Advertisements opposing marriage equality in the Irish same-sex marriage referendum caused members of the LGBT community anger, distress and anxiety.
A survey of 1,657 Irish people found that only a minority of respondents would be prepared to face the referendum again if they did not know about the outcome.
75.5% of the LGBT community felt angry when they were exposed to NO campaign messages before the referendum. 80% felt upset by the no campaign materials, and two thirds felt anxious or distressed.
One young LGBTI participant responded: “I would get extremely irritated obviously as I hadn’t come out to my family at the time and there were often cruel remarks saying that gay people turn their stomach, especially from my father, grandmother and one sister.”
Another participant said: “It affected my daughter hugely, she would come home from school crying.”
36% of LGBT people said they would be not at all happy to go through the campaign again
The survey comes a year after the result of the referendum. The results, compiled by Swimming With Sharks, study the negative social and psychological impacts of the anti-LGBT side of the campaign.
Sharon Dane, an author of the study, told the Guardian: “The quantitative data from this survey strongly suggests that the feelings of negativity during the referendum no campaign were widespread.”
The vivid detail and emotion of respondent’s answers suggested the impact of the no campaign was “more than a fleeting experience or something that could be simply undone through a win for marriage equality,” she added.
The survey was partially funded by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Australia, which is opposed to a marriage equality plebiscite in Australia because of the detrimental impact it may have on the LGBT community.