In Safe Spaces, Many Multicultural and Multifaith LGBTIQ+ People Don’t Feel Safe At All
Latest research in the Navigating Intersectionality report has found that many multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ+ people experience violence in the very communities we’re meant to feel welcome in.
The Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council (AGMC) has released a new research report, Navigating Intersectionality, that looks at forms of violence experienced by multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ+ communities. A key finding of the report is racism is the primary form of violence experienced by multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ+ people, and that covert racism has replaced overt racism across all settings.
“The ground-breaking research was funded by the Victorian Government to inform strategies that combat the intersections between racism, queerphobia, faith-based discrimination and other forms of violence, stigma and prejudices such as ageism and ableism”, says AGMC President, Mx Giancarlo de Vera.
“We wanted to conduct research that could map how and where LGBTIQ+ people from multicultural and multifaith communities experience discrimination. That’s why the report investigates across all major settings such as cultural, religious, higher education, healthcare, workplace and media settings and sites”, says Principal Researcher, Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli.
“We also ensured our research used an intersectional framework that builds on the various ways that multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ+ people navigate, build resilience, and affirm their intersectional identities,” adds Dr Pallotta-Chiarolli.
“Whilst overt racism was not widely reported, covert and subtle forms of racism continue to be experienced by members of multicultural and multifaith communities”, says Dr Judy Tang, a Co-Researcher and a Victorian Multicultural Commissioner.
“Many participants reported microaggression and feeling unsafe in LGBTIQ+ spaces and events, while those who attended cultural and faith-based spaces felt that their LGBTIQ+ identities were not fully embraced”, she added.
The research also found that the majority of respondents did not report incidences of racism, queerphobia, and other forms of discrimination through official channels. “The fact that LGBTIQ+ people from multicultural and multifaith communities don’t feel safe, or don’t believe reporting incidences of violence will result in change, highlights just how embedded the problem is”, says Mx de Vera.
Co-Researcher and community advocate, Budi Sudarto, explains, “Unfortunately, many members of our communities don’t report. The emotional labour involved to relive trauma is a huge barrier, with many people in our communities expecting complaints to not be taken seriously. As a result, systems continue to privilege Whiteness and/or heterosexism and/or cisgenderism, leaving multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ+ remaining excluded and feeling unsafe.”
“We need systemic change to address the lack of safety and inclusion for multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ people” says Mx de Vera. “The lack of reporting highlights how embedded the problem is, with the problem remaining invisible to duty holders such as event managers, police, community organisations, universities and employers, who are responsible for ensuring multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ+ people feel safe”, Mx de Vera adds.
“This is a crucial finding and tells us that people remove themselves from unsafe spaces, instead of spaces creating necessary change that leads to security, support and belonging. And so the cycle of violence continues,” says Dr Pallotta-Chiarolli.
“We need a circuit-breaker, and so we hope the recommendations and key findings from this report are used to inform policies, procedures, resources and indeed future research across all settings,” says Mx de Vera.
The research also analysed trolling and the emotionally laborious task performed by the research team of removing negative comments to avoid retraumatising the respondents and in analysing the data, and turning expressions of hatred into a research opportunity to further strengthen the development of anti-racism and anti-discrimination strategies and practices.
Navigating Intersectionality also promotes the concept of positive intersectionality to highlight the strength and resilience of communities to embrace their multiple identities and keep themselves safe across different settings. “This is significant to ensure that strategies are designed in collaboration with multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQ+ people, to focus on strengths so changes are impactful and sustainable”, says Dr Pallotta-Chiarolli.