LGBTI Australians reported double the amount of verbal and physical harassment and assault during the postal survey period, according to new research.

A survey of 9500 LGBTI people, as well as their friends and family, showed that more than 90 per cent said the postal survey had a negative impact on them, just as advocates warned it would.

The research, conducted by the Australia Institute and the National LGBTI Health Alliance, comes as marriage equality legislation is being debated in the House of Representatives.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Parliament that “the postal survey was one of the most remarkable political events in my lifetime – and I believe in the lifetime of many Australians.”

The preliminary findings also show that nearly 80 per cent of LGBTI people said they found the debate considerably or extremely stressful.

Almost 70 per cent of those surveyed said they “avoided being with people in general”, while 80 per cent said they kept their feelings hidden at least some of the time.

Reported experiences of depression, anxiety and stress rose by a third throughout the survey.

Because the survey also contained free response questions in which respondents could detail their experiences in depth, the full findings of the research are still to come.

Over 75 per cent of those who participated in the survey identified as LGBTI.

“The public debate over the equality of our bodies, relationships and feelings has been exhausting and frequently painful,” said Executive Director of the National LGBTI Health Alliance Rebecca Reynolds.

“These aspects of who we are should never have been the subject of public discussion, rather they should be celebrated in everyday life.”

“A sixty-two, thirty-eight result is an overwhelmingly positive result politically, but this debate has taken a real toll on the LGBTIQ+ community,” said Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director at The Australia Institute.

“We hope this study captures those experiences in a meaningful way.”

You can view the initial findings of the report here.

© Star Observer 2017 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.