At a press conference in the State Capitol rotunda this morning, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual support and advocacy organization, announced the new state director of HRC Arkansas, and the results of the largest survey of LGBT Arkansans ever conducted in the state.
Brad Clark, the director of the HRC’s Project One America, which works for LGBT equality in Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas, announced that Little Rock native Kendra R. Johnson will serve as director of HRC Arkansas. She will start the job on August 4. The non-profit is in the process of securing office space in Little Rock. Johnson is the recipient of degrees from Spelman College and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. After a decade living and working in Brazil, Johnson returned to her home state eight years ago. She has previously worked with the non-profits Better Community Development and Southerners on New Ground (SONG) and was the interim executive director of the Little Rock division of The Women’s Project. She lives in Little Rock with her partner.
Clark also announced the preliminary results of the HRC’s survey of LGBT Arkansans. Standout details from the survey include 18 percent of respondents saying they faced monthly discrimination in their house of worship, 43 percent who said they have experienced discrimination in public establishments and 45 percent who said they were harassed in school because of their sexual orientation. Hit the jump for more details from the survey.
For the survey, 979 LGBT Arkansans, recruited through email, social media and online ads, filled out an online questionnaire in early 2014. Among the findings of the survey:
- 58 percent of respondents have lived in Arkansas more than 20 years.
- 9 percent were currently in or veterans of the armed forces.
- 53 percent had volunteered in their communities.
- 60 percent had donated money to charities and nonprofites.
- One-third said they were people of faith, including 44 percent of LGBT African-American respondents
- 57 percent of respondents age 18-25 said they hope to have children someday
- 25 percent say they’ve experienced employment discrimination.
- 39 percent said they worked for an employer which protects them from discrimination.
- 38 percent of LGBT people living in households earning less than $45,000 per year said they have experienced harassment at work.
- 38 percent said they were not open about being LGBT at work for fear of discrimination.
- 39 percent said they have experienced harassment by their family.
- 43 percent said they have experienced harassment in public establishments.
- 16 percent said they have experience harassment from a public servant.
- 18 percent said they had experienced monthly harassment at their house of worship.
- 42 percent said they don’t consider their doctor LGBT friendly
- 25 percent said they don’t have access to insurance benefits for a spouse or partner.
- 45 percent said they were or are being harassed at school.
- One-third of respondents who grew up in rural areas say they experienced harassment at school on a weekly basis.
- 56 percent of respondents who grew up in poverty said they were harassed frequently in school.
- 44 percent of respondents said harassment was more common in high school than in junior high or elementary school.