Quality of life survey under way

Steven Ward

Advocate staff writer

A Baton Rouge nonprofit group that promotes the fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people has posted an informal, online survey to study the quality of life of that local community.

Capital City Alliance has joined with an LSU School of Social Work professor and one of her classes to create the survey to better understand the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Baton Rouge and the surrounding area, said Kevin Serrin, Capital City Alliance’s chairman of the board.

“We hope to use the data as an advocacy tool,” Serrin said recently.

Serrin said the Capital City Alliance has been working on a human rights ordinance he wants to eventually present to city and state officials.

He said he hopes the results of the survey can show leaders why a law is needed.

The survey is the second one Capital City Alliance and LSU Social Work professor Elaine M. Maccio have worked on together to track quality of life issues for this community.

The first one was conducted in 2007 and had 350 respondents, Serrin said.

“The results showed Baton Rouge had a long way to go in tolerance,” Serrin said of the 2007 survey results.

According to the 2007 survey results, about seven in 10 respondents said discrimination against them is common in and around Baton Rouge, and four in 10 said they had been victims in the preceding 12 months.

The discrimination in the results was overwhelmingly nonviolent and largely consisted of public, nasty name-calling, the respondents said.

Two respondents, both LSU students, said they were victims of assault.

Still, only 16 percent of the respondents in the 2007 survey said they personally felt unsafe and only 15 percent thought law enforcement treated them unfairly.

Serrin and Maccio said they are hoping to get 1,000 respondents to the new survey.

“With the advent of social media, we hope to get more people to participate,” Serrin said.

In the new survey, questions are about discrimination, political affiliation, local resources, families and other demographic information.

Serrin said he and Maccio are hoping to get “brain drain” information by asking people if they are leaving Baton Rouge, or why they might stay.

There also are questions about where they spend their entertainment money.

“Are they spending it here in Baton Rouge or are they going off to New Orleans or Lafayette or other places.” Serrin said.

Serrin said the survey, which people can take anonymously, has 50 questions and takes about 15 minutes to complete.

Those interested in taking the survey should visit http://ccabatonrouge.org/.