Religious discrimination debate impacting LGBTIQ mental health, survey finds


melbourne religious discrimination rally ali hogg roz ward
Photo: Jordan Hirst

A new survey by just.equal has found the religious freedom and discrimination debate is taking a toll on the mental health of LGBTIQ Australians.

According to the new survey, more than 80% of LGBTIQ Australians report feeling worse now than during the 2017 marriage equality postal survey.

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Sixty-two percent of the LGBTIQ respondents reported feeling vulnerable, 67.2% feel angry and 78.4% not respected.

The survey polled close to 4,500 LGBTIQ Australians and allies and was commissioned by advocacy group just.equal.

The government’s controversial draft religious discrimination bill was unveiled in late August. But the draft bill has been criticised by LGBTIQ advocates as going too far.

According to the poll, 70.9% of LGBTIQ people believe that the primary aim of those pushing for new “religious freedom” laws is to weaken the rights of LGBTIQ people.

Ninety-eight percent of LGBTIQ people believe religious organisations like schools and hospitals shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Seventy-percent of respondents want to see more LGBTIQ advocacy from moderate Liberals. 58.7% want more from Labor MPs and 32.9% want more from the Greens.

There is one week left to make a submissions responding to the draft religious discrimination bill. For more details about making a submission visit the website here.

If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

MPs should speak up on religious discrimination

Just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome said the new survey results are a “shameful indictment” on Australia’s leaders as the religious discrimination debate continues.

“LGBTIQ+ Australians feel worse now than during the postal survey,” he said.

“The message to all politicians who voted for marriage equality but are currently silent is this: your complicity with homophobia and transphobia is hurting LGBTIQ+ Australians.

“Speak up for our equal dignity and against religious privilege now.”

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Croome said just.equal will make give a copy of the survey “to every politician who voted for marriage equality ASAP.”

The survey also asked participants their thoughts on the current transgender rights debate.

Eighty-five percent of respondents believe the media is biased against transgender people.

Eighty-eight percent believe politicians are less interested in transgender rights than they were in marriage equality.

Also, 90% believe trans and gender diverse people are suffering as a result of this debate.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.