People of color and transgender participants were more likely to report that a caregiver tried to suppress or change their LGBTQ identity. Despite the fact that the general population now supports pro-LGBTQ policies more than ever before, a recent survey discovered that many queer persons who reside in the South claim that a caregiver attempted to change their LGBTQ status.
According to a research, more than half of LGBTQ Southerners claim that their parents sought to change or repress their identity
According to a survey released this week by the Campaign for Southern Equality, which advocates for LGBTQ equality throughout the South, 58% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people living in 13 Southern states reported that a parent or caregiver tried to change or repress their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Some groups reported experiencing such tactics more frequently than others: Compared to 50.8% of cisgender participants and 57.4% of white participants, more than two-thirds of transgender participants (68.7%) and participants of color (67.5%) said they have encountered similar tactics.
In addition, younger LGBTQ Southerners (ages 18 to 24) were more likely (64.4%) than older LGBTQ Southerners (ages 25 and older) to report that a caregiver attempted to modify or repress their identity. In the fall of 2021, a poll of 4,146 LGBTQ Southerners was conducted by the Campaign for Southern Equality in collaboration with Campus Pride, an organization that promotes LGBTQ tolerance and safety at American schools and universities.
Questions in the latest survey were about family, faith, education, and health. The main story revealed by the survey data, according to Austin H. Johnson, director of the Campaign for Southern Equality’s Research & Policy Center and assistant professor of sociology at Kenyon College, is that “thousands of people throughout the South are not receiving the social support they need and deserve at home, in schools, and in their communities.”
In particular, when that lack of support is combined with blatant, state-sponsored discrimination like the adoption of anti-LGBTQ laws, he said, “this lack of support and inclusion is disempowering and may cause a detrimental impact to their mental and physical welfare.”
In addition to other findings, the study discovered that more than two-thirds (68.82%) of respondents who classified as spiritual or religious claimed that their LGBTQ identity had caused them to feel excluded from or discouraged from participating in their faith group.
In a religious setting, more than one-third (33.9%) of LGBTQ survey respondents said they had experienced attempts to repress or change their sexual orientation or gender identity. Participants aged 18 to 24 were more likely to report such attempts (44.1%) than respondents 25 and older (30.7%).
LGBTQ Southerners were questioned about both their physical and mental health in the poll. The majority of participants assessed their mental health as poor (28.7%) or fair (40.2%) while rating their physical health as fair (43.42%) or good (37.48%). More than half of the respondents who identified as LGBTQ Southerners (56%) said they had ever considered suicide, and more than one in 10 (13.5%) said they had actually tried it at least once.
Younger respondents frequently perceive and receive less emotional, mental, and physical support and resources than older respondents, according to Shane L. Windmeyer, founder and executive director of Campus Pride.
We must take every possible action, at all levels of society, to support and affirm young LGBTQ+ people for being who they are, according to Windmeyer. “Young LGBTQ+ individuals are being pushed to conjure great fortitude and resilience to resist marginalization and isolation,” she said.
According to the study, educational institutions should “take a proactive approach to inclusion” by including gay students in school policy and having a clear purpose statement against discrimination against LGBTQ students. Additionally, it advises against “outing” LGBTQ kids to their families or other people without their consent – a proposal that runs counter to advice that some teachers claim they have received as a result of recent state laws.
The survey’s authors stated in the report’s conclusion that “it is evident that much of the harm suffered by younger LGBTQ individuals is in school, considering both the findings of this analysis and the anti-LGBTQ sentiment among many school boards and decision-makers across the South.”
The LBGTQ community in the South is true — a community, one with an enormous amount of love, acceptance, joy, and beauty — despite the political and cultural attacks in the South and the lack of protection from the institutions we rely on as Southerners.
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