STATEMENT FROM THE NATIONAL LGBTI HEALTH ALLIANCE IN RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM INQUIRY’S REPORT

In light of the recommendations from the Religious Freedom Inquiry’s report being revealed  in the media and across social media, the National LGBTI Health Alliance (the Alliance) wishes to take the opportunity to affirm its position to end discrimination against LGBTI people.

The Alliance recognises that freedom of religion, conscience and belief (“religious freedom”) is a fundamental human right and is an essential part of a liberal, democratic society. However, the Alliance believes the law unfairly sanctions religious bodies to, in their right to exercise freedom of religion, discriminate against LGBTI students and teachers. 

Although, many LGBTI Australians live happy and healthy lives, an overwhelming amount of research evidence consistently demonstrates that a disproportionate number of LGBTI people experience poorer mental health outcomes and have a higher risk of suicidal behaviours than non-LGBTI people. This is not due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or variations in sex characteristics. Rather, it is due to the stigma, prejudice, discrimination and social exclusion they experience as key social determinants of health.

Religious exemptions in federal anti-discrimination law exacerbate, and legitimate, discriminatory conduct against sexuality and gender diverse people within religious school environments.

The Alliance looks forward to continuing to work with our members, stakeholders and government to ensure that every Australian has equal rights to education and employment.

If you are experiencing distress and would like to talk with someone on the phone or over the web then please call QLife on 1800 184 527 or go to www.qlife.org.au.