A plea for those disconnected from family

THE graffitied walls of the West Tamar Highway bridge don't provide much shelter for people who use it for refuge.

It's an especially miserable place to be in the holiday season.

Christmas can be a ``double-kick in the head'' for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people disconnected from their family, Don Macdonald said.

The Rainbow Communities deputy chairman is aware how difficult the holiday season can be for some people.

``I was lucky - I had wonderful parents,'' Mr Macdonald said.

``But there are some people whose families are not able to accept them for whatever reason.''

Mr Macdonald's parents couldn't shield their child from prejudice, and the Richmond-born man hasn't seen a lot change in his 65 years.

He was teased through school -  an issue he still works through with Tasmanian youth.

``With primary school came teasing, bullying and  verbal and physical abuse from both adults and students,'' Mr MacDonald said.

``I hated every day at primary school, recess and lunchtimes the most. I never understood why I was a target.''

Mr Macdonald spoke in Launceston last week for Human Rights Day, finishing with a plea to the families of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

Novelty was the wrong word, he said, when describing what it was like to have someone ``different'' in the family. 

``It's  `we've got one of them in our family','' he said.

``Please don't be that father or parent - love your children unconditionally.''

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