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Statistical Information

Statistical Information

By Susan Wright The 2008 survey saw a total of 3,058 responses collected. Of those, 2,412 respondents resided in the United States (83.4%). Of the remaining 480 respondents, a total of over 42 other countries were represented. Where appropriate, the data is compared to the 1998 Violence & Discrimination Survey Against Sexual Minorities which collected over 1,000 responses to similar questions over the course of a year. The 1998 survey did not cover business or event-related experiences of harassment, nor did it ask about Internet experiences. The 2008 survey also included more questions about sexual activity and identity. Table 1. Gender 2008 1998 Women 51% 46% Men 45% 51% Transgender 5% 1% Intersexes 1% 2%   Table 2. Sexual Orientation 2008 1998 Heterosexual 41% 40% Bisexual 35% 36% Gay/lesbian 22% 22% Other 7% 4%   A total of 1,146 (37.5%) respondents indicated that they had either been discriminated against, had experienced some form of harassment or violence, or had some form of harassment or discrimination aimed at their BDSM-leather-fetish-related business. Of the respondents who reported some form of persecution, 476 (41.5%) identified as male 615 (53.7%) identified as female 9 (.8%) identified as intersexed 78 (6.8%) identified as transgendered (Sexual orientation, like gender, was a question which required some answer, but allowed respondents to choose as many as they felt might apply, so the percentage totals more than 100%.) Of the 1,146 respondents who indicated that they had either been discriminated against or had experienced some form of harassment or violence, 380 (33.2%) identified as heterosexual, 440 (38.4%) identified as bisexual 292 (25.5%) identified as gay or lesbian. 97 (8.5%) indicated that they identified in some other way from heterosexual, bisexual or gay/lesbian. (Sexual orientation, like gender, was a question which required some answer, but allowed respondents to choose as many as they felt might apply, so the percentage totals more than 100%.) The sexual orientation of respondents who were discriminated against or had experienced some form of harassment or violence is compared in Table 6.1 to the total percentage of respondents who identified their orientation. It is interesting to note that Gay/lesbian, Bisexual and Other respondents have slightly higher rates of persecution than their average percentage of total respondents, while Heterosexuals are less likely to be discriminated against. Table 3. Sexual Orientation and Discrimination Total Percent 2008 Respondents Percent Persecuted Gay/lesbian 22% 25.5% Bisexual 35% 38.4% Heterosexual 41% 33.2%…
  The 2008 Survey of Violence & Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities found significant discrimination and persecution against BDSM practitioners due to the social stigma attached to their sexual behavior. With over three thousand respondents, 37.5 percent indicated that they had either been discriminated against or experienced some form of harassment or violence. This survey addresses the gap in current knowledge by reporting data on the prevalence of violence and discrimination against BDSM and polyamory practitioners. The persecution of these individuals is conceptualized as a manifestation of sexual stigma, that is, society's negative regard for any non-heterosexual behavior, identity, relationship, or community.
by Female Trouble March 1994   Within the women√Ęs community, over half (56%) of the 539 lesbian and bisexual women surveyed experienced discrimination, harassment, or physical assault from other women because of their participation in consensual s/m. This survey only dealt with the discrimination or violence occurring within the lesbian community against S/M women. Harassment is the most common form of attack against s/m practitioners in the lesbian community. 44% of the S/M women reported some form of violence against them, with one-third of the reported incidents of harassment had occurred in the last year (1993).   30% of the S/M women in the survey experienced discrimination in the lesbian community because of their s/m orientation. This discrimination included being refused membership or being ejected from social, recreational, political, education, spiritual groups within the lesbian community.   Incidents of physical assault in the lesbian community because of S/M orientation were reported by 25% of the women. This includes being slapped, punched or kicked by other women because of their s/m orientation.   Of the 367 s/m women who were victims and/or witnesses of violence at some point in their lives, only 22% felt safe enough to report the incidents to police or event organizers, group leaders, bar staff, etc. Only 25% stated that their complaints had been handled satisfactorily. This reputation within the lesbian community for not supporting victims of violence, harassment and discrimination prevents s/m women from fully participating in the community.   In the forward of the Female Trouble analysis, Jad Keres writes: "The S/M women who have taken part in this survey have something important to tell us. Listening to them does not require an understanding of their sexual expression nor approval of their lifestyle. It does require a willingness to still the persistent noise of hard-held opinions and unyielding dogma. As a community, will we finally allow the voices of all women to be heard and heard consistently or will we continue to blatantly censor and dismiss the lives of women we do not understand or approve of? As a community, will we finally acknowledge and stop the political violence that has preyed upon S/M women or will we continue to ignore the real bloody consequences of the 'Sex Wars'?"   Female Trouble, PO Box 30145, Philadelphia PA 19103
PURPOSE: Gather demographic data on the SM-Leather-Fetish communities. Gain an understanding of the affect of social stigma on SM and fetish practitioners. SURVEY INSTRUMENT - Paper and electronic distribution (see below) PERIOD - April 1998 to February 1999 RESULTS: Useful demographic data on the SM-Leather-Fetish communities Sense of the magnitude of the problems arising from the stigma against SM Clear justification for a more professional survey GENDER  ORIENTATION Men  51%  Heterosexual  40% Women  46% Homosexual  22% Transgender  1% Bisexual  36% Intersexual  2% No Response   4% EMPLOYMENT AGE  INCOME Student 8% 18-22 3% Under $ 10K 7% Part time 5%  23-29 15% $10-24K 17% Full time 62% 30-44 49% $25-49K 37% Self employed 22% 45-64 31% Over $50K 39% Unemployed 1% Over 65 2%     Retired 2%         COMMUNITY ISSUES: 1. Have you ever experienced violence or harassment because of your alternative sexual practices? 36%   YES If yes, what happened? (multiple responses allowed) Verbal harassment  87% Physical assault  25% Stalked  19% Property vandalized  19% Blackmail  17% Sexual harassment  13% Rape  10% Other  7% 2. Have you ever experienced discrimination due to your alternative sexual practices? 30%   YES If yes, what happened? (multiple responses allowed) Persecution 40% Loss of job or contract  25% Loss of promotion  17% Loss of custody of child  3% Refused membership  11% Unjustified arrest  5% Other  36% 3. Did you press charges? 96%   NO 4. Do you freely tell others of your interest in alternative sexual expression? 72%   NO If you're not out, why not? Fear of disapproval  67% Fear of repercussions  57% Fear of persecution  34% Fear of loss of child custody  13% Other  16% RESULTS Only 28% of those surveyed were "out", while the vast majority don't tell other people about their sexual preferences. Some reported that "it's no one else's business," but many cited fear of job loss or child custody, or harming family relations. One respondent reported, "A formerly trusted confidant outed me to my family. As I am the primary care giver for my mother (Alzheimer's) my siblings feared that I would expose our mother to "dangerous characters". They considered making other arrangements for Mom's care and made me promise not to 'practice" my sexual preferences in our home." Unfortunately, staying in the closet doesn't protect people - only one-third of those who suffered violence or discrimination reported that they are "out". The other two-thirds were minding their own…
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Why You Should Care

Because your sexual expression...
  • Can result in discrimination, prosecution, and even violence against you
  • Can cause you to lose your children
  • Can cause you to lose your job or your income
  • Can lead you into a maze of antiquated laws and regulations you never even knew existed
  • Is arbitrarily criminalized by state and local authorities
  • Is used by the radical right to marginalize minority groups
  • Can result in the invasion of your privacy by the government, both within your own home or in educational, social and group environments 

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    • Support the right of adults to express their sexuality, gender identity and orientation freely and openly without fear
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