More than 80% of Australian LGBTQ people said they feel worse now than when marriage equality was won in 2017, according to new data.
The Make Love Louder report, commissioned by Absolut, gathered responses from 1000 LGBTQ people aged 18 to 65, who also said they alter their daily activities out of fear of being discriminated against.
Three in four have personally experienced negativity or discrimination relating to their LGBTQ status while one in four reported hearing negativity about the community every day.
“LGBTIQ+ people can experience a number of other intersecting types of prejudice too—such as racial prejudice or prejudice against people with disabilities,” the report’s lead researcher Dr Shirleene Robinson said.
“These statistics show that rates of abuse and discrimination towards LGBTIQ+ people in Australia are endemic. They are deeply concerning and they need to be addressed as an immediate priority.”
Pride and the #loveislove hashtag may be trending on social right now but data from the Make Love Louder report suggests 73% of Australians consider themselves “silent supporters”, with only 2% of allies or friends identifying themselves as activists.
That’s just one in four allies and friends that actively voice their support for the LGBTQ community.
The research shows 82% of allies have questions or concerns about their support and are not sure what is really helpful or if it is their place to speak up.
But community members encourage friends and allies to speak out.
“It is exhausting when it feels like I’m defending my place in society all the time. When allies activate in defence of my right to be me, I feel less isolated, Ivan Hinton-Teoh co-founder of just.equal said when the report was unveiled during Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras’ Fair Day event on Sunday.
“I can get on with my life, knowing someone else sees me, my humanity and, importantly, is fighting to affirm my dignity and right to a fair and equal space in the community.”
From the study, Dr Robinson collected a list of ways the wider community can help.
Here’s what participants said was most important:
1. Stand up against anti-LGBTIQ+ speech
2. Use respectful language about the LGBTIQ+ community
3. Be accepting and considering of your own prejudices
4. Help LGBTIQ+ people and perspectives be seen and heard
5. Listen to LGBTIQ+ people
6. Express support for LGBTIQ+ people on social media
“Fighting for equal rights in a public forum caused significant trauma and distress to an already vulnerable population, where an unnecessary postal survey asked all Australians whether same-sex couples should have the right to marry,” Dr Robinson added.
“This study shows that this support matters deeply. Now more than ever, it is important that LGBTIQ+ allies speak up to make Australia a fairer place for everyone.”