With the Federal Government’s Religious Discrimination Bill being debated in Parliament this week, LGBTIQ+ Health Australia is calling for politicians, media and others to take care when commenting in the public domain. LGBTIQ+ Health Australia is urging those commenting to consider the negative impacts that continued public attention on the Religious Discrimination Bill has had and will have on the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ people and communities.
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia is the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals that provide health-related programs, services and research focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people and other sexuality and gender diverse (LGBTIQ+) people and communities.
Nicky Bath (she/her), CEO of LGBTIQ+ Health Australia said “LGBTIQ+ people already face significant psychological stress and while many LGBTIQ+ people live healthy and happy lives, the 2020 Private Lives 3survey found that more than half of participants (57.2%), report high or very high levels of stress.”
“This stress can be directly attributed to the stigma, prejudice, discrimination, and abuse that individuals and communities experience. The Religious Discrimination Bill has instigated ongoing public discussions, attention, and debates about our rights and who we intrinsically are. Many, even the most resilient of us, will be negatively impacted”, she said.
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia endorses the submissions and recommendations of its sector partners Equality Australia, Just.Equal and others directly involved in advocating on behalf of LGBTIQ+ people to ensure that protections from discrimination for people of faith areachieved without undermining existing rights and protections for LGBTIQ+ people.
Ms Bath highlighted that LGBTIQ+ people and communities, and the organisations which work to promote their health and wellbeing will need to take care of themselves and each other through this process. “Please take time for yourself, and check in with friends, family, clients and colleagues. We encourage anyone experiencing distress in this time to call Qlife on 1800 184 527 or chat online at qlife.org.au”, she said.
Qlife provides Australia-wide anonymous peer support and referral for people wanting to talk about a range of issues including sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships.
You can read LGBTIQ+ Health Australia’s full submission on the Religious Discrimination Bills and Related Bills here
Media Contact: Nicky Bath, CEO | Mobile: 0432 328 706