Achieving LGBT Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Views & Analysis

September 18, 2012

Closets Are For Clothes: The Social Justice Sexuality Project

This morning, the National Center for Lesbian Rights attended a national briefing sponsored by the National Black Justice Coalition and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus titled “Closets Are For Clothes: Being LGBT and POC in America.”  The briefing included a presentation by Dr. Juan Battle, a professor at the City University of New York, regarding some of the key findings of the Social Justice Sexuality Project, a national study of the experiences of LGBT people of color in the United States.

The Social Justice Sexuality Project is unique in that its inquiries move away from a perspective of pathology to investigating sociopolitical experiences of LGBT people of color around five themes: racial and sexual identity; spirituality and religion; mental and physical health; family formations and dynamics; and civic and community engagement. More than 5,000 LGBT people of color completed the survey and these respondents came from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, including urban, rural, and suburban areas – everywhere we know that members of our community live!

In his presentation, Dr. Battle highlighted some findings that push back against harmful myths and stereotypes about the Black community that arose following the passage of Proposition 8.  For example, the study found that over 90 percent of Black LGBT people are out to their friends and family, and 70% of these Black LGBT people report feeling supported by their families to some degree, with 36.9% feeling completely supported.  In addition, nearly three-quarters of Black LGBT people indicated that their racial or ethnic status was an important part of their identity and a similar percentage indicated that their sexual orientation was also an important part of their identity.   This data affirms our work at National Center for Lesbian Rights to create spaces and communities where LGBT people can bring their full selves to our movement for social change.

You can learn more about the Project at www.SocialJusticeSexuality.com.  Please share this important resource with your family, friends, and colleagues!

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