Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Tasmanians are seven times more likely to have experienced violent assault than other Australians, according to new research.

Launched by Tasmanian community development minister Cassy O’Connor today, the research is considered to be the most comprehensive of its kind conducted in the state.

It also found 74 per cent of respondents reported feeling vulnerable to prejudice and discrimination from strangers.

That’s almost double that to the broader national community with just over 40 per cent of LGBTI Australians reporting they had hidden their sexuality or gender identity in public occasionally, according to the 2012 Private Lives 2 report.

Tasmanians indicated they were less confident in reporting their experiences of prejudice to the police than their NSW counterparts, as well as their identity to health workers.

Respondents also reported that discrimination or harassment resulted in depression and anxiety.

Be Proud Tasmania commissioned Dr Nicole Asquith and Dr Christopher Fox to conduct the research which attracted 162 participants.

Working It Out CEO Susan Ditter said the community and government sector should do more to inform LGBTI Tasmanians of their options for reporting discrimination.

“Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the research is that many LGBTI Tasmanians don’t recognise discrimination when it occurs because they are so used to it,” she said.

“The job ahead for the community and government sector is to ensure LGBTI Tasmanians know there is something they can do about discrimination when they experience it.”

Tasmanian Council on AIDS, Hepatitis and Related Diseases (TasCAHRD) CEO Shaun Staunton said the research showed that worryingly high levels of Tasmanian LGBTI people felt the need to conceal their sexual or gender identity when seeking health services.

“Almost one in five people occasionally hid their identity when accessing health care, and almost 14 per cent usually hid it for fear of prejudice and discrimination from health care providers,” he said.

“Honest and open support in health care settings is essential for individuals to receive the assistance they need to maximise their health and receive the advice needed to prevent poor physical and mental health outcomes. Health professionals need to be doing all they can to communicate that they provide an unprejudiced and safe environment.”

The research was funded by the state government through its LGBTI community grants program and conducted in partnership with Working It Out Inc, TasCAHRD, and the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group.

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