Harsh life under the rainbow.
A survey involving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) adults found that three-quarters of LGBTI respondents experienced “everyday discrimination”, such as being disrespected, threatened or harassed in the past 12 months. Respondents who reported everyday discrimination were most likely to indicate that these experiences were due to their sexual orientation or sex.
Researchers at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, with funding from The LGBT Community Fund for Northeast Florida and in partnership with a local Community Advisory Board, conducted The Jacksonville-Area Community Assessment to learn about the composition, experiences and health of adults in Northeast Florida’s LGBTI community.
A large majority of LGBTI survey respondents were currently employed. However, many respondents also reported lifetime experiences of major discrimination in the workplace, including being unfairly fired from a job, passed over for a job for which they were qualified or denied a job promotion. Respondents most frequently cited their sexual orientation as the reason for the discrimination.
Data from the study also showed that most sexual minority respondents, including those who self-identify as a sexual minority and those who reported same-gender partners, reported being out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer to someone in their lives, and large majorities said they were out to all of their LGBTI friends, immediate family members and current health care providers. A substantial majority of those who were out reported acceptance from all, most or some of the people who knew they were a sexual minority.
This study – done in Northeast Florida in the US – shows that many LGBTI people still “experienced discrimination in employment, housing, and banking and felt unfairly treated in their interactions with law enforcement,” said lead author Taylor Brown, a project manager at the Williams Institute. “These data can be used to inform the… implementation of… ordinance which prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and other personal characteristics… This study could prove useful in the development of… protections for LGBTI people.”
The survey’s other key findings included:
- Three quarters (74.5%) of respondents reported that they had experienced everyday discrimination, such as being treated with less courtesy or respect, threatened or harassed in the past 12 months. Respondents were most likely to indicate that these experiences were because of their sexual orientation (53.6%) or sex (36.5%).
- Many LGBTI respondents reported lifetime experiences of major discrimination related to employment: one in five respondents (19.5%) reported being fired unfairly from a job; over a third (35.9%) reported being passed over for a job for which they were qualified, and 16.8% reported being denied a job promotion.
- LGBTI respondents also reported major discrimination over their lifetimes in other areas: 5.8% reported being unfairly prevented from moving into or buying a house or apartment; 10.2% reported being unfairly denied a loan; and 13.7% reported being unfairly stopped, searched, questioned, physically threatened, or abused by the police.
- In the past year, African American LGBTI respondents were more likely to report having been unfairly fired from a job (10.7%), denied a job promotion (8.8%), denied a bank loan (11.5%) and having been stopped, searched, questioned, physically threatened or abused by the police (10.1%) than white respondents.
- In the past year, gender minority respondents, who reported a gender identity different from their sex assigned at birth, were more likely to report having been unfairly fired from a job (8.3%), passed over for a job for which they were qualified (34.9%) or denied a job promotion (15.7%) than cisgender respondents (those who whose gender identity is concordant with their sex assigned at birth).
Outness and acceptance
- Nearly all sexual minority respondents, including respondents who reported being both a sexual minority and a gender minority, reported being out to someone. Majorities reported that all of their LGBTI friends (78.0%) and immediate family members (69.1%) knew they are sexual minorities.
- Substantial majorities of those who were “out” reported acceptance from some, most, or all of those to whom they were out.
- Yet, more than a fifth of sexual minority respondents reported that none of their current bosses or supervisors (27.5%), members of their faith community (22.6%), or current health care providers (21.3%) knew they were sexual minorities.
- Fewer African American sexual minority respondents reported that all of their LGBTI friends (61.7%) or immediate family members (48.8%) knew they were sexual minorities.
- Almost half (49.3%) of African American sexual minority respondents reported that none of their current bosses or supervisors knew they were sexual minorities. Many reported that they had not come out to any members of their faith community (39.3%) or current health care providers (27.4%).
- Many gender minorities were not out to any current boss or supervisor (44.2%) or to any members of their faith communities (36.4%).
- Over half of respondents (56.4%) had a bachelor’s, graduate or professional degree, and nearly a quarter (24.3%) reported a household income of $100,000 or more. Most respondents (85.8%) had health insurance.
- However, 10.0% were living in poverty (living below 100% of the federal poverty level), and another 13.0% were “near poor” (living at 100-199% of the federal poverty level).
- Among gender minorities, 20.0% reported being out of work, more than half (52.2%) reported food insecurity in the last 12 months, and two-thirds reported household incomes at the poverty (32.2%) or near poverty (34.5%) levels.
- Over sixty percent (62.8%) of respondents reported being in “partnered” relationships; over forty percent (42.9%) of those with partners were married.
- Almost one quarter (24.5%) of respondents reported having one or more children in their lifetimes, while 12.6% currently had a child under 18 living in their household.
- 7% of LGBTI respondents said they belonged to a local house of worship and 43.3% reported that religion was somewhat or very important to them. Among African American respondents, 52.3% reported belonging to a local house of worship and 69.4% said religion was somewhat or very important to them.
- More than a quarter (28.3%) of the sample and nearly two thirds (64.5%) of gender minority respondents met criteria for moderate to severe depression. Most respondents ages 55 and older reported they had done some or a great deal of preparation for their senior years. Among these respondents, top concerns related to aging were not being able to take care of themselves (30.0%) and not having enough money to meet their needs (21.8%).
“Low levels of perceived social acceptance by the local and larger community, high rates of poverty among gender minorities and modest levels of outness suggest that efforts to increase social acceptance and trust may improve mental health, on average, among LGBTI residents,” said study investigator Kerith Conron, the Blachford-Cooper research director and distinguished scholar at the Williams Institute.
Read the FULL REPORT HERE.