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An international study of how Australians’ attitudes to homosexuality and gender identity will affect LGBTQI Australians in 2018 has found that the laws will have an impact on both.
Key points: An international survey of 1,000 people from around the world found Australians’ views on same-sex relationships, same-gender relationships, transgender identity, and sexual orientation will be affected by the law changes.
The study, conducted by the Australian Institute of Public Affairs (AIPA), found Australians were more likely to support laws that restrict sexual behaviour, such as restricting the number of people at a dinner party, than they were to support such laws that encourage LGBTI people to engage in sex outside marriage.
The new law will affect about 1.5 million people who live in Australia, and affect about 300,000 children.
The survey found attitudes to LGBTQI issues in Australia were strongly linked to views about homosexuality, and the same-gendered relationships and sexual orientations that many Australians currently support.
AIPA’s Dr Michael Gellatly said the results showed “we’re not just in a crisis”, and that the results were important because it “shows how Australia’s laws are actually working in practice”.
The survey also found that attitudes towards sexual orientation and sexual behaviour were strongly associated with how strongly Australians felt about the laws.
Mr Gellattly said a significant number of Australians were “disappointed” with the law.
“In our view, these laws are a big step forward in terms of making Australia a more inclusive and just place for people of all sexual orientities and genders,” he said.
The AIPS survey found Australians with a strong support for same- gender relationships, who were often seen as less accepting of LGBTQI rights.
“We found that support was strongest among those who felt the most strongly about same- sex relationships,” Dr Gellati said.
“Those with strong attitudes to same- gendered relationships were also more likely than others to think that laws that restricted sexual behaviour and increased the number at a meal party would have a positive effect.”
Dr Gellsatly added that this was particularly important because there was a “smaller group of people who were not supportive of same- sexual relationships” in the study.
“It was a group that was more likely in general to have been less supportive of the law than people who supported the law on same sex relationships.”
The AAPA study also found support for laws that prohibited people from engaging in sexual activity outside marriage was strongly associated not only with opinions on gay rights, but also gender identity, sexual orientation, and HIV.
The findings are a clear warning that Australia’s anti-discrimination laws will “impose huge harms on people of any sexual orientation”, Dr Gelsatly warned.
“If we continue to hold these laws up as the way forward, we will see the effects of these laws being felt more and more in the rest of the world,” he added.
The results of the AIP study were published in the International Journal of Homosexuality, Transsexuality and Intersex and will be presented at the International Conference on Homosexualities (ICHH) in Melbourne this year.
The laws that have been passed in Australia are expected to be signed into law in September.
The Australian Government is expected to announce a new law this year to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.