Today the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) and Western North Carolina Community Health Services (WNCCHS) released a new report about LGBTQ Southerners’ voting behaviors and beliefs.
The report highlights why political participation from LGBTQ Southerners is essential in increasing representation at all levels of government and building the political voice and will to achieve full legal equality. It is a supplement to The Report of the 2019 Southern LGBTQ Health Survey and relies on data from that survey, taken by more than 5,600 people across the South, the largest sample ever of LGBTQ Southerners talking specifically about their health and healthcare.
Key findings of the supplement – which you can read here – include:
- Nearly 92% of the people who participated in the 2019 Southern LGBTQ Health Survey said they are registered to vote. Comparatively, researchers estimate that around 79% of all eligible voters in the United States are registered.
- Registration rates were slightly lower among transgender respondents (around 5 points lower than cisgender respondents); respondents of color (5-12 points lower than white respondents); and respondents with lower incomes (8-10 points lower than respondents with higher incomes). Education level also impacts registration rates: While 46% of respondents with less than a high school diploma are registered, 98.6% of respondents with a master’s degree are.
- Among respondents registered to vote, 18.4% felt that their vote did not have a positive impact, while 47.1% of respondents not registered to vote felt the same way.
- Respondents’ experience with physical violence or emotional abuse impacted their voting behaviors and beliefs: Respondents who had experienced physical violence were less likely to be registered and less likely to feel their vote had a positive impact than respondents who had not faced physical violence (88.69% and 72.03%, respectively, compared to and 93.14% and 82.14%, respectively).
Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, said:
“The South is home to roughly 3.6 million LGBTQ adults, more than in any other region. And along with our friends, family members, and neighbors, we have the power to elect our leaders who will advance our community’s policy priorities, which includes pushing for LGBTQ-inclusive policies and standing against discriminatory laws. This new analysis highlights an engaged constituency of LGBTQ Southerners and speaks to ways that LGBTQ voters in the South can build our political power, leverage our voices for change, and make an impact on our communities.”
The Southern LGBTQ Health Survey is part of the Southern LGBTQ Health Initiative, a collaboration of CSE and WNCCHS to improve access to LGBTQ-friendly primary care, HIV care and support services across the South. In addition to community-based research, this initiative involves training primary care providers in affirming health care practices and providing direct funding to grassroots groups leading innovations in access to LGBTQ health care.
Access this issue spotlight supplement of the Southern LGBTQ Health Survey – as well as the full report and executive summary in English and Spanish – at www.southernequality.org/Survey#Voting.