By Jackie Turner

The first few weeks of this marathon election campaign have been gruelling for trans people – particularly trans women and girls – as our lives have once again become the subject of a cooked-up debate. 

But if candidates think attacking our community is a vote winner, they’re sorely mistaken.

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Anti-equality views are, in fact, wildly unpopular. At the height of the coverage of Liberal Party candidate for Warringah’s anti-trans tweets, we polled voters in two marginal NSW seats that will be crucial to determining the outcome of the election — Wentworth and Parramatta. 

The research found that, in both seats, a candidate who expressed views critical of the LGBTIQI people would stand to lose twice as many votes as they’d secure. 

Overwhelming Support For Our Community

Conversely, there is overwhelming support for our community, with over 75 percent of people agreeing that trans people deserve the same rights and protections as other Australians, and two in three agreeing that religious schools should not be able to fire someone or expel a student for being transgender. 

In addition, LGBTIQ+ votes can’t be taken for granted. With over 5,600 LGBTIQI respondents, our community election survey is one of the largest surveys of its kind in Australia. Rainbow Votes 2022 indicates the voting intentions and priorities of at least 850,000 LGBTIQI voters across the country. 

It found that, after a series of high-profile debates about our lives, LGBTIQI voters have become sceptical of the parties standing for election and are yet to make up their mind who to vote for. 

Around one in five LGBTIQI respondents who voted for Liberal, National, Labor or the Greens last election are reconsidering their vote this election. One in three LGBTIQI voters are either undecided or reconsidering who they will vote for. 

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Political parties and candidates have an opportunity to win back the support of the voters they’ve lost and build support among those that are undecided by committing to acting on the issues that matter to LGBTIQI people.

For undecided respondents, LGBTIQI issues are the most important consideration in determining who they vote for, with the strongest support for removing religious exemptions in anti-discrimination laws, ending damaging LGBTQI conversion practices and unnecessary medical treatments performed on intersex people without personal consent.  

True Equality Means Equality For All of Us

The survey also gave us a glimpse of how united we are, revealing that the whole LGBTQI community stands strongly in support of action on those issues that affect only some among us, including improvements in access to affirming healthcare for trans people.

True equality means equality for all of us. With the election within weeks, it’s never been more important for us to work together to ensure that whoever forms government has committed to protecting and progressing the rights of LGBTIQI people.  

Rather than engaging in damaging debates about the lives of trans and gender diverse people, politicians and candidates would be better served treating our communities with dignity and respect and committing to act on issues that impact our communities.

To see responses to Equality Australia’s parties and candidates survey, visit: equalityaustralia.org.au/federal-election 

Jackie Turner is passionate about community power, developing the leadership of LGBTQIA+ people, and building movements that can win. Jackie is the Trans Equality Advocate at Equality Australia.

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