A groundbreaking report which shows same-sex attracted (SSA) Australians from Arabic-speaking backgrounds face homophobic violence will be released next week.

The ACON report – We’re Family Too – will be launched at NSW Parliament on Tuesday and includes the experience of SSA men and women in NSW, their family members, community and welfare workers, as well as religious and community leaders from NSW’s Arab communities.

Report author Ghassan Kassisieh said the report’s findings offer a chance for the community to speak openly about the issue for the first time.

“The report is titled We’re Family Too and that’s the key message,” Kassisieh said.

“SSA Arabs are saying to their families and communities, we exist and we must talk about the pain that homophobia is inflicting on us and the people who love us.”

In the findings, a third of respondents reported receiving threats of violence, while a quarter said they had actually experienced homophobic violence. 

The most common experience of homophobia faced by respondents was verbal abuse, a pressure to ‘act straight’ and being the subject of rumours.

Most respondents reported facing hostilities, often within their own families and communities.

“Yet despite the homophobia experienced, the participants in the report keep coming back to the great value they place on their family and culture, and the desire for a more inclusive and supportive relationship with the people who love them,” Kassisieh said.                 

The study also showed people from an Arabic-speaking background also faced racism and ethnic stereotyping from within the GLBT community.

Respondents said they were frustrated by an undue emphasis on sex, drugs and body image.

 The report was supported by the Arab Council Australia.

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