Watch CBS News

National survey says LGBTQ+ Southerners continue to face discrimination

New national survey says LGBTQ+ Southerners continue to face discrimination
New national survey says LGBTQ+ Southerners continue to face discrimination 02:07

ATLANTA (WUPA) – According to a national survey, LGBTQ+ Southerners continue to face discrimination in three major areas of society. 

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights LGBTQ Institute teamed up with Emory University's Goizueta Business School to survey 1,326 LGBTQ+ individuals in 14 states between June 2021 and March 2022. The data shows LGBTQ+ Southerners are facing ongoing discrimination in education, employment, and health care. All of the respondents said they have endured slurs and jokes and unequal treatment.


The results came as no surprise to Nicole Clark, the director of outreach and community for DT South, which is the Atlanta branch of the trans-led organization Destination Tomorrow.

"Growing up in the South is very difficult. We all know that. We're in what we call the Bible Belt," said Clark. "Years of generations have taught each other that (LGBTQ+) is wrong, but in 2023, people should be able to live their life how they want to live, and then be respected and treated with the same standard that you would treat another person."

Clark remembers the struggle before her transition 20 years ago.

"Growing up in Savannah, Georgia, I was picked on, I was jumped, I was just treated badly, all because I was different," she said. "There's no difference in me than who I love. There's no difference in what I do. I come to work. I get up. I'm a normal person."

The numbers show Clark is not alone, based on the following data collected from the survey.

  • 75% of transgender people who responded said they avoided personal discussions at work
  • 52% tried to hide their true selves to avoid workplace discrimination or harassment
  • 31% reported avoiding healthcare

The resilience of the Southern LGBTQ+ community was also captured in the survey.

  • 82% attended rallies supporting LGBTQ+ rights
  • 92% voted in the 2020 presidential election
  • 95% are registered to vote.

"We're a part of this thing we're calling Cancel Culture. Either you get with the program, or you get canceled," said Clark.

The City of Atlanta recently awarded DT South a $25,000 grant to create a trans-mentoring program. Clark said it will also help them to continue to provide community resources, as well as further their mission, which she said is "to change the way people think in the City of Atlanta, the Gay Capitol of the South."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.