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LGBT Data and Statistics


Businesses and Government Officials Should Not Discriminate Against LGBT People


October 2015

According to The Harris Poll, the majority of Americans agree that businesses and government officials should not discriminate against LGBT people.


As Kentucky’s Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis may now realize, most Americans believe that government officials should not allow their religious beliefs to stand in the way of issuing marriage licenses to all couples. A new national survey reveals that Americans shun this form of discrimination not only by public officials, but also by businesses that wish to deny goods or services to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people.

A full two-thirds (67%) of Americans, including 78% of LGBT Americans, agreed that a government official should be obligated to serve all of the public and perform all duties, regardless of their religious beliefs. The Out & Equal Workplace survey also confirmed that 60% of Americans (and 80% of LGBT individuals) believe that business owners should not be permitted to turn away anyone based on their religious beliefs.

These and other findings were included in the 2015 Out & Equal Workplace Survey, released today. The annual study was conducted online between September 9 and 17, 2015, by The Harris Poll® in conjunction with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and Witeck Communications, among 2,368 U.S. adults, of whom 304 self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (which includes an over-sample of gay and lesbian adults). Launched in 2002, this survey has become a trusted annual barometer of attitudes surrounding LGBT issues in the workplace and is the longest-running national survey of its kind. Full results of this study, including data tables, can be found here.

“These findings makes it clear that a majority of Americans still believe that fairness and equal treatment are a birthright for all of us – and that discrimination against LGBT people has no justification,” said Selisse Berry, Founder, CEO, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. “This past year, we saw more and more business leaders and corporations boldly oppose discriminatory religious freedom legislation, while standing up for their workforce and their customers. Out & Equal takes pride in helping build this positive foundation for equality across America and around the world.”

Strong Support for Federal NonDiscrimination Protections:
The survey also informed respondents that there is no federal law today that protects someone who is gay or transgender from discrimination in public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels and other businesses open to all the public. When asked if they would support such a law, 6 out of 10 (62%) Americans agreed, with 44% saying they “strongly support” a federal law, and, by contrast, only 14% saying they “strongly oppose” such a law.

In a related question, the survey found that 21% of Americans believe that LGBT people are protected from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in all 50 states, including 12% of LGBT people who share this misconception. However, there is no such federal law, and today there are only 22 states with workplace protections based on sexual orientation, and 19 states that include protections for gender identity.

State Exemptions for Individual Religious Beliefs:
The survey also touched on the rise of state legislation that would expand ways to exempt individuals from laws or regulations that conflict with their religious beliefs. Forty-five percent of Americans say they oppose expanding these religious exemptions at the state level, with just 30% in support. Roughly one out of five, however, said they still were not sure.

“Americans are debating and learning much about the kind of society they desire,” said Bob Witeck, President of Witeck Communications. “The good news is that their distaste for discrimination seems to be growing, and this signal is keenly understood in the marketplace and throughout American life.”


This Harris Poll was conducted online (in partnership with Out & Equal and Witeck Communications) within the United States between September 9 and 17, 2015, among 2,368 adults (ages 18 and over), of whom 304 self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (including an over-sample of lesbian and gay adults). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. In addition, the results for the gay and lesbian sample were weighted separately based on profiles of the gay and lesbian population that The Harris Poll has compiled through many different online surveys. Propensity score weighting also was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Poll, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

(From The Harris Poll)


LGBT Birmingham Statistics: Climate of Hate

Findings: A Pervasive Climate of Hate / 1999
Anti-Gay Violence, Harassment and Discrimination in Birmingham

Statement to the press by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Alabama, June 30, 1999, Community Room, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute:

Following the murder of Billy Jack Gaither, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Alabama initiated a survey to determine the extent of hate crimes and acts of hate against local gays and lesbians.  Charles Collins, a public health researcher at the UAB School of Public Health conducted the survey.  Results documented pervasive anti-gay violence, harassment and discrimination in the Birmingham area.


44% of respondents report having been the target of anti-gay physical abuse, discrimination and/or harassment in their family of origin.

49% report having been the target of anti-gay hate acts at school.  National studies show that a very high percentage of gay teens attempt suicide and that suicides by gay teens make up 30% to 40% of all teen suicides.

48% or respondents report anti-gay violence, harassment or discrimination in the workplace, including 15% who were fired.

39% report hate acts such as vandalism, threats or assault in their neighborhoods and communities.

Blacks and women report roughly the same level of violence, harassment and discrimination as whites and men, except that boys are three times more likely to be targeted by homophobia in schools.


31% report having been targeted by anti-gay physical abuse in two different settings of their lives:  family of origin, school, the community or the workplace.  National surveys indicate that one third of anti-gay assaults include use of a weapon.

58% report anti-gay discrimination in more than two settings.

70% report anti-gay harassment, threats and intimidation in more than two settings.

Conservative estimates indicate a total population of more than 25,000 self-identified gays and lesbians, a number that includes over 2,000 local teens.

35% of survey respondents report most forms of anti-gay hate in most settings of their lives.  This group reports significantly less confidence that the general community will confront homophobia. 

We ask our fellow citizens to consider the individual human implications of these findings.


LGBT National Statistics: School Climate Survey

National School Climate Survey / 2003
From Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN)


84% of GLBT students reported being verbally harassed (name calling, threats, etc.) because of their sexual orientation.


82.9% reported that faculty or staff never intervened or intervened only some of the time when present when homophobic remarks were made.


39.1% of GLBT students reported being physically harassed (being shoved, pushed, etc.) because of their sexual orientation.


44.7% of GLBT youth of color report being verbally harassed because of both their sexual orientation and race/ethnicity.


GLBT students unable to identify supportive teachers or staff were more than twice as likely not to plan to continue their education after secondary school.


GPA for students who cannot identify any supportive faculty or staff was lower than GLBT students who could identify one or more supportive school personnel (2.8 versus 3.1).

GLSEN Report: Youth Statistics

Over 90% of LGBT youth report that they sometimes or frequently hear homophobic remarks in their school (words such as "faggot", "dyke", or "queer").


36% of lesbian gay and bisexual youth report hearing homophobic remarks from faculty or school staff.


20% of secondary school counselors report that counseling a homosexual student concerning gay issues would not be personally gratifying, and do not consider themselves competent in counseling gay adolescents.


LGBT youth are almost twice as likely as their non-gay peers to be threatened with or injured by a weapon at school.


LGBT youth are more than four times as likely to skip whole days of school out of fear.


Harassed youth are more than four times as likely to report having made a serious enough suicide attempt to have been treated by a doctor or nurse.

(From Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, GLSEN)


LGBT Youth Suicide Statistics

Suicide is the third leading cause of adolescent mortality in the United States, accounting for 13 percent of deaths between ages 15 and 24. In 1996, more teenagers and young adults died of suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia and influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.

According to Fleischer and Fillman (1995), a 1989 Department of Health Report on youth suicide found that gay and lesbian youth are up to five times more likely to attempt suicide. The increased risk among these youth is due to isolation, rejection, confusion, and shame due to the stigmatization of homosexuality, which results in depression, suicide, and low self-esteem.


According to an article in the Journal of Adolescent Research, lesbian, and gay adolescents who attempt suicide share the following characteristics and experiences:


--Disclosed their identity to a greater extent, and by doing so, lost more friends and experienced more victimization

--Lower self-esteem

--Acknowledged more mental health problems

--Early awareness

--Peer rejection



Other major risk factors for LGBT youth:


--Rejection (or fear of rejection) from family and peers

--Violence from family and peers

--Alcohol or Drug Use

--Limited coping skills


PFLAG Report: Youth Statistics



--Suicide is the leading cause of death among gay and lesbian youth. (1)

--Gay and lesbian youth are 2 to 6 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth. (1)

--Over 30% of all reported teen suicides each year are committed by gay and lesbian youth. (1)




--50% of all gay and lesbian youth report that their parents reject them due to their sexual orientation. (2)

--26% of gay and lesbian youth are forced to leave home because of conflicts over their sexual orientation. (1)

--In a study of 194 gay and lesbian youth, 25% were verbally abused by parents, and nearly 10% dealt with threatened or actual violence. (12)




--Approximately 40% of homeless youth are identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual. (3)

--Service providers estimate that gay, lesbian and bisexual youth make up 20-40% of homeless youth in urban areas. (18)

--In a study of male teenagers self-described as gay or bisexual, 27% moved away from home because of conflict with family members over sexual orientation.  Almost half had run away from home at least once. (2)




--Gays and lesbians are at much higher risk than the heterosexual population for alcohol and drug abuse. (1)

--Approximately 30% of both the lesbian and gay male populations have problems with alcohol. (1)

--Substantially higher proportions of homosexual people use alcohol, marijuana or cocaine than is the case in the general population. (6)

--55% of gay men have had a substance abuse problem sometime in their life. (10)





--Approximately 28% of gay and lesbian youth drop out of high school because of discomfort (due to verbal and physical abuse) in the school environment. (2)

--Gay and lesbian youth’s discomfort stems from fear of name calling and physical harm. (4)

--Gay and lesbian youth are at greater risk for school failure than heterosexual children.  Academic failure, lack of student involvement and low commitment to school are profound for gay and lesbian youth because schools are neither safe, healthy nor productive places for them to learn. (1)




--Teenage students (gay AND straight) say the worst harassment in school is being called ‘gay’. (11)

--In a national survey, youth (gay AND straight) described being called “lesbian” or “gay” as the most deeply upsetting form of sexual harassment they experienced. (14)

--Gay students hear anti-gay slurs as often as 26 times each day; faculty intervention occurs in only about 3% of those cases. (9)

--In Seattle, 34% of students who described themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual reported being the target of anti-gay harassment or violence at school or on the way to or from school, compared to 6% of heterosexual students. (16)

--Gay and lesbian youth live, work and attempt to learn in constant fear of physical harm at school. (4)

--27% of gay and lesbian youth have been physically hurt by another student. (12)

--In 53 schools in Washington State, 77 incidents of anti-gay harassment and violence have been reported in the past 3 years, with ---34 of these incidents (44%) serious enough to warrant possible criminal allegations. (15)




--Few administrators discipline students for name-calling and harassment of gay and lesbian students. (5)

--Teachers may wish to stop harassment and anti-gay comments, but few have had any specific training which would teach them to intervene effectively and many fear reprisals without the explicit support and backing of their administration. (5)

--In Michigan, 28% of school personnel surveyed determined their school environment to be emotionally unsafe for gay and lesbian youth. (17)

--Over 50% of national youth servicing organizations report that they do not have services or resources in place to educate youth on sexual orientation or to support gay and lesbian youth. (13)




--There are very few openly gay staff members or teachers in schools. (5)

--The presence of openly gay and/or lesbian staff members is a crucial component of any school program seeking to reduce bigotry and provide support for gay and lesbian students. (5)




--Gays and lesbians are the most frequent victims of hate crimes. (7)

--Gays and lesbians are at least 7 times more likely to be crime victims than heterosexual people. (7)

--At least 75% of crimes against gays and lesbians are not reported to anyone. (8)

--In a study of 5 metropolitan areas (including Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, and San Francisco), there were 1,833 [reported) incidents of anti-gay and anti-lesbian crimes, which was a 31% increase over the previous year. (8)




In a typical class of 30 students, 8 students (27% of the class) will be directly affected by homosexuality of self, one or more siblings, or one or both parents. (10)

(From PFLAG Phoenix)

1.   U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide:  Gay Male and Lesbian Youth Suicide.” (1989)

2.   Remafedi, Gary. (1987).  "Male Homosexuality:  The Adolescent's Perspective." Pediatrics, Issue 79. pp. 326-337.

3.   Seattle Commission on Children and Youth. (1986).  "Survey of Street Youth." Seattle, WA: Orion Center.

4.   Eversole, T. "Addressing Specific Risk Factors Among Lesbians and Gays.' Counseling Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth Training Manual.  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

5.   Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. (1993).  "Making Schools Safe for Gay and Lesbian Youth:  Breaking the Silence in Schools and in Families." Education Report.  Boston, MA.

6.   McKirnan, D. J. & Peterson, P. L. (1989).  'Alcohol and Drug Use Among Homosexual Men and Women: Epidemiology and Population Characteristics." Addictive Behaviors, 14 (5). pp. 545-553.

7.   SIECUS Fact Sheet on Comprehensive Sexuality Education. (February/March 1993).  "Sexual Orientation and Identity.” SIECUS Report.

8.   National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute Report. (1991).  Washington, DC.

9.   Massachusetts Department of Education Survey, 1997

10.  “Breaking the Silence for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth.” (1996) New Hartford, NY.

11.  Harris/Scholastic Research, ‘Hostile Hallways:  AAUW Survey of Sexual Harassment in America’s Schools” (1993)

12.  Anthony D'Augelli, unpublished study, 1997.  Studied 194 lesbian, gay and bisexual youth aged 14 to 21 attending social and support groups in fourteen metropolitan areas.

13.  Advocates for Youth.  Survey and Needs Assessment of Youth Serving Organizations Capacity for Working with Sexual Minority Youth, March 1995.

14.  American Association of University Women, 1993.  A total of 1,632 field surveys were completed by public school students grades 8- 11, in 79 schools across the U.S.

15.  Safe Schools Anti-Violence Documentation Project, Washington State.  Third Annual Report, 1996.

16.  The 1995 Seattle Teen Health Risk Survey.  Over 8,400 Seattle high school students completed the survey.

17.  1997 survey of 300 superintendents, school counselors and psychologists in public and private schools in five Michigan counties, conducted by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Teacher's Network.

18.  The National Network of Runaway and Youth Services. To Whom Do They Belong?: Runaway, Homeless and Other Youth in High-Risk Situations in the 1990's.  Washington, DC.  The National Network, 1991.



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Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama