I Am Your Constituency: Voices and Perspectives of LGBTQ+ Tennesseans on anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation

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Certain, Elliot
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Despite both national and state level Supreme Court decisions such as Obergefell v. Hodges and Campbell v. Sundquist expanding the scope of LGBTQ+ rights, LGBTQ+ individuals still face ongoing discrimination and legal challenges. In addition, LGBTQ+ individuals struggle with mental health challenges at a disproportionate rate when compared to their non-LGBTQ+ peers. The purpose of this study was to examine and understand the relationship between LGBTQ+ identifying individuals and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. Qualitative open-ended surveys were distributed to and answered by 49 of LGBTQ+ self-identifying higher education students in Rutherford County, Tennessee. The survey questions aimed to collect participant perspectives on anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. The data indicated a complex, highly individualized perspective from each participant, with all disagreeing with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, but responding to it in their own way. The centering of LGBTQ+ voices in a study such as this is especially important because oftentimes anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is created and considered without input from a legislator’s LGBTQ+ constituents. Through this study, the participants were empowered to be heard in their own words on the legislation that dictates their lives.