Content note: contains graphic descriptions of homophobic violence.

LGBTI Australians are using the Twitter hashtag #TheyGetToVote to share their stories of homophobia.

Started by comedian Josh Thomas, the hashtag is highlighting people’s experiences of homophobic abuse, in the same week that Lyle Shelton and Tony Abbott both suggested that homophobia doesn’t exist in Australia.

Amid the calls for “respectful debate”, LGBTI people around Australia have taken to Twitter to recount times they have received homophobic or transphobic abuse by people who are now voting on LGBTI rights.

The experiences people have shared range from homophobic comments to violent attacks.

“The girls in high school who called me a dyke and the man who told me I just needed a good dick to turn me straight #TheyGetToVote,” tweeted one person.

“We held hands in Newtown,” wrote another. “Bashed by gang: broken jaw and seizures. 21 years ago. We’re still in love. Never held hands again.”

High-profile Australians have joined in using the hashtag to share their experiences.

“The hundreds that have screamed faggot at me, moved their kids away from me, or the fun few who have told me to kill myself #TheyGetToVote,” tweeted comedian Rhys Nicholson.

“A man follows me into bathroom, pounds the stall door, shouts ‘just cause you’re wearing a dress doesn’t mean you’re a woman’,” posted Jordan Raskopoulos from The Axis of Awesome.

Hundreds of Australians have shared their stories using the hashtag as the campaigns around the marriage equality vote continue.

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