How Did the Postal Vote Impact Australian LGBTQ+ Residents?: Exploring Well-Being and Messaging

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The Australian same-sex marriage postal vote effectively propelled policy change and legalized same-sex marriage. Leading up to the vote, campaigns both for (i.e. “Yes”) and against (i.e. “No”) it were launched to sway the outcome of the vote. This study explored the effects the campaign had on members of the LGBTQ+ community. An OLS regression of survey data (N = 123) indicated that personal well-being was greater amongst LGBTQ+ participants who felt less-impacted by the “No” campaign and experienced fewer interpersonal microaggressions. Positive messages associated with the “Yes” campaign were not significant. Content analysis of an open-ended question (n = 112) that asked participants to describe how they were impacted revealed five themes: negative feelings, negative personal consequences, negative consequences from the community, negative media impact, and positive outcomes. Negative emotions (e.g. anger, hurt) and negative interpersonal consequences (e.g. loss of family members due to lack of support) were overwhelmingly represented in these data; less than 5% of the responses were related to a positive outcome (e.g. new allies). This study highlights how members of the LGBTQ+ community in Australia were harmed by government practices, including feeling objectified by others “deciding” on their relationships, experiencing overt aggression, and feeling unsafe.


Institution listing for authors Josh Mattiske and Steph Webb were originally published as "University of South".