Researchers at the University of Western Sydney and University of Sydney are currently investigating how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Queenslanders have been impacted by natural disasters.

Specifically, they are investigating the impacts of Cyclone Yasi on residents of Far North Queensland and the 2011 floods on residents of Brisbane.

According to one of the project's chief investigators, Dr Andrew Gorman-Murray, research in other parts of the world has show that LGBTI populations can be particularly vulnerable during the impact and recovery phases of a disaster. "We know that during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, for example, LGBTI people experienced significant levels of discrimination in accessing emergency shelters", Dr Gorman-Murray stated. "Similarly, in Haiti after the earthquake there in 2010, LGBTI people were subject to abuse and violence while trying to obtain basic support. This shows that the impacts of these disasters aren't necessarily 'natural', but are tied up with a range of social factors". 

The project's other chief investigator, Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes, regularly advises governments on the development of emergency management policies and procedures. He believes that the importance of this project lies in making sure that the needs of LGBTI Australians are met by governments and other organisations. "We really need Queenslanders who have been impacted by these disasters to tell us about their experiences", he says. "That way, we can ensure that they have a voice in the development of future policies".

If you identify as LGBTI, are over 18 years of age and were impacted by either the 2011 Brisbane floods or Cyclone Yasi, you can participate in this project by completing an online survey via the links below. Surveys take approximately 15 minutes to complete and are completely anonymous.

The researchers will also be conducting in-person interviews in Townsville and Brisbane in the coming months. To participate or for more information, contact Dr Scott McKinnon at [email protected] or (02) 9772 6179.

Brisbane Flood Survey: 

Cyclone Yasi Survey: