Culture

In Case You’ve Never Met A Gay Person, Here’s The Evidence That ‘No’ Voters Harmed LGBTIQ People

Send this to your local No voters.

Throughout the postal survey on marriage equality, LGBTIQ+ people were pretty clear about the toll the debate was taking on them — shockingly, it’s not actually fun or even comfortable to have the entire country openly debating whether you should have rights.

In fact, queer people have been pretty clear that just being around homophobes is damaging regardless of whether there’s a postal survey on, and now we have some new numbers to back that up.

It turns out that one of the only good things to come out of the postal survey was really good data on which parts of Australia are especially homophobic, and using that data, a new study has demonstrated that the health of lesbian, gay and bisexual people suffers in areas where homophobia is high.

The study, by Francisco Perales and Abram Todd at the University of Queensland, compares data from the postal survey (showing where the No voters are), with data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. It allowed researchers to compare levels of health for the LGB and heterosexual populations in the area. Unfortunately, the HILDA survey doesn’t ask whether people are transgender or intersex, so there’s no way to include trans and intersex people in the analysis.

By comparing those two data sources, the researchers were able to demonstrate that yep, there’s a trend here. The mental, physical and overall health of lesbian, gay and bisexual people was worse in areas with high proportions of No voters, declining as the number of No voters increased. Have a look at this graph, via The Conversationwhich demonstrates that decline:

lgb mental health

That red line is the mental health of lesbian, gay and bisexual people slowly declining as the proportion of No voters in their electorate rises.

This article over at The Conversation has interactive versions of that graph, showing the data for physical health and overall life satisfaction. The trend in all three areas looks similar: lesbian, gay and bisexual people record health below that of the heterosexual population in their area, and the gap widens in areas with a high proportion of No voters. It’s only in areas with very low percentages of No voters that LGB people and heterosexual people have pretty similar health.

Basically, as the researchers concluded, there’s a strong link between the level of stigma LGB people face in their community, and their level of health. Being around homophobes really does have an impact.

“Even within a relatively progressive country such as Australia, the lack of acceptance of LGB people and the dearth of social support that they receive are to a large extent responsible for their overall poor health and wellbeing,” Perales concluded.

You can read a simple breakdown of the study written by its authors over at The Conversationand see more graphs showing the data involved. Once you’ve had a look, we strongly recommend sending the link to your local No voters, or even the politicians who empowered their garbage takes.