Equality advocates have launched a new LGBTIQ community survey in the hope of gauging community attitudes to the current religious freedom and transgender debates.

The survey, launched by advocacy group just.equal and open to all LGBTIQ community members and their allies, will be used to inform lobbyists and advocates ahead of the likely introduction of the controversial Religious Discrimination Bill.

Just.equal spokesperson Ivan Hinton-Teoh said the survey would provide insight into how these debates were affecting both LGBTIQ individuals and the wider community.

“Politicians need to know how the current religious freedom and transgender debates are affecting the LGBTIQ community and our allies,” he said.

“Given the Morrison Government’s commitment to positive mental health, we believe it is important to explore the impact the extended debate is having on our community.

“I urge all LGBTIQ Australians and our allies to participate in the survey, so we can show politicians what impacts their actions have.”

 

Debates surrounding religious freedoms and gender politics have recently been sparked in parliament following former Wallabies star Israel Folau’s decision to sue Rugby Australia for unfair dismissal earlier this year.

Mr Folau, a staunch Christian, paraphrased a passage from the Bible to say in an Instagram post that “hell awaits” homosexuals unless they repent. 

Rugby Australia responded by terminating Folau’s $5 million contract in May, prompting Folau to take the case to the Fair Work Commission over employer infringement on religious expression.

Since Folau’s high-profile sacking, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a Pentecostal Christian, has been fine-tuning religious discrimination laws with help from Federal Attorney-General, Christian Porter.

The proposed Religious Discrimination Bill, revealed at The Great Synagogue in Sydney on Thursday, would follow the existing architecture of other anti-discrimination laws – such as the Sex or Race Discrimination Acts. 

However, LGBTIQ community advocates have expressed concerns that religious conservatives connected to the Liberal Party are pushing for the bill to go further, potentially enabling unmoderated discrimination against LGBTIQ individuals in areas such as the workplace and community sport.

Mr Morrison came under fire earlier this month for attacking a Cricket Australia decision to allow transgender and gender-diverse people to play the sport at the highest level, quickly labelling the decision as a “sledgehammer approach”.

“I think it’s pretty heavy-handed, to put it pretty mildly,” he told 2GB Radio.

“There are far more practical ways to handle these issues than these heavy mandatory ways of doing it.”

Mr Hinton-Teoh said just.equal’s history of conducting surveys ensured the LGBTIQ community had a strong voice during national debates on issues directly affecting the community.

“Going back to the plebiscite, we have sought the views of the LGBTIQ community to ensure they are front-and-centre to our policy direction and the policy direction of law-makers,” he said.

“Our surveys, including the current one, are developed with the assistance of social science researcher, Dr Sharon Dane.

“A multiple-mode recruitment strategy is used to ensure the survey researches a broad and diverse sample of the LGBTIQ community.”

The just.equal survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/JustEqual.

 

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