Protecting LGBTIQ+ voices online


The eSafety Commissioner (eSafety), August 2021

This research explores how people who identify as LGBTIQ+ are affected by adult cyber abuse and online lateral abuse (abuse between members within a community).

The findings are based on group discussions with relevant community service providers and advocacy organisations, plus interviews with LGBTIQ+ adults.

It can be difficult for people who identify as LGBTIQ+ to know how to set personal boundaries with others online. Education is also needed to explain the language used to describe online abuse.

The report highlights a range of abuse from scams to dismissive comments and harassment on social media.

Key findings:

Adult cyber abuse and lateral abuse

Main observations:

  • Many abusers experience discrimination themselves and lack empathy for those being targeted.
  • The type of abuse varies according to gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation.
  • It can be hard to know the difference between acceptable behaviour and abuse – especially when using casual sex apps.

Understanding the main terms

  • Community service providers generally understand the meaning of ‘adult cyber abuse’. This term is not widely understood among LGBTIQ+ adults.
  • Both groups (service providers and LGBTIQ+ adults) are mostly unclear about the definition of ‘lateral abuse’.

Key recommendations

  • Develop resources for the LGBTIQ+ community to increase awareness about online safety.
  • Provide information about the different types of online abuse and how to respond to negative behaviour.
  • Prioritise support for young people and marginalised groups, like Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


Access the Report:


By J Pope

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