Coping with stigma: Coming out and living as lesbians and gay men in regional and rural areas in the context of problems of rural confidentiality and social exclusion

1 Jul 2007

The lesbian and gay community largely depend on each other to organise services and support. This informal system (in that it is removed from the State) enjoys some success in Melbourne where there is a sizeable lesbian and gay population, but does not work so well in regional and rural Victoria where the lesbian and gay population is smaller and more dispersed. This study, conducted for the Department of Human Services (Grampians Region) in Victoria, found that gay men and lesbians experience similar types of stigma and discrimination in rural areas as those in urban centres, but that this was exacerbated by the lack of anonymity in the smaller communities. Furthermore it was found that few services and little support were available for lesbians and gay men in regional and rural areas and indeed were difficult to provide in the context of rural confidentiality and social exclusion.

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