Survey Data Fills Research Gap: Transgender People and Communities of Color Face Higher Rates of Discrimination, Harassment, and Exclusion

  • Study found in the past 12 months, transgender people in the American South reported nearly twice as much discrimination than lesbian, gay, or bisexual respondents
  • The most common forms of discrimination for LGBTQ people in the South were being subject to slurs and jokes; rejection by friends, family; places of worship; and receiving poor service at places of business
  • Communities of Color more likely to be abused by police than non-Hispanic whites in the South; Black people more likely to be threatened or physically attacked in their lifetimes than other racial groups in the Southern US

ATLANTA — November 13, 2018 — The LGBTQ Institute at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and Georgia State University released findings from its landmark study detailing the life experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Southerners. The survey is one of the largest conducted, with more than 6,500 people taking part, aimed at filling the information gap when it comes to LGBTQ experiences in the American South.

The LGBTQ Institute worked with more that 146 nonprofit and community organizations across 14 Southern states including: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Florida organizations included Come Out With Pride, Inc., Equality Florida, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) – Florida, Orlando Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, OUTCOAST, LLC, ProSuzy.com, SAVE, and Social Women in Motion (SWIM).

 “This research provides critical, potentially actionable, information to agencies and state and local governments interested in responding to the needs of LGBTQ people,” remarked Ryan Roemerman, LGBTQ Institute Executive Director and study co-director.

The survey touches on a broad range of topics, including education and employment, health and wellness, criminal justice and safety, sexual and gender identity, and discrimination.

“Planning for this survey began in 2015, but the need for this survey became even more urgent as LGBTQ people continue to be erased from federal policy and research,” remarked Dr. Eric R. Wright, Georgia State Sociology Professor and Survey Director.

 The survey shows that transgender people and communities of color face high rates of discrimination and harassment. In the past 12 months, transgender people in the American South reported nearly twice as much discrimination than lesbian, gay, or bisexual respondents.

The most common forms of discrimination for LGBTQ people in the South were being subject to slurs and jokes; rejection by friends and family; places of worship; and receiving poor service at places of business.

Communities of color are more likely to be abused by police than non-Hispanic whites in the South; Black people are much more likely to be threatened or physically attacked in their lifetimes than other racial groups in the South.

 “This is a study of, by, and for Southern LGBTQ people, with the support of many community and grassroots organizations and individuals,” said Tracee McDaniel, a Advisory Board member for the LGBTQ Institute. “The goal of this research is to amplify the voices of LGBTQ Southerners and highlight the issues affecting our lives, in order to create a more safe and welcoming South.”

 More analysis is forthcoming and will focus on communities of color, transgender people, and individual reports for each of the 14 states who participated in the study.

“Our hope is that this research can serve as an important resource that can help LGBTQ people tell their stories, reframe narratives, and dismantle discriminatory systems. We also hope this data helps our partners on the ground as they develop their policy initiatives, fundraising campaigns, and grassroots strategies,” said Roemerman.

Thank you to the OUTCOAST participants who partnered in this research project.

The survey results can be viewed at https://www.lgbtqsouthernsurvey.org