The australian marriage equality debate: A qualitative analysis of the self-reported lived experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) people

Saan Ecker, Sharon S. Rostosky, Ellen D.B. Riggle, Elizabeth Anne Riley, Joanne M. Byrnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study explored the lived experiences of a sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) people during the Australian Government postal survey on legal recognition of same-sex marriage (August to November 2017). Negative impacts of public voting and debates on marriage equality for LGBTIQ people have been previously documented in United States, but less so in other national contexts. Thematic analysis was conducted using written responses of LGBTIQ participants (N = 5,313) to open-ended questions on a larger survey. Findings revealed that LGBTIQ participants experienced the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey debate as a pervasive and predominantly negative event. Participants reported experiences of prejudice and discrimination and increased fear, anxiety, anger, and depression. They also described the harm and hurt caused by widespread negative images of and messages about LGBTIQ people. Some participants felt their lives were under threat and reported psychological distress, including thoughts of suicide. Although a few participants noted positive support that helped them cope, most participants perceived the debate and vote as a highly stressful, socially fracturing process that threatened interpersonal relationships with family members, workmates, and communities. Many participants described feeling betrayed by the government, country, and Church. These findings extend previous studies that document the public health impacts of political processes that publicly debate the human rights of LGBTIQ individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-226
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association.

Keywords

  • Discrimination
  • LGBTIQ
  • Mental health
  • Same-sex marriage
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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