance and Homophobia; they are the GREEN boxes. Non-acceptance is a decolonized view of homophobia insomuch that it removes the colonial constructed religious type of homophobia (Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve etc.) What follows is another column of BLUE boxes, again listing the SDOH. Now at the over the top of the Bonson’s Logic model you will see a BLACK arrow, this is to indicate the SDOH affecting Indigenous populations carries over and is added to the SDOH that can be experienced because you identify as LGBQTI or Gender Variant and Sexuality Diverse. The last box in RED is suicide. There is no linkages yet, because they are yet to established from an evidence base.
So if we hypothesise the math that one in every 24 Indigenous deaths is by suicide and that Same-sex attracted people are said to exhibit up to 14-times-higher rates of suicide attempts than their heterosexual peers, how many of that one in every 24 is because they are Indigenous LGBQTI is quite troubling.
So why did I turn down the radio interview ?
It was not going to be placed online. That simple. A ten minute interview that if you happen to catch “on air” vs. it being uploaded (very easy to do – 2 of my last interviews have been). Having it, in full or in part, means giving value to the topic and more accessible, and less by virtue of the happenstance opportunity of catching it on air. And thats key. If it was too be uploaded it would’ve been given the value it deserves.
Also, simply getting interviewed isn’t an outcome. That may be for the journalist, to get interviews. Its the message and how far it can be shared that is the outcome, at least for me anyways.
Visibility so important. Representation is important. Indigenous LGBTI people (we) are important.
Also, from my experience the mitigation of socio-environmental circumstances that are a causation for distress is suicide prevention done right.