Simon Dunn launches Go Fund Me page for vulnerable LGBTIQ+ youth while Folau asks public for money.
On Friday, rugby league star Israel Folau launched a Go Fund Me campaign with the aim of raising $3 million. He claims the money will help pay his expected legal expenses in his actions against Rugby Australia. Folau claims he was wrongly dismissed following his homophobic tweets.
In response, Aussie athlete and LGBTIQ+ activist, Simon Dunn has launched his own Go Fund Me campaign – with the money going directly to Twenty10, a NSW organisation which helps protect at-risk LGBTIQ youth.
Simon told DNA he chose Twenty10 because the people most effected by Folau’s online homophobia are vulnerable LGBTIQ+ kids.
“Fifty-five percent of young LGBTQI+ women, and 40 per cent of young LGBTQI+ men are likely to experience psychological distress, compared with 18 per cent and 7 per cent in the general population respectively,” writes Simon on his page.
“Between 24-36 per cent of LGBTQI+ people filled the criteria for a major depressive disorder in 2005, which is 4 – 6 times greater than the general population,” the page explains. “The LGBTQI+ community are almost twice (31 per cent) as likely to experience anxiety disorders
A Beyondblue study conducted in 2011 showed 80 per cent of the LGBTQI+ community experienced an anxiety attack within the previous year.
LGBTIQ youth are also among the most financially disadvantaged in the broader community.
Israel Folau’s contract with Rugby Australia is worth $4 million dollars and he is seeking damages from Rugby Australia of $10 million.
Simon, who currently works as a personal trainer in Sydney, plays rugby with the Sydney Convicts, trained for the Australian Bobsleigh Team, has twice appeared on the cover of DNA and writes a monthly fitness column. He has set a goal of $30,000 on his “Supporting LGBT+ Youth In Response To Israel Folau” campaign.
Jain Moralee from Twenty10 told DNA the campaign couldn’t have come at a better time and the organisation is currently in fund-raising mode.
Twenty10 states, among its objectives: “From housing to social support, counselling to groups and events, Twenty10 creates spaces where young people can be themselves, free from judgement. Join us in making people of all genders, sexualities and intersex variations affirmed, secure, healthy and connected, living in a society without oppression, persecution or violence.”