The LGBTI Legal Service collected over 220 examples of hate speech throughout the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. The Service is running a project called Like Love, aimed at ‘addressing unlawful vilification’.
Like Love has monitored social media, news websites and public spaces. It has tracked public statements that incite ridicule or hatred on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity.
‘Unfortunately, throughout the Marriage Law Postal Survey it has been virtually impossible for anyone who identifies as queer to avoid exposure to views which condemn who they are as a person,’ said Matilda Alexander, president of the LGBTI Legal Service.
‘The Postal Survey has opened the door to homophobia and vilification being expressed under the guise of legitimate debate.
‘Instead of a legitimate debate, the LGBTI community has had to put up with weeks of destructive commentary which only takes society backwards on the progress which has lead to broader acceptance of LGBTI people in the last 30 years.’
Hate speech and neo-nazis
The LGBTI Legal Service has received submissions of hate speech from community members as well as using project workers to monitor spaces.
The hate speech ranged from individual posts on social media pages to neo-Nazi groups plastering posters in various public locations.
The LGBTI Legal Service said it was preparing a complaint under anti-discrimination laws. Based in Queensland, the Service is a non-profit and unfunded community-based legal service.
It argued vilification was unlawful in Queensland and urged people to send in examples of homophobic incidents to add to the cases.
‘If you live in Queensland and hear or see something in your neighbourhood, post box, or on social media that incites hatred on the basis of gender identity or sexuality, we advise you to record or screen capture it (including the date and time) and seek legal advice,’ the service said.