Education the key to escaping prejudice

27 May 2021

IDAHOBIT is a big acronym for an important event – 17 May is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia, which marks the day the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, in 1990.


We chose IDAHOBIT to announce Hydro Tasmania as the first Tasmanian business to form a Gold Partnership with the Pinnacle Foundation, a national charity that provides opportunities, mentoring and scholarships to young LGBTIQ+ students, to support their full time tertiary study.


This partnership will see a new ‘Hydro Tasmania Scholarship’ awarded annually, beginning in 2022.


It’s remarkable to reflect on how far Tasmania has come on the issue of gender rights, from being the last state in Australia to decriminalise homosexuality, to joining the rest of Australia in voting for marriage equality just over three years ago. But there is still urgent work to be done.


The Pinnacle Foundation CEO Andrew Staite said that many people think that since Australia achieved marriage equality, homophobia and discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people have ended, but that is not the case.


“National research from the LGBTIQ+ Health Australia shows that young LGBTIQ+ adults are still between 5 and 11 times more likely to attempt self-harm or experience psychological distress directly related to living with stigma, prejudice, discrimination, bullying and abuse.


“And research from Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute shows that low self-esteem, family disruption and severe peer victimisation are all factors that make it difficult for young people to complete their education, which is a cost not only for those individuals but for society as a whole.”


“Being an LGBTIQ+ young person in an unwelcoming environment is a lived experience for many, but education is a ticket to a different life and that is why the Hydro Tasmania Scholarship will literally change – and maybe even save – lives."


Hydro Tasmania CEO Evangelista Albertini said the creation of this scholarship was an important step for the business, which will donate $50,000 for scholarships over the next three years.


“We strive to be a leader in the Tasmanian business community and that includes promoting diversity wherever possible,” Mr Albertini said.


“I have watched our business and this state grow and change for the better over many years and can say unequivocally that being more welcoming and inclusive of different voices makes all of us stronger and more successful.”


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