LGBT Institute and Georgia State University Launch Research Partnership

Fostering Research on LGBT Life in the South

The LGBT Institute at the Center for Civil and Human Rights and Georgia State University (GSU) today announced a partnership aimed at connecting academic researchers with LGBT advocates to tell the stories of some of those most marginalized – LGBT Southerners – through data. 

“The experiences of LGBT Southerners need to be told. Research is an important way to tell our stories, and that’s where GSU comes in,” said Ryan Roemerman, Executive Director of the LGBT Institute. “Data can amplify LGBT voices and help dismantle systems that promote discrimination.” 

Though home to more LGBT adults than any other region in the country, the South remains a hotbed for anti-equality legislation: Not one Southern state has passed an employment anti-discrimination law, and more than half of all anti-LGBT bills proposed in the United States this year were born in the South.

“Equality requires policies that reflect and support LGBT people as equal citizens. The problem, especially in the South, is that the research needed to secure these policies is not often funded,” stated Dr. Eric Wright, Chair of the Sociology Department at GSU. “In fact, only 2 percent of national LGBT funding went to research in the South compared to 9 percent nationally. That’s a real opportunity for progress considering more than three in 10 LGBT adults live in the South.” 

Alongside Dr. Wright, a team of researchers will examine three priority areas identified by the LGBT Institute’s programming board and supported by stakeholder groups made up of LGBT community leaders: Education and Employment, Criminal Justice and Safety, and Public Health and Wellness. 

“By fostering this research, we will gain a more complete understanding of the systemic challenges facing LGBT communities and opportunities to create lived equality among LGBT Southerners,” said Roemerman.

The partnership also will enable the LGBT Institute to conduct a first-of-its-kind longitudinal survey of LGBT Southerners this fall followed by an academic symposium in November. Research findings will inform programming at the Center for Civil and Human Rights and be accessible to the public via The LGBT Institute projects preliminary findings will be available as early as December 2016.  


About the LGBT Institute: The LGBT Institute is the internal home and dedicated platform for the Center for Civil and Human Rights to explore critical issues regarding LGBT communities around the world. For more information about the LGBT Institute and how to get involved, visit

About the Center for Civil and Human Rights: The Center for Civil and Human Rights in Downtown Atlanta is an engaging cultural attraction that connects The American Civil Rights Movement to today’s global Human Rights Movements. The Center features a continuously rotating exhibit from The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection, which includes many of Dr. King’s documents and personal items. Visitors will be immersed in experiential exhibits through powerful and authentic stories, historic documents, compelling artifacts, and interactive activities. The Center is a source for ongoing dialogue —hosting educational forums and attracting world-renowned speakers and artists who work on a variety of human rights topics. For more information, visit

About Georgia State University: Georgia State University, an enterprising urban public research university, is a national leader in graduating students from widely diverse backgrounds. Centered in the historic financial hub of downtown Atlanta, the university provides more than 32,000 students with unsurpassed connections to the city’s business, government, nonprofit and cultural organizations. The university offers 250 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in more than 100 fields of study in its eight colleges and schools: the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, the College of Law, the Honors College, the Institute of Public Health and the J. Mack Robinson College of Business. For more information, visit