Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) Australians suffer poorer wellbeing in the parts of the country that most strongly voted against marriage equality last year, a new study has found.
A University of Queensland study examined the health and wellbeing data of 15,000 people together with the results of last year’s marriage equality postal survey in electorates across the country.
In the postal survey, 133 of the 150 federal electorates returned a majority ‘yes’ vote in last year’s marriage postal survey. The 17 ‘no’ voting electorates were primarily in Western Sydney and regional Queensland.
Dr Francisco Perales from The University of Queensland Institute for Social Science Research said the study had found that straight people had the best overall health, but the health of their LGB neighbours was closer in electorates with higher rates of support for marriage equality.
“LGB people living in electorates with higher percentages of ‘no’ voters in the 2017 postal survey reported poorer general health, mental health and life satisfaction than LGB people living elsewhere,” he said.
Dr Perales said that “minority stress” – a term describing the unique pressures faced by minority group members – and stigma towards LGB people were key factors in explaining the poorer health and wellbeing.
He said the research showed that a lack of social support available for LGB people in some places also played a key role, and the study’s findings had significant implications for the development of social policy to improve social and health outcomes of Australian LGB people.
“Our results highlight the need for interventions that reduce the complex discrimination faced by LGB people and increase the social support available to them,” he said.
The study was published in the journal Social Science & Medicine.
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