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May 16, 2008

Survey finds broad discrimination

Two-thirds of LGBT people in Central Ohio census had problems on the job

Columbus--The results are in from last year’s “GLBT Census of Central Ohio,” and over half the people responding answered that they had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status. Nearly two-thirds of those said that they had been discriminated against at work.

Close to one-third of the respondents said that they experienced depression, and that increased to over half when looking just at those who identified as bisexual or transgender. A third of the depressed were not seeking treatment for it.

Well over half reported being called names, stalked, intimidated, threatened, or having property defaced or damaged because they were LGBT.

More than one in eight respondents did not know their HIV status. The reasons varied from never being tested to being tested but not returning for the results, to being tested too long ago to still be meaningful.

The online survey included data from 3,406 people’s responses. To participate, respondents had to be 18 or over, live in Central Ohio and identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Over 400 people were disqualified for not meeting those three criteria.

The remainder skewed largely white, college-educated, middle-class and between 21 and 50 years old.

A full 93 percent of those taking the survey, conducted by the Columbus AIDS Task Force, Stonewall Columbus and United Way of Central Ohio, were non-Hispanic whites, while almost 89 percent were between 21 and 50.

Eighty-four percent had at least some college education, and just over half had household incomes between $50,000 and $150,000.

Around 80 percent of the respondents to the census were in favor of same-sex marriage, while 86 percent supported a parallel construct with all the benefits of marriage, such as civil union.

Over 75 percent responding to the census believed it was important for LGBT people to have a sense of community, and, according to the summary, “participants believed that a lack of interest in GLBT issues or concerns by members of the Columbus GLBT community was the issue which was most problematic for the central Ohio GLBT community. Participants believed there is a lack of leadership within the GLBT community.”


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