We know so little about the lived experiences of sexuality and gender diverse (SGD) people in Great Western Sydney, who are also culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD). In this project, the researchers filled some of the gaps in knowledge by way of a survey of 60 SGD CALD people in Greater Western Sydney about their experiences and relationships to family and community during the coming out process and during the Marriage Equality debate in 2017. They also conducted in-depth interviews with two participants, and held community development events in Greater Western Sydney.
This report discusses the experiences of participants through a number of themes in relation to both family and community relationships and the marriage equality debate.
- 52.8% of 36 respondents said that the disclosure of their identity affected their relationship with family ‘for the worse’, 30.6% said ‘for the better’ and 16.7% said there had been no impact.
- Participants who had disclosed their sexuality and gender identities with positive responses from family described a greater intimacy, closeness and trust with their relatives. Some participants reported that following disclosure, their families formed a more supportive position on the topic of LGBTQ acceptance and marriage equality.
- Others faced negative reactions from family including disappointment, shock and even guilt. Following the initial disclosure of their identity, many participants faced silence and denial from family. Around 43% of 53 respondents also disclosed experiences of family violence.
- Some participants felt a disconnection between their cultural identity and their sexuality and gender, often having to decide between their connection to LGBTQ services and community, or to family and culture. Some participants felt left behind and invisible to mainstream LGBTQ services.
- 25% reported that they experienced prejudice-related abuse from the broader community during the Marriage Equality campaign. Many participants actively resisted these attacks by being vocal on the issue, attending rallies and putting up ‘yes’ campaign material in their workplaces.