New research shows that LGBTIQ Australians feel the current social situation, with the ongoing religious freedom debates, is worse now than during the 2017 same-sex marriage debate.
A survey conducted by LGBTIQ advocacy group, just.equal shows that LGBTIQ Australians and their allies feel the current religious discrimination and transgender debates are “payback” for marriage equality.
However, the survey also indicates that this is only one reason that LGBTIQ Australians feel under attack.
“It is an indictment on contemporary Australian politics that a significant part of the population feels public policy is motivated by revenge against them,” just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome said in a press release.
The survey, conducted in September, found that over 80 per cent of the 4500 participants currently feel worse now than they did during the marriage equality postal survey.
Other key findings in the survey found that, nearly 71 per cent of LGBTIQ people believe that the aim of religious freedom advocates is to take away the rights of LGBTIQ people, with almost 98 per cent of respondents agreeing that religious organisations should not be allowed to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The [Religious Discrimination] Bill is designed to protect those who don’t need it by those who aren’t being attacked,” said one participant in the survey.
Participants have also expressed concern that the current religious freedom debates are worsening the situation for LGBTIQ teachers and students, while LGBTIQ parents were concerned about their children being targets of continued prejudice.
Croome said the these findings not only show the alienating effects of the Coalition government’s religious debates on LGBTIQ people, but should also be sending a red-flag warning to “should-be allies,” such as the Australian Labor Party.
“The hundreds of comments made in response to our survey show exactly why LGBTIQ Australians and our allies feel worse now than during the postal survey,” he said.
“We feel the current religious discrimination and transgender debates are about revenge for marriage equality, and are motivated by animus,” he continued.
“We feel relentlessly attacked and re-traumatised by the current controversies, and are particularly concerned about the impact these controversies have on vulnerable parts of our community.
“We are deeply suspicious of the push to outlaw religious discrimination, believing it is cover for giving religious organisations and doctrine special legal rights and privileges.
“The message to the government is that its attack on the dignity, humanity and inclusion of LGBTIQ Australians is undermining its own stated aim of improving mental health and reducing suicide.”
Croome added: “The message to Labor and other should-be allies is to speak up more because every day you are silent is another day LGBTIQ people feel alone and undefended.”
The lack of perceived political interest is much higher for trans and gender diverse people, with more than 85 per cent of respondents agreeing that politicians are less interested in trans rights than they were in marriage equality, and that trans and gender diverse people are directly suffering as a result.