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Survey: Gays, lesbians report harassment

A survey of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Arkansans found that one in four has experienced employment discrimination and more than one in three has experienced harassment at work, a group that promotes gay rights said Monday.

The Washington-based Human Rights Campaign released findings from a survey conducted as part of Project One America, its campaign to promote LGBT equality in the South.

The group said the online survey by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research of 979 people, who were recruited to participate through e-mail, social media and online ads, is the largest survey of the LGBT community ever conducted in Arkansas.

According to the findings released Monday, 25 percent of respondents said they have experienced employment discrimination; 37 percent have experience harassment at work; and 45 percent have experienced harassment at school.

Also, 39 percent of respondents said they have experienced harassment by family members; 43 percent have experienced harassment in public establishments; 16 percent have experienced harassment from a public servant such as a police officer; and 18 percent have experienced harassment at their houses of worship at least once a month.

The survey found that 42 percent of respondents said they do not consider their doctor LGBT friendly and that only 25 percent have access to partner health insurance benefits.

Researchers also looked at ways the LGBT community contributes to society.

The survey found that 58 percent of respondents have called Arkansas home for more than 20 years; 9 percent have served or are serving in the military; 53 percent volunteer in their communities; 60 percent donate to charitable groups and nonprofits; one third are people of faith — 44 percent among African Americans; 32 percent have donated to their house of worship; and 57 percent of respondents ages 18-25 intend to have children one day.

“The survey revealed LGBT Arkansans are just like their friends and family members — living, working, and volunteering in their communities,” Project One America director Brad Clark said in a news release. “However, they face harsh realities living in the state they call home. We have a moral responsibility to change that.”

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