Shelton dismisses concerns that LGBTI people suffered during marriage vote

Lyle Shelton from the Australian Conservatives has responded to a report released yesterday that outlined the psychological effects the marriage postal survey had on LGBTIQ people saying that he suffered more during the survey.

Shelton responded to a story published by saying the report was “emotional blackmail”. The former head of the Australian Christian Lobby, who is now aspiring to be a member of parliament, accused the Australian Federal Police of covering up the circumstances surrounding the explosion at the ACL’s Canberra headquarters.

“At least none of you had your office bombed (complete with police cover-up), white powder sent, events disrupted by stage jumpers & masked protesters, home addresses put on the internet, sacked from your jobs, venue bookings cancelled etc. Your article is emotional blackmail.” Shelton posted to Twitter.

The lobby group’s Canberra offices were the scene of an explosion in December 2016, which the Australian Christian Lobby have suggested was a domestic terrorism incident.

The federal police’s investigation into the incident declared that the attempted suicide by Canberra man was not politically motivated. After months of hospitalisation the man was charged with arson and property damage, but the case was discontinued after he took his own life.

Lyle Shelton has voiced his belief previously that the Australian Federal Police were not coming clean with the whole story about the incident highlighting that the accused man was gay and had previously volunteered on a marriage equality campaign in the USA.

The survey from psychologists at the University of Sydney examined the psychological distress experienced by LGBTI+ people during the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.

The study showed that the overall stigma experienced by lesbian, gay and bisexual people during the debate was a source of stress, but also resilience for individuals who had social support networks.

Published in Australian Psychologist, the study examined 1305 Australians who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual during the marriage survey in 2017.

The research revealed that exposure to homophobic campaign and media messages could be linked to increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression in LGB+ Australians.

The study’s lead author Stefano Verrelli said the findings highlight how political decision-making and legislative processes related to the rights of minority populations have the potential to negatively affect their mental health.

Verrelli also noted that the researched confirmed many of the concerns expressed by mental health experts ahead of and during the vote, including the Australian Medical Association, the National Mental Health Commission and the Australian Psychological Society.

Results of the study also highlighted factors which helped to protect the mental health of LGB+ people during times of intense public scrutiny.

“The family and friends of same-sex attracted people appear to play an important role – and seem to even offset some of the harm done by the negative side of these debate – by openly supporting LGBT rights,” Verrelli said.

OIP Staff

Do you need some support?

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

Lifeline: 13 11 14 Beyondblue: and or QLife: 1800 184 527 and
QLife are a counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

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