Discrimination: a health hazard for people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds resettled in Australia

Ziersch, A., Due, C. & Walsh, M. Discrimination: a health hazard for people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds resettled in Australia. BMC Public Health 20108 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-8068-3

Abstract

Background

Research has shown that discrimination is harmful to health, but there is relatively little known about discrimination experienced by people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds in resettlement countries and associated health effects. This qualitative-focused mixed methods paper reports on discrimination experienced by refugees and asylum seekers, responses to discrimination, and impacts on health.

Methods

As part of a broader study of housing, social inclusion and health, surveys were completed by 423 adult refugees and asylum seekers living in South Australia who had been in Australia for up to 7 years. The survey included questions on discrimination based on skin colour, ethnicity and religion, as well as questions on hope, trust, belonging, sense of control and health (including the SF-8). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 65 survey participants, purposively sampled by visa status, continent and gender, further exploring experiences of discrimination. These and survey open-ended responses were analysed thematically.

Results

Twenty-two percent of survey participants reported experiences of discrimination since arriving in Australia (14% in the last year), and 90% of these felt that discrimination had harmed their health. Key settings of discrimination were public transport, within the neighbourhood, and in relation to employment. Those who reported discrimination had significantly worse mental health (p < .000) but not physical health. Discrimination was also associated with less sense of belonging (p = .001), lower levels of trust (p = .038), reduced sense of control (p = .012) and less hope (p = .006). Incidents described in interviews and the open-ended survey responses included incivility, physical assault, and denial of services, experienced across intersecting characteristics of race/ethnicity, religion, gender and visa status. Responses to discrimination spanned affective, cognitive and behavioural dimensions, ranging across types of experience, participant characteristics and context, with most individuals reporting multiple response types. While some of the responses were reported by participants as protective of health, participants’ reflections indicated significant negative impacts on mental health in particular.

Conclusion

Discrimination featured in the resettlement experiences of a significant number of refugees and asylum seekers, with participants reporting clear negative impacts on mental health. Addressing discrimination is a key resettlement and health issue requiring urgent action.

Life satisfaction and mental health among transgender students

Life satisfaction and mental health among transgender students in Norway

Anderssen, N., Sivertsen, B., Lønning, K.J. et al.

BMC Public Health 20, 138 (2020)

Background

Social attitudes to transgender persons and other gender minorities vary around the world, and in many cultures, prejudices and social stigma are common. Consequently, transgender persons face challenges related to discrimination and negative attitudes among the public. The purpose of this study was to compare life satisfaction, loneliness, mental health, and suicidal behavior among transgender students with cisgender students’ experiences in a nationwide sample of Norwegian students pursuing higher education.

Methods

In total,50,054 full-time Norwegian students completed an online questionnaire (response rate 30.8%), of whom 15,399 were cisgender males, 34,437 cisgender females, 28 individuals who reported being binary transgender (12 transwomen and 16 transmen), and 69 individuals non-binary transgender persons. The measures included questions concerning gender identity, life satisfaction (Satisfaction With Life Scale), loneliness (The Three-Item Loneliness Scale), mental health problems (Hopkins Symptoms Check List), mental disorders, and suicidal ideation, suicidal behavior, and self-harm. Chi-square tests, Independent-Samples Kruskal-Wallis tests, and logistic regression analyses were used to examine differences between gender identities.

Results

Transgender students reported significantly more psychosocial burdens on all measures. There were no significant differences in any of the measures between the binary and non-binary transgender students.

Conclusion

The findings call for increased awareness about welfare and health for transgender students in Norway. Higher education institutions need to consider measures at various levels to establish a learning environment that is more inclusive for gender minorities.

Intersex Peer Support Australia launches

Intersex Peer Support Australia (IPSA), 25th October 2019

On the eve of Intersex Awareness Day, an internationally observed awareness day designed to highlight human rights issues faced by intersex people, and observed on 26 October each year, one of the oldest intersex groups in the world is launching a new name, branding and website.

Intersex Peer Support Australia (IPSA) will carry on the important work of the 1985-founded Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group Australia (AISSGA), which for more than three decades has been dedicated to assisting people born with variations in sex characteristics and their families, providing Australia-wide peer support, information and advocacy.

Elise Nyhuis, President of IPSA said, “The new identity will make us more visible to government agencies and support funders, and is more inclusive of the more than 40 known intersex variations, our diverse community and their families.”

“Our organisation advocates for and provides peer support to its members and the wider intersex community, focusing on the lived experience of having intersex bodies that physically differ from stereotypical, medical notions of male and female.

“The intersex community in Australia is strong and growing as people come out of hiding to stand together in the face of continued challenges from medicalisation, stigma and discrimination, shame, mental health issues, social inclusion, access to affirmative healthcare, parenting and human rights protection from medically unnecessary medical interventions on intersex children.

“Beyond our core work of providing intersex peer support, IPSA advocates for intersex issues through educating service providers, liaising with medical professionals, conducting policy review and consulting with government and NGOs, as well as by building community through coordinating opportunities and events for people with intersex variations to meet and share knowledge and experiences.

“The updated IPSA website will be a great resource for the whole community to learn more about the ‘I’ in the LGBTIQ acronym, while our membership will have access to a range of online extras through password-secured access,” said Elise.

He, she, or … ? Gender-neutral pronouns reduce biases – study

The Guardian, Tue 6 Aug 2019 

A new study has found that using a gender-neutral pronoun reduces mental biases that favour men, and boosts positive feelings towards women and LGBT people.

The finding marks an easy win, the researchers believe, and shows how a minor change in language can help chip away at long-standing gender inequities.

 

Second HOW2 course announced for 2019

SHINE SA, July 2019

Our first course filled up, and as a result we are pleased to announce a second HOW2 course for this year! The HOW2 CREATE LGBTI INCLUSIVE SERVICES training program is an in-depth, practical program which helps organisations reach their inclusivity goals and potentially achieve accreditation as an inclusive service.

Delivered over 4 separate days, interspersed with time to implement practical improvements to your workplace’s inclusivity, this program will provide immediate benefits to your organisation.

The program is based on a set of 6 national standards developed by Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria (GLHV), in conjunction with QIP (Quality, Innovation & Performance), known as Rainbow Tick Accreditation. SHINE SA was the first South Australian organisation to be awarded Rainbow Tick accreditation for LGBTI inclusive practice and is proud to support other organisations to create safer and more inclusive workplaces and services.

**If you are a not-for-profit or community youth-focused service you may qualify for the Department of Human Services Training subsidy.

DATES (Participants are required to attend all 4 sessions):

First session: Friday 4 October 2019
Second session: Friday 8 November 2019
Third session: Friday 13 December 2019
Final session: Friday 31 January 2020

TIME: 9:30am – 2:30pm

WHERE: SHINE SA @ Woodville

 

 

 

 

 

Free cooking class for LGBTIQ+ over-50s & for PLHIV

SAMESH, April 5th 2019

SAMESH is cooking up a storm with the regular GK’s Cooking Class again!

This is an opportunity to come along and watch a professional prepare a nutritious meal on a budget (and to sample it!).

GK will also show you some of the techniques, and answer your questions – at this FREE event!

* Please note: This event is now open to for both people living with HIV, and also LGBTIQ+ people over 50yrs *

When – Wed April 17th

Time – 10am – 2pm

Where – SHINE SA, 57 Hyde Street, Adelaide

RSVP or queries – Paul on 7099 5311 or paul.stone@samesh.org.au