NSWGLRL release findings of LGBTIQ+ COVID-19 community survey

New South Wales Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby (NSWGLRL) have released the findings of a community survey examining the effects of COVID-19 on the LGBTIQ+ community.

Beginning in May, NSW GLRL surveyed the state’s LGBTIQ+ community on demographics, employment, mental health, wellbeing, relationships and healthcare.

NSW GLRL co-convener Jack Whitney says the results show the community and policy makers are concerned over economic, health and safety issues.

“The research undertaken by the lobby shows that LGBTIQ people have experienced significant mental health vulnerabilities as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis,” Whitney said.

The findings report reveals that 65% of respondents experienced ‘less than good’ or ‘poor’ mental health under isolation, with 25% accessing mental support services, and 36% sharing concerns that mental health support was not adequately funded to deal with the crisis.

14% of respondents reported a loss of employment, while 61% answered that their personal relationships had been impacted often.

Those surveyed also highlighted a series of other issues that had been affected by COVID-19, including the impacts on delays in gender affirming surgeries, and the lack of accessibility for asylum seekers and temporary residents seeking support.

“The stories of the community and our members show that the majority of job losses are in financial services, community services, travel and tourism, fitness and communications,” Whitney added.

Domestic and family violence was also reported as an issue where relationships had deteriorated due to social distancing, living indoors, unemployment and other compounding factors. Many respondents also cited a fear or apprehension when dealing with police.

“Safety was a common issue for our members… there was a story of a young gay man who had to go back to his family home who are not supportive… he has had to stop talking to his boyfriend and friends.”

Data collection is also an ongoing issue, especially as the Australian Government continues to exclude questions of gender and sexuality in the census.

“Data on LGBTIQ people is sorely missing and seldom collected… this is why it is so crucial that we are counted in the Australian Census… if we aren’t counted, how will we ever be able measure community wellbeing and improve outcomes for future generations?”

NSWGLRL are calling for a number of recommendations to be implemented in light of the findings, including an expanded social security program in lieu of early superannuation access, inclusion in the Australian Census, accessible support for asylum seekers, increased LGBTIQ+ support within the police force and more funding for mental health services.

“We are confident that we have presented the issues most pressing and unique to the LGBTIQ people. We hope that the Government takes seriously our submissions, alongside with other civil society partners, like Amnesty International and the Human Rights Law Centre”.

Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 and www.beyondblue.org.au

QLife: 1800 184 527 and www.qlife.org.au
QLife are a counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

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