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Postal vote results give indication of LGB health

Following the release of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey results, many people poked around on interactive maps that showed areas where the majority of voters in an electorate returned a ‘no’ response.

Now, research has provided insight into what it’s like for gay, lesbian and bisexual (LGB) people who live in those areas.

A University of Queensland study, published in Social Science & Medicine, found LGB Australians experience more health problems in areas where most people voted against same-sex marriage.

Dr Francisco Perales, from the UQ Institute for Social Science Research, said stigma against those who identified as lesbian, gay and bisexual was a key factor in explaining their disadvantage.

“LGB people living in electorates with higher percentages of ‘no’ voters in the 2017 postal survey reported poorer general health, mental health and life satisfaction than LGB people living elsewhere,” Perales said.

While the study found heterosexuals enjoyed better health and wellbeing overall, these differences reduced or disappeared in electorates with higher rates of support for same-sex marriage.

The study team said the results point to a lack of social support available for LGB people in some parts of Australia, and that minority stress was the main source of the health problems.

“Our results highlight the need for interventions that reduce the complex discrimination faced by LGB people and increase the social support available to them,” Perales said.

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