The qualitative studies, while much smaller in scope, give voice to some of the people directly affected by anti-gay marriage amendments. The first study, "Balancing Dangers: GLBT Experience in a Time of Anti-GLBT Legislation," focused on 13 GLBT people living in Memphis, Tenn., who were interviewed at length about their experiences during the 2006 ballot campaign. The researchers, led by Heidi M. Levitt, Ph.D., at the University of Memphis, grouped the respondents' reactions into eight major themes, or "clusters." These included, for example: "Initiatives lead to constant painful reminders that I'm seen as less than human by our government and public laws," and "The irrationality of anti-GLBT initiatives and movements is baffling, painful and scary: We are not who they say we are."
Participants reported feeling not just alienated from their communities, but fearful that they would lose their children, that they would become victims of anti-gay violence or that they would need to move to a more accepting community. Some of these anxieties were mitigated by social support.
For instance, one interviewee said he became "petrified of being raped or roughed up or killed, you know, for doing nothing, basically. I worry about being picked out as a gay guy because my mannerisms are not entirely masculine." Another said the marriage amendment supporters were using the Bible "like a brick on us. They are beating us with it."
Social support from religious institutions, families, GLBT friends and heterosexual allies led most of the participants "to greater feelings of safety, happiness and strength," the researchers wro
|Contact: Kim Mills|
American Psychological Association