Murdoch wins grant for Indigenous Queer research

February 20, 2018

Breaking the silence: Braden Hill says the research intends to raise awareness and directly influence change

In the first state-funded research of its kind, Murdoch University will investigate the impact of discrimination on the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of the LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Intersex) community.

Indigenous and LGBTQI people have the highest rates of suicide in Australia. This comprehensive study will examine the implications of being both Indigenous and Queer as well as public perception and attitudes.

The University’s Director of Aboriginal Education, Equity and Inclusion and lead researcher Braden Hill said there was an urgent need to address the everyday racial discrimination and homophobia which could prevent people accessing important health and related support services.

“The research project at its core is concerned by ‘silences’ related to being Queer and Indigenous – those within families, communities and, particularly, within policy and service delivery.

“The research outcomes will ‘give a voice’ to these silences to raise awareness, increase understanding, educate and directly influence change,” Mr Hill said.

The university has received a $70,050 Healthway grant for the research which focusses on Indigenous men and women aged 18 to 80 years who identify as LGBTQI.

Mr Hill said that, while not ignoring structural racism and homophobia that Indigenous and LGBTQI people face in Australian society, the project aimed to explore the complex issue of homophobia within Aboriginal communities.

“For some, discrimination can and has come from within the family and/or community. More broadly, Indigenous LGBTQI people have had to endure well-known Indigenous sports stars and some Elders arguing that there is no place for homosexuality in Aboriginal culture. Sadly, in a lot of cases, this has resulted in many Indigenous LGBTQI people experiencing verbal and even physical violence.”

In capturing the lived experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQI people, this project will seek to work with key Aboriginal health organisations to ensure that their quality services are inclusive.

“There is an urgent need to ensure the safety of Indigenous LGBTQI individuals and that they have access to quality support services. For us, this is important research that will hopefully create positive change,” Mr Hill said.

The research project will also be anonymously surveying members of the public and within a range of sectors. It aims to provide a timely and useful space for public reflection on their own attitudes, awareness and prejudices.

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Comments (One response)

ANDREW TAGGART February 20, 2018

Wonderful to see Murdoch, and the new Director, at the forefront of this important research. Its impact will be strong and hopefully transformational.

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