This study, conducted for the Department of Human Services (Grampians Region) in Victoria, found that gay men and lesbians experience similar types of stigma and discrimination in rural areas as those in urban centres, but that this was exacerbated by the lack of anonymity in the smaller communities. The hatred of homosexuality can, in some relatively supportive family, community, school and work contexts, transform into a homophobia that embodies a fear of homosexuality which can, and not infrequently does, result in homophobic abuse and violence. Although the majority of research participants in this study were accepting of their sexuality and happy to be lesbian or gay, they nevertheless lived curtailed lives with a blanket around a central dimension of their lives. Furthermore it was found that the experience of gay men is not a mirror image of that for lesbians.
This article outlines a recent pilot project in Bendigo that collected baseline data in order to develop a preliminary understanding of regional migration experiences. The literature indicated that migrant experiences in Australian regional communities are under-researched. Sixty participants from South East Asia, who have migrated to Bendigo, Victoria within the last five years, completed a mixed-methods survey. The key findings reported upon are socio-structural factors, social connectedness and psychosocial well-being. Crucial factors such as culture, spirituality and non-English-language, link to the more complex issues of personal, social and cultural identity. These findings are significant in adding to the limited data and discussion about newly arrived migrants in rural and regional communities. There are sociological implications from this preliminary data concerning social capital and psychosocial well-being. There are also implications for policy development and professional practice for migration to rural and regional communities.