Findings: A Pervasive Climate of Hate
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.