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Staying strong during the marriage equality survey

By Emma Davidson - 20 October 2017 5
Double rainbow in a grey sky over the National Arboretum

Stay positive and colourful during difficult times. Image courtesy Cazz via Flickr.

With almost three weeks still to go before the final deadline for returning Australian Marriage Law Survey forms in the post, more than 67.5% of forms have already been returned. The Essential poll on those who had not yet voted in the survey, dated 4 October, shows that only 14% of voters didn’t know if they would vote “yes” or “no”.

This means all the campaigning and public debate we’re seeing about marriage equality is actually aimed at only 4.55% of the total number of people on the Australian electoral roll – around 728,000 people. That’s a number that may be far lower than the number of people finding that the public commentary or abuse they’re seeing is leaving them feeling hurt or angry, given the number of people in Australia who are part of the LGBTIQ community.

ACON, an organisation working for the health of LGBTIQ people in New South Wales for over 30 years, has produced a resource to help people stay strong and resilient. Their advice includes:

Acknowledge your feelings

Acknowledging what it is that you’re feeling angry or distressed about, and talking about it with someone you trust, is more helpful than just acting out your anger and frustration.

Log off social media

If it’s all getting too much for you online, it’s OK to curate your social media feed or block offensive users. You might want to take a break from social media altogether and have a detox.

Look out for each other

Communities look out for each other. Ask your friends, family, or work colleagues if they’re OK. Be a good listener if they want to talk about how they’re feeling. This is important for non-LGBTIQ people who have friends or family in the LGBTIQ community – check-in.

Stay social

LGBTIQ people often have a “family of choice” made up of people who may have similar life experiences to their own. Reach out to your support network and stay connected.

Clear your thinking

When you feel upset or angry, your thoughts and feelings can become exaggerated. Try to replace these thoughts with more useful, constructive ones, and your feelings may change too.

Say it to yourself

Make a list of things you can say to yourself during or immediately after a situation that makes you feel hurt or angry. Choose things that focus on how you are managing the situation rather than focusing on what other people should or should not be doing.

Take care of you

Self-care is important to keep yourself going when negative feelings are draining your energy. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthy, staying hydrated, and getting fresh air.

Get busy

Channel those feelings into positive, constructive activity. Getting involved in an issue you’re passionate about can be an opportunity to be surrounded by other people who share your commitment and passion for the cause, and it feels good to take action.

Be creative

Distracting your conscious mind from negative feelings through creative expression can be helpful. Writing, drawing, painting, meditating, singing, or other creative ways of expressing your feelings can be a cathartic experience and provide an outlet for your energies.

Take Time Out

Take a break from it all. It could be as simple as a walk in a national park, going for a swim, or seeing a movie. Or you may want to get away for the weekend. Whatever you choose, make it something soothing for the body and soul.

View from the front of a kayak towards the Carillon across Lake Burley Griffin at sunrise

If you feel like it’s all too much, take some time out for yourself and enjoy the view. Image courtesy Cazz via Flickr.

There are organisations in Canberra that provide support to LGBTIQ people. If you or someone you know needs support, here are some places you can find help:

AIDS Action Council – provides counselling services and workshops for LGBTIQ people.

A Gender Agenda – facilitates peer support groups for people who are intersex, trans, or gender diverse and their families.

QLife – is a national online and phone counselling service for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex.

Lifeline – provides telephone crisis counselling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 13 11 14.

Headspace Canberra – provides counselling services to young people aged 12 to 25 years.

Beyond Blue – provides telephone support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1300 22 4636, as well as online support.

Relationships Australia – provides counselling services and have offices in Canberra.

You can also talk to your GP about mental health.

Thank you to the CBR LGBTIQ Community Consortium for making this information available.

How has your experience been during this time? Do you know any other organisations that can help that we should know about? Let us know by commenting below. 

What’s Your opinion?


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5 Responses to
Staying strong during the marriage equality survey
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Emma Davidson 8:29 am 22 Oct 17

It’s important to take care of your and your community’s mental health. There might be more tips for managing mental health that I’ve missed though and I hope you can contribute what works for you?

When I feel stressed, I do some baking which ends up with lots of other people feeling happy when they eat it. Or pat the dog – he’s always happy to see me.

dungfungus 7:47 am 21 Oct 17

John Moulis said :

This survey and the debate has been a hard slog for everybody. Many long friendships have been busted up, families have been divided, abuse of people on social media has escalated and talkback radio has become a very nasty and hostile disaster area.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to email 2GB and the Daily Telegraph every time they’ve run a piece cheerleading for the No case and reminding them that the emergency laws during the campaign state that coverage must be balanced, and that material promoting the No case must be followed by equal time for the Yes case within 24 hours. I have also had to constantly remind them that the use of the words “bullies”, “bullying” and “thuggery” to describe Yes supporters constitutes vilification, and for them to stop using the words. Thankfully they have.

On a personal note, I have been suspended from Facebook for 30 days after I told a No supporter to p*ss off. I didn’t get a chance to inform any of my friends that I was suspended, I’ve received several panic-stricken messages asking if I am alright.

Hopefully this will all end with the Yes vote scoring at least 60% and winning. If the No vote wins we will have to go through this again and again until SSM is legalised. November 15th can’t come soon enough.

You need to give social media (especially Facebook) a big miss John. Also, if you want some “balance” in the debate try listening to our local ABC Radio and reading the Canberra Times half the time instead of listening to 2GB and reading the Daily Telegraph all the time. I don’t need balance as I am mature enough to see that most of the argument for the “YES” side is totally confected. The laws as they are are quite OK and tolerance is high on the agenda.

As a lot are saying, “love will find a way”.

Lucy Baker 3:34 pm 20 Oct 17

John Moulis said :

This survey and the debate has been a hard slog for everybody. Many long friendships have been busted up, families have been divided, abuse of people on social media has escalated and talkback radio has become a very nasty and hostile disaster area.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to email 2GB and the Daily Telegraph every time they’ve run a piece cheerleading for the No case and reminding them that the emergency laws during the campaign state that coverage must be balanced, and that material promoting the No case must be followed by equal time for the Yes case within 24 hours. I have also had to constantly remind them that the use of the words “bullies”, “bullying” and “thuggery” to describe Yes supporters constitutes vilification, and for them to stop using the words. Thankfully they have.

On a personal note, I have been suspended from Facebook for 30 days after I told a No supporter to p*ss off. I didn’t get a chance to inform any of my friends that I was suspended, I’ve received several panic-stricken messages asking if I am alright.

Hopefully this will all end with the Yes vote scoring at least 60% and winning. If the No vote wins we will have to go through this again and again until SSM is legalised. November 15th can’t come soon enough.

Telling a no supporter to p*ss off was a dumb thing to do. Everyone has been calling for a calm and civil atmosphere, especially as a yes vote has been certain all along (likely well over 60!) (provided people didn’t boycott). For every bit of anti coverage in the conservative media there has been yes campaigning in spades including on the ABC. The most hostile act we’ve seen in Canberra was the sacking of young Madeline. Pot Kettle, John.

John Moulis 11:22 am 20 Oct 17

This survey and the debate has been a hard slog for everybody. Many long friendships have been busted up, families have been divided, abuse of people on social media has escalated and talkback radio has become a very nasty and hostile disaster area.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to email 2GB and the Daily Telegraph every time they’ve run a piece cheerleading for the No case and reminding them that the emergency laws during the campaign state that coverage must be balanced, and that material promoting the No case must be followed by equal time for the Yes case within 24 hours. I have also had to constantly remind them that the use of the words “bullies”, “bullying” and “thuggery” to describe Yes supporters constitutes vilification, and for them to stop using the words. Thankfully they have.

On a personal note, I have been suspended from Facebook for 30 days after I told a No supporter to p*ss off. I didn’t get a chance to inform any of my friends that I was suspended, I’ve received several panic-stricken messages asking if I am alright.

Hopefully this will all end with the Yes vote scoring at least 60% and winning. If the No vote wins we will have to go through this again and again until SSM is legalised. November 15th can’t come soon enough.

dungfungus 10:00 am 20 Oct 17

Essential polls do not cover many people so I think you are drawing a long bow to come to the conclusion that you do. This particular one is a bit like an “exit poll” and two of those in the past year (Brexit and POTUS) have been famously wrong.

If you are one of the 4.55% calculated, are you going to vote yes or no based on what the campaigns and debate deliver to the cut-off point or have you already voted?

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