To our friends in the LGBTI community,
We know that for some of you, the next few days will be hard.
With the debate on marriage equality set to dominate the coming days of federal parliament, the constant media reporting of it and dialogue across social media platforms, can become overwhelming, particularly when some views expressed about marriage equality and the LGBTI community are negative and hurtful.
If you find the events of the next few days overwhelming or they bring up issues for you, please remember there is help available and people to talk to including QLife 1800 184 527 (phone and web chat available 3pm – midnight) and BeyondBlue 1300 22 4636.
WayAhead supports marriage equality and we support it happening through a free vote in parliament.
We believe in marriage equality because we believe love is love. We believe a relationship between people of the same sex is of equal value and importance as a relationship between a man and woman.
We also believe in marriage equality because it will demonstrate to the LGBTI community that you are valued by the wider Australian community, helping lead to de-stigmatisation.
Over the last fifty years, Australia has made impressive gains regarding how we treat and think of LGBTI Australians in our society, however stigma, discrimination and homophobia are still issues we must continue to address. These issues can negatively impact the mental health of LGBTI people.
As set-out in Australian Marriage Equality’s recent statement ‘The evidence clearly shows that LGBTI communities have significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, self-harm, suicidal ideation and suicide than the general population.’
WayAhead calls on politicians currently debating the future direction of marriage equality in Australia to remember this in their deliberations.
Consistent public polling proves that the majority of Australians believe in marriage equality and supports Australia’s LGBTI community. While sometimes it can feel like the debate is negative and frustrating – remember that there is widespread support for marriage equality in Australia and together we will all march towards a country where people are free to marry the person they love.