Photo: Getty Images/Jon Vallejo
As LGBTQ Pride month approaches, the community continues to face an onslaught of violence, censorship and harmful legislation. Even major corporations are facing conservative boycotts and terrorist threats for the sort of support for LGBTQ equality efforts in which they have engaged for years.
In North Carolina, bills have been filed this legislative session that would criminalize drag performances, restrict how transgender youth can participate in school sports, and ban gender affirming care for youth, even with the support of their parents and doctors. A series of local ordinances and policy changes has also targeted how LGBTQ youth can express themselves, what books they can read, and how LGBTQ topics may be approached in schools.
LGBTQ North Carolinians are hardly alone. More than 700 anti-LGBTQ bills have been filed nationwide so far this year. The South and Southeast have been especially hard hit, seeing more of this legislation pass than in other regions. Last week, The Campaign for Southern Equality and Campus Pride released Coming of Age as an LGBTQ Southerner: Family, Faith, Education & Health, a new report examining the experiences of queer people in the South, with a particular emphasis on youth.
“There is a growing trend of conservative lawmakers targeting LGBTQ people with discriminatory legislation that limits their access to vital social resources and institutions, including home and family, faith and spirituality, school and education, recreation and community, and health and well-being,” the report reads.
“This trend escalated in 2021, with more anti-LGBTQ legislation proposed than in any other year on record (ACLU 2021),” the report reads. “And has only continued to increase, with 2022 being marked by some of the most especially cruel anti-transgender attacks in history, including Texas officials classifying trans-affirming care from parents and medical providers as ‘child abusers.'”
The report, the result of surveys of thousands of LGBTQ southerners going back to 2021, sheds light on their experiences with families, faith communities, school and health with a breakout report that zeroes in on data from North Carolina and the counties of Western North Carolina.
This week, a by-the-numbers look at those experiences of this marginalized community as it weathers near unprecedented assaults.
4,146 – number of LGBTQ people who shared their experiences as part of the Survey of Southern LGBTQ Experiences
13 – number of Southern states those people represent
56 – percentage of respondents who were 24-years-old or younger
32 – percentage of respondents who identified at bisexual
28 – percentage of respondents who identified as queer
22 – percentage of respondents who identified as gay
44 – percentage of respondents who self-identified as non-binary
29 – percentage of respondents who self-identified as transgender
422,000 – approximate estimated number of LGBTQ North Carolinians, about 4 percent of the population
21 – percentage of respondents from North Carolina who reported experiencing physical violence related to their LGBTQ identity
76 – percentage of respondents from North Carolina who reported experiencing emotional violence related to their LGBTQ identity
33 – percentage of respondents from North Carolina who reported feeling at least somewhat socially isolated due to their LGBTQ identity
10 – percentage of respondents from North Carolina who said they do not have people to whom they can talk about LGBTQ issues
72 – percentage of respondents from North Carolina who rated their own overall mental health as either fair or poor
67 – percentage of respondents from North Carolina who reported isolating themselves from their support networks
57 – percentage of respondents from North Carolina who reported suicidal ideation
14 – percentage of respondents from North Carolina who reported attempting suicide
56 – percentage of respondents from North Carolina who rated their physical health as either fair or poor
36 – percentage of respondents from North Carolina who reported delaying or avoiding healthcare due to fear of LGBTQ-related discrimination or harassment
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