A new survey is giving us a look at the quality of life for LGBTQ Southerners in the U.S.A.
The LGBTQ Institute at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights partnered with Georgia State University (GSU) to conduct a survey about LGBTQ individuals in the South.
The goal of the survey was to get a glimpse at the life experiences and needs of LGBTQ Southerners.
To conduct the survey, the institute used an untraceable, online, anonymous questionnaire to study 6,502 self-identified LGBTQ people (from 14 Southern states like Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Texas, and more).
In addition to Georgia State University, 146 nonprofit, community, state, and regional organizations helped with the survey to look into a broad range of topics such as education, employment, health and wellness, discrimination, and more.
The survey's results found that transgender people and people of color generally have harder life experiences than their white and cisgender peers.
While around 93.2% of LGBTQ Southerners reported having at least some higher education, only 29.9% of LGBTQ Southerners reported having at least a four-year degree. On top of that, people of color and transgender people were less likely to have completed a four-year degree compared to their cisgender, non-Hispanic, White peers.
Moving on to self-identity and expression, it seems that high schoolers in the south are more likely to be aware of their sexual orientation than older respondents. In addition, Latinos are the most likely to be out to at least some fellow students and teachers.
In terms of health, young Southerners of color and transgender people reported lower rates of insurance and access to care. As the study writes:
“69.0% of respondents report “Excellent” or “Good” health. Younger respondents, age 18-29, report lower rates of Excellent/Good health (64.1%), as did transgender (56.5%), other gender (55.9%), respondents, and bisexual (62.1%) and other orientation (58.4%) respondents.”
In addition, LGBTQ people of color and transgender people reported higher rates of discrimination.
“Significantly greater rates of Black/African American LGB respondents (77.3%) report having been threatened or physically attacked in their lifetime because of their sexual orientation when compared with LGB respondents in other racial/ethnic groups.”
Again, this survey was meant to shine a line on the life experiences of LGBTQ people in Southern states of America. What the survey shows is that there is a harsher environment for queer people of color and transgender people than their peers of other races and gender identities.
But this data is just the start of the institute’s pursuit of information for LGBTQ Southerners.
The LGBTQ Institute will be releasing future analyses of this survey data to explore how different experiences, identities, and variables create quality of life for LGBTQ people in the South.