LGBTI community groups have released a mental health resource in advance of the upcoming religious discrimination debate.
The self care guide provides advice on limiting the negative impact of public debates around LGBTI discrimination.
“Switchboard Victoria experienced firsthand, during the 2017 postal survey, how an open-ended public debate on our human rights detrimentally affects the mental health of our communities,” said Switchboard Victoria CEO Joe Ball.
“The level of harm experienced during the marriage postal survey is why we have designed this infographic that promotes self care and joined with Equality Australia and the LGBTI Health Alliance to distribute this important resource.
“Positioning our LGBTIQA+ rights as in conflict with people of faith’s rights is a false binary that we openly reject,” said Ball.
Director of Legal Advocacy at Equality Australia Lee Carnie said the debate around religious freedoms was likely to bear similarities to the lengthy marriage equality debate, which reached its nadir in 2017 with the postal survey.
“The Morrison Government needs to recognise that their commitment to introducing a Religious Discrimination Bill will have an impact on LGBTIQ+ people, because of the public debate it will stir up,” Carnie said.
“The LGBTIQ+ community is rightly fearful about conservative religious groups agitating hard to wind back our hard-won protections from discrimination.
“We know that our community is one that fights for what is right and supports each other,” they added.
Survey results released in December 2017, just following the end of the postal survey, found that more than 90 per cent of 9500 LGBTI people and their allies said the survey had a negative impact on them.
Research published by psychologists at the University of Sydney in January found that increased exposure to anti-LGBTI rhetoric during the marriage equality debate caused increased psychological distress among 1305 lesbian, gay and bisexual Australians surveyed.
“We’re now facing the next battle for LGBTIQ+ equality, and this important resource is about reminding people to take care of themselves when they’re repeatedly being exposed to toxic or hateful posts online,” said Carnie.
To access the self care resource and share it among your networks, visit switchboard.org.au.