A new University of Tasmania report shows LGBTIQ people have lower standards of living than other Tasmanians, prompting calls for government action.
The survey, conducted as part of the Institute for Social Change’s Tasmania Project, found that LGBTIQ people have lower income, higher unemployment, more housing stress, poorer health, and much lower personal safety.
“For many years, state governments have focussed on removing legal inequalities against LGBTIQ people, but this report shows the government must also tackle the disastrous social and economic impacts of discrimination,” said Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome.
“We call on the State Government to invest more in ensuring LGBTIQ people enjoy the same standard of living as other Tasmanians.
“The first step is for the State Government to ensure all its employment, income, housing, and health programs focus on LGBTIQ people as a high-risk group.”
Dr Ruby Grant, the author of the report from the Institute for Social Change, said that the Tasmanian-first research reflects many international trends.
“The figures are stark,” said Dr Grant.
“Even when we control for the younger age demographic of LGBTIQ respondents in the Tasmania Project survey, LGBTIQ Tasmanians have poorer health and lower incomes.
“That 43% of LGBTIQ Tasmanians, many in their 20s, feel that they can’t do the things they want to because of their health is a real problem.”
CEO of LGBTIQ support organisation and education service Working it Out Lynn Jarvis agreed that the research shows “serious and ongoing inequities”.
“We look forward to the government working with [us] and the broader LGBTIQ community to enact real change,” said Jarvis.
Tasmanian Council of Social Services CEO Adrienne Picone said the research provided a solid base for the provision of needed services.
“These research findings point to the need for more support and services to address the inequalities experienced by LGBTIQ people in Tasmania, especially around health, income, and housing,” said Picone.
The report also found LGBTIQ Tasmanians were hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic, being more likely to lose their jobs and more likely to experience mental health effects.
LGBTIQ people made up 7% of the overall sample of 2,354 Tasmanians.
The Tasmania Project regularly surveys Tasmanians on a wide range of social, economic, and health issues.
All its surveys will now ask participants whether they are LGBTIQ, allowing the living standards of LGBTIQ Tasmanians to be tracked over time.