ACON’s Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project supports people affected by gay hate, homophobia, harassment, abuse and violence and also works to prevent homophobic-related violence and abuse from happening.

Hate directed at us, others in our communities, or those perceived to be GLBT comes in many forms. It can result in crimes or homophobic actions, behaviours or attitudes. It can affect our sense of identity, perceptions of safety and our mental health or wellbeing.

Anti-gay/ lesbian/ trans hate crimes (such as vilification) are those in which victims are selected solely or primarily because of their actual or presumed sexual orientation or preference. Hate crimes are unique because they send messages to entire groups that they are unwelcome and unsafe in particular communities.

Sexual orientation and gender identity are important parts of self-identity, and abuse can create a sense of vulnerability and powerlessness around who we are and how we identify.

This in turn can lead to depression, anxiety, stress or anger. The effects on entire communities can also be profound, particularly if members already feel vulnerable, isolated or marginalised.

Cyber-driven homophobic vilification can also deeply affect us. Cyber-harassment perpetrators take control by generating, passing on or subscribing to the personally directed hate in a way which leaves the targets extremely vulnerable.

Personal networks can offer support. ‘Looking after your mates’ is a good approach at any time but particularly when they are in need. Sometimes a safe, listening ear is what is needed.

A therapeutic approach can also work well. To contact ACON’s day and evening counselling, call 02 9206 2000 or 1800 063 060 between 11am–1pm.

info: For other information, support or to make a report, contact ACON’s Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project on avp@acon.org.au or 02 9206 2116 or on 1800 063 060. Robert Knapman is AVP coordinator.

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