Center for Homicide Research staff surveyed over 400 festival-goers at the Twin Cities Pride Festival held in Minneapolis June 28-29, 2014. The survey asked questions about various topics relating to the prevention of homicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) people. The purpose of the survey was to determine the prevalence of various risk and protective factors for LGBT homicide and other forms of violence. Questions were from a perspective of both victimization and offending. In addition, various demographic questions were used to situate these answers.
If you have not taken this survey but would like to, take the survey here.
This year, the survey had two purposes. First, it gathered useful information about risk and protective factors in homicide. Some questions were asked as part of a longitudinal survey to assess changes in attitudes or perspectives over time. For instance, asking questions about the respondent’s impression of police-community relations can help determine whether the social climate is improving or not. For police to solve homicides or assist in preventing violence, it is important for community members to feel safe in reporting information to the police.
Secondly, the survey provided educational information to anyone who took the survey. Each section was preceded with a factual statement about homicide or LGBT homicide. Subsequent questions also may have prompted some respondents to think about their own behaviors that might increase or decrease their homicide risk. This empowers individuals to make their own decision as to whether or not to further change their own behaviors.
One new question concerns whether a respondent has ever been homeless. Previous research has shown that approximately 33% of homeless people are members of the LGBT community. This is likely due to oppression and discrimination. We have no idea what percent of LGBT people are homeless however. People who are homeless experience a much greater risk of violence and/or homicide.
In 2006 the LGBT community was surveyed about the ownership and possession of a firearm. This year’s question followed up on that to see whether rates of firearm ownership had changed over time or not. While the Center does not take a position on whether an individual owns a firearm, the Center can describe whether ownership rates are increasing or decreasing. It also helps illustrate how safe members of the community might feel. This year’s survey goes one step further to ask whether the respondent ever practices shooting a firearm at a shooting range. One might assume that if you possess a firearm, you would also learn how to use it, and become proficient at discharging it.
Results of the survey are now being tabulated. Check back here for posting of survey results, with more being posted as they are analyzed.
The attendees of the festival were actively invited to fill out the survey in order to gather data to prevent homicide, especially of the LGBT community. All were welcome to participate. Because all of the survey administrators were white and thus, were more likely to bring in white survey respondents, a particular attempt was made to encourage people of color to fill out the survey to make sure that they were represented. Those dressed in a celebratory manner were also particularly encouraged to take the survey with the idea that those celebrating Pride may be more likely to participate. No gifts were offered as a reward of completing the survey except a chance to sit in the shade.
At the Twin Cities Pride Festival in 2014, held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 407 respondents completed a survey administered by researchers from the Center for Homicide Research. The Center’s booth was present on both days of the festival, June 28 & 29, in order to spread awareness of the Center and its message and to administer surveys. The survey was in paper form and contained 48 scaled, yes-or-no, ranking, or fill-in-the-blank questions. All participants completed a consent form which was separated from the actual survey to protect respondent anonymity.
Through this study, researchers intended to measure the following:
- The demographic makeup of the festival attendees
- The degree of safety and openness felt and experienced within the LGBT community
- The opinions of citizens regarding homicide and its prevention
- The experiences with, and opinions of, law enforcement
- The relationship between certain risk factors and respondents’ own experiences of violence
- The degree to which the survey participants took measures to protect themselves against violence
- The comparison of LGBT to non-LGBT community members in regards to all of these components
The completed surveys were collected and coded into a spreadsheet database. This, in turn, was analyzed using SPSS data analysis software and Microsoft Excel™.
The age of the respondents skews toward a young respondent. Our respondents ranged in age from 14 to 75. Nearly 70 % of the sample was age 34 or younger. Whereas the mean age in Minneapolis in 2005 was 33.8 years, the mean age of this sample was 31.3. Additionally, 40.2 % of the respondents were 24 years or under, whereas only 35.5 % of the Minneapolis population in 2005 was. We can reasonably conclude that the survey respondents were slightly younger than what would be representative of Minneapolis.
The racial make-up of the respondents includes 74.6 % white, 9.7 % black, and 7 % multiracial. The remaining 8.3% were of other races. It seems from the sample that people of color are under-represented. This could be due to lower attendance of people of color at the festival, or it could be due to the fact that all of the survey administrators were white and thus were more likely to draw in white respondents. The 2010 census of Minnesota indicates that the population of Minneapolis is 63.8 % white and 18.6 % black. The proportion of blacks in this sample is significantly less than for the population of Minneapolis as a whole. Notably, some of the people who would apply to these racial categories were captured by the multiracial category. This may influence the results in that, for example, not all black respondents may have listed themselves as black. Additionally, in looking at the write-ins for race, it is apparent that “American Indian” should have been a separate racial category. One person wrote “American Indian,” three people wrote “Native American,” and one person wrote “Inuit.” In total, 25% of the sample were comprised of people of color.
In examining the distribution of age by race, it was apparent that only white respondents were represented across the full range of age categories. The black respondents were disproportionately between the ages of 14 and 24, with no black respondents over age 64. The Latino, Asian, and multiracial categories had no respondents over the age of 55. All of the Asian respondents (n=12) were under the age of 35.
Nearly twice as many females participated in the survey as did males. Whereas 61.3 % of respondents were female, only 31.8 % were male. It is unclear as to whether more females than males attended the Pride Festival or if this finding is due to the fact that most of the researchers administering the survey were female. Of the twelve respondents who identified as being transgender, ten were biologically female living as male and two were biologically male living as female. This is inconsistent with what one would see in general, as there are significantly more transgender women than transgender men. Some respondents identified more with the term “transgender” rather than the terms used in the survey, so they opted to choose the “other” category and wrote in their answer. More than three percent of respondents (n=13) chose “other” as their gender. Many of the write-ins accompanying this category were “genderqueer,” “agender,” or “gender fluid.”
In comparing gender identity between races, it was noted that black, Latino, and Asian respondents only identified as male or female. All of the biologically male people who were living as female (n=2) identified themselves as white. All except one biologically female respondent who was living as male (n=8) identified as white.
Of the respondents, 58 % identified as being gay, lesbian, or bisexual, while 36 % were heterosexual. This approximately matches with results in past Pride surveys. Two of the twelve respondents who identified as being transgender also identified as being heterosexual. Most transsexual persons are heterosexual, an orientation of which is determined post-transition. Thus, 64.2 % (n=256) of the survey participants were LGBT and 35.8 % (n=143) were non-LGBT. One percent of respondents preferred not to provide their sexual orientation.
A large majority—61.7 % of respondents— identified as being Democrat while only 5.1 % identified as being Republican. Presumably, most attendees of the festival were Democrat, since the Republican platform does not support LGBT rights, such as same-sex marriage. Less than twelve percent identified as Independent. The write-in answers mostly consisted of “undecided” or “no political party.”
Of the respondents who identified as being heterosexual, 44.2 % were either in a relationship, in a domestic partnership, or married. By comparison, 41 % of gay men, 70.5 % of lesbian women, and 48.2 % of bisexual people were either in a relationship, in a domestic partnership, or married. As same-sex marriage was legalized in Minnesota in May 2013, it is interesting to note that 8.2 % of gay men and 20.5 % of lesbian women are now married. However, it should be mentioned that not every respondent was from Minnesota, and in the overall population, gay men outnumber lesbian women 2:1.
Of the respondents, 64.6 % had at least some college education or had achieved a post-secondary degree: 21.7 %’s highest education attainment was a 4-year degree and 13 % had attained a Master’s degree or beyond. Comparatively, 28.3 % of heterosexual respondents have a 4-year degree as their highest attained degree while only 21.9 % of gay male respondents and 24.4 % of lesbian respondents had a 4-year degree. These results suggest that there is some slight difference in educational attainment due to sexual orientation. There was also no significant difference in employment status between heterosexual and non-heterosexual respondents.
Experience with safety and openness as LGBT person
Respondents were asked about their level of openness about their sexual orientation and gender identity. They were asked whether they had made their sexual orientation known to family, friends, coworkers, and the community as a whole. Most LGBT respondents indicated that they generally have let others know of their sexual orientation: 72.7 % had let their families know, 84.4 % had let their friends know, 58.6 % had let their coworkers know, and 56.6 % had let the community as a whole know. By comparison, non-LGBT respondents did not indicate as strongly that they had made their sexuality known: 64.3 % of non-LGBT respondents had let their family know, 58 % had let their friends know, 53.1 % had let their coworkers know, and 82.5 % had let the community as a whole know. Clearly, it is not as important for heterosexual people to “come out.”
This unexpected contrast between LGBT and non-LGBT responses sheds light on the heteronormativity in society. The non-LGBT community might have responded “no” to whether or not they had made their sexuality known because they had not been required to explicitly do so; the heteronormative assumption is that one is heterosexual unless information is provided to suggest otherwise. Arguably, the family, friends, and coworkers of most of the non-LGBT respondents know that the respondent is heterosexual and cisgender, even if the respondent did not have to self-disclose. It is also possible that the question was misunderstood by many non-LGBT people. The percentage of non-LGBT respondents, who answered “yes,” that they had made their sexual orientation known to the community as a whole, was very high: 82.5 %. It is possible that many people were using this response to function as an “all of the above.”
Table 1: LGBT and Non-LGBT Responses Regarding Support of Community
Table is under construction.
Note. The totals do not add up to 100 % because responses of “neither agree nor disagree” were not included.
Respondents were asked to rate the level of agreement, on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree), with several statements regarding their level of support by the community. Three out of four of these questions had similar responses between LGBT and non-LGBT respondents. Responses indicated that 47.4 % of LGBT and 45.7 % of non-LGBT respondents agreed that a majority of people support LGBT rights. Similarly, 41.9 % of LGBT and 45.4 % of non-LGBT respondents agreed that a majority of people support same-sex marriage. Many respondents indicated that they “neither agreed nor disagreed” to either statement. It is apparent that society is still greatly divided on the issues relating to the LGBT community.The only question which exhibited significantly difference in responses between LGBT and non-LGBT respondents was that which indicated the level of support on the part of the family (see “family support” column of Table 1). Whereas 94 % of non-LGBT respondents agreed that their family supported their gender identity and/or sexual orientation, only 67.2 % of LGBT respondents said the same. It is obvious that many LGBT people continue to deal with families who are not accepting of their sexuality or gender.
MORE TO FOLLOW….