Research

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    World AIDS Day Report – HIV Criminalization in California: Evaluation of Transmission Risk

    Amira Hasenbush and Dr. Brian Zanoni, December 2016

    In California, outdated HIV criminalization laws do not reflect the highly effective medical advances for reducing the risk of HIV transmission and extending the quantity and quality of life for people living with HIV.

    HIV criminalization is a term used to describe laws that either criminalize otherwise legal conduct or that increase the penalties for illegal conduct based upon a person’s HIV-positive status. California has four HIV-specific criminal laws.

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    Research Finds Sexual Victimization Perpetrated by Women More Common than Previously Known

    Lara Stemple, Andrew Flores, and Ilan H. Meyer, November 2016

    Using U.S. federal agency data, researchers find that female sexual perpetration is more common than previously recognized. The researchers’ findings contradict the common belief that female sexual perpetration is rare.

    Sexual victimization by women perpetrators occurs mostly against men and occasionally against women.

    The research, published in a paper titled “Sexual Victimization Perpetrated by Women: Federal Data Reveal Surprising Prevalence” was written by Lara Stemple, Director of the UCLA Law School’s Health and Human Rights Law Project, and Williams Institute researchers Andrew Flores and Ilan Meyer and was recently published in Aggression and Violent Behavior.

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    Surveying LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care: Lessons from Los Angeles 

    Bianca D.M. Wilson, Khush Cooper, Angel Kastanis, and Soon Kyu Choi, November 2016

    This report describes the methodology used in a 2014 Williams Institute study on sexual and gender minority youth in the Los Angeles County foster care system . The 2014 study surveyed youth in foster care about their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, other demographic characteristics, and experiences in foster care. In this methods report about the 2014 study, researchers describe the study design and process, share their survey instrument and recommended questions, and review lessons learned from their experience.

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    Scholars who Study the Transgender Population File Amici Brief in HB2 Appeal

    Williams Institute and other scholars who study the transgender population filed an amici curiae brief in Carcaño v. McCrory, the first litigation over North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB2) to reach the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  In this appeal, the court will consider the constitutionality of Part I of HB2, which …

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    Adults Who Identify as Transgender are More Racially and Ethnically Diverse than the U.S. General Population

    Andrew R. Flores, Taylor N. T. Brown, and Jody L. Herman October 2016

    Adults who identify as transgender are more racially and ethnically diverse than the U.S. population overall, according to a new study released by The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. This study is the first to provide estimates of the racial and ethnic make-up of adults who identify as transgender in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.

    Researchers estimate that adults who identify as transgender are less likely to be white and more likely to be racial and ethnic minorities when compared to the U.S. general population. Adults who identify as African-American or black, Latino or Hispanic, and adults of another race or ethnicity are more likely than white adults to identify as transgender.

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    For Immigrants, HIV Criminalization Can Mean Incarceration and Deportation

    Amira Hasenbush, Bianca D.M. Wilson, October 2016

    In the new report HIV Criminalization Against Immigrants in California, Williams Institute Scholars Amira Hasenbush and Bianca D.M. Wilson, use California Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) data to explore how HIV criminal laws in California are enforced against foreign born populations.

    Key Findings include: 15 percent of people in California who have come into contact with the criminal justice system for HIV crimes are foreign born and 83 percent of those foreign born were from Mexico, Central or South America, or the Caribbean.

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    Strict Voter ID Laws May Disenfranchise More Than 34,000 Transgender Voters in the 2016 November Election

    Jody L. Herman, September 2016

    Eight states’ voter ID laws may create substantial barriers to voting and possible disenfranchisement for tens of thousands of transgender voters this election. In Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin, about 112,000 transgender people who have transitioned are estimated to be eligible to vote—34,000 of them may face barriers to voting this November due to strict ID laws.

    According to a new study entitled, The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in the 2016 General Election authored by Williams Institute Scholar Jody L. Herman, Ph.D., many transgender people who have transitioned do not have identification that accurately reflects their correct gender.

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    The Impact Of A $15 Minimum Wage Among Same Sex Couples

    M.V. Lee Badgett, Alyssa Schneebaum, September 2016

    Increases in the minimum wage are being proposed, debated, and passed across the United States. In 2016, New York State and California significantly increased their state minimum wage, and the new rate will reach $15 per hour in 2022 in California, $15 per hour in 2018 in New York City, and $12.50 an hour in New York State in 2020.1 Research in 2014 suggested that increases in the minimum wage could reduce poverty, including poverty among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. This research brief predicts that raising the federal minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 to $15 an hour would reduce LGBT poverty by one-third for male same-sex couples and by almost one-half for female same-sex couples. Almost 30,000 people in same-sex couples would see their incomes rise above the federal poverty level.

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    Model Legislation for Eliminating the Gay and Trans Panic Defenses

    By Jordan Blair Woods, Brad Sears, Christy Mallory
    September 2016

    “Gay panic” and “transgender panic” defenses have been asserted by defendants in criminal trials throughout the U.S. since the 1960s. In these cases, defendants have argued that their violent behavior was a rational response to discovering that the victim was LGBT. The defenses are rooted in irrational fears based on homophobia and transphobia, and send the message that violence against LGBT people is understandable and acceptable. When successful, these defenses have resulted in murder charges being reduced to manslaughter or another lesser offense.

    To date, only one state, California, has banned defendants from asserting gay or transgender panic defense by statute. In this brief, Williams Institute scholars present model language, based on the language adopted in California, that other states may use to eliminate use of the defenses through legislation. The model legislation offers language to prohibit defendants from using gay and trans panic defenses under each of the major defenses theories of provocation, insanity/diminished capacity, and self-defense. In addition, the brief provides an overview of the ways in which the defenses have been asserted in trials throughout the last several decades, and evaluates potential constitutional challenges to state legislation eliminating use of the defenses.

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    Missed the Blood Equality Panel at the Hammer Museum? We Have It Videotaped.

    Blood Equality November 22, 2016 7:30pm Co-presented by the Hammer Museum WATCH VIDEO PRESENTATION In advance of December 1st, World AIDS Day, this  panel examined the FDA’s ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, which currently requires celibacy for one year before donating.* Panelists included Brad Sears, Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Williams Institute …

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    LGBT Aging: A Review of Research Findings, Needs, and Policy Implications

    By Soon Kyu Choi, Ilan H. Meyer
    August 2016

    In LGBT Aging: A Review of Research Findings, Needs, and Policy Implications, Soon Kyu Choi and Ilan H. Meyer, Ph.D. provide a review of what is known about lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) older adults.

    “It is estimated that 2.4 million LGBT older adults over 50 live in the United States,” Ilan H Meyer, Ph.D., Williams Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy, says. “That number is expected to double by 2030. The needs of older LGBT adults are quite different than those of the non-LGBT population. LGBT older adults are sometimes apprehensive of how they’ll be treated by healthcare providers or in senior care facilities. We need to ensure that LGBT seniors will receive sensitive and effective care wherever they go for care.”

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    Impact of Civil Marriage Recognition for Long-Term Same-Sex Couples

    By Ellen D. B. Riggle (University of Kentucky), Robert E. Wickham (Palo Alto University), Sharon S. Rostosky (University of Kentucky), Esther D. Rothblum (San Diego State University and The Williams Institute) and Kimberly F. Balsam (Palo Alto University)
    July 2016

    Same-sex marriage recognition at the state level was associated with more support from a spouse or partner and less psychological distress about an LGB identity, according to a recent study conducted prior to the recognition of marriage in all 50 US States. Furthermore, the study, entitled “Impact of Civil Marriage Recognition for Long Term Same-Sex Couples” by Ellen D. B. Riggle (University of Kentucky), Robert E. Wickham (Palo Alto University), Sharon S. Rostosky (University of Kentucky), Esther D. Rothblum (San Diego State University and The Williams Institute) and Kimberly F. Balsam (Palo Alto University), also finds that long-term same-sex relationships are beneficial to the health and well-being of couple members, regardless of marital status.

    Key findings from the study include that state recognition of same-sex marriages is significantly associated with experiencing less motivation to conceal an LGB identity, less vigilance and fewer feelings of isolation and that marriage may also reinforce commitment within a relationship, leading couple members to feel more positively about their relationship with their partner.

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    Food Insecurity and SNAP Participation in the LGBT Community

    By Taylor N.T. Brown, Adam P. Romero, and Gary J. Gates
    July 2016

    This study analyzes the extent of food insecurity experiences and participation in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) among LGBT adults and adults in same-sex couples. Using data from four representative, population-based surveys the authors find higher rates of these experiences among LGBT adults and adults in same-sex couples than among non-LGBT adults and adults in different-sex couples.

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    The Legal Needs of Cisgender Women Living with HIV: Evaluating Access to Justice in Los Angeles

    By Amira Hasenbush, Ayako Miyashita, and Brad Sears
    July 2016

    This report summarizes findings of the Legal Assessment of Needs Study (“LeAN Study”) – an online survey with 387 respondents who identified as people living with HIV/AIDS – for cisgender women living with HIV in Los Angeles County. We describe respondents’ legal needs, respondents’ experiences getting assistance for identified legal needs from both legal and non-legal sources, and barriers respondents faced in accessing assistance from both legal and non-legal sources. We describe differences and similarities between transgender women and all other respondents. Finally, we discuss how these legal needs may relate to health access and health status.

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    A Development Agenda for Sexual and Gender Minorities

    By Andrew Park, Esq.
    July 2016

    This paper sets out the theoretical framework for formulating an international development agenda for sexual and gender minorities. The audience for this paper includes researchers, development practitioners, human rights advocates and those in the LGBT community interested in the growing field of human and economic development.

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    How Many Adults Identify as Transgender in the United States

    By Andrew R. Flores, Jody L. Herman, Gary J. Gates, and Taylor N. T. Brown
    June 2016

    Utilizing data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which includes representative state-level surveys, Williams Institute scholars provide up-to-date estimates of the percentage and number of adults who identify as transgender in the United States. Approximately 0.6% of adults in the United States, or 1.4 million individuals, identify as transgender.

    The study also provides the first ever state-level estimates of the number and percentage of adults who identify as transgender for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Differences exist in the percentage of adults who identify as transgender among the states, ranging from 0.3% in North Dakota to 0.8% in Hawaii. Differences by age also exist, with younger adults more likely to identify as transgender than older adults. An estimated 0.7% of adults ages 18 to 24, 0.6% of adults ages 25 to 64, and 0.5% of adults ages 65 and older identify as transgender.

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    Estimating the Economic Impact of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples One Year after Obergefell

    By Christy Mallory and Brad Sears
    June 2016

    Weddings by same-sex couples have generated an estimated $1.58 billion boost to the national economy, and $102 million in state and local sales tax revenue, since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision extending marriage equality nationwide in June 2015. Since Obergefell v. Hodges, 132,000 same-sex couples have married, bringing the total of married same-sex couples in the U.S. to 491,000, or 49% of all same-sex couples.

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    Declaration of Ilan H. Meyer, in the case of Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively

    By Ilan H. Meyer
    May 2016

    By Ilan H. Meyer May 2016 Ilan Meyer, Williams Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy, has submitted an expert report to a United Stated Federal Court in the case of Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively. In that case, a group of Ugandans have brought a lawsuit against evangelist Scott Lively for his role in conspiring …

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    Development and Human Rights: Two Complementary Frameworks

    By Andrew Park and M.V. Lee Badgett
    May 2016

    This article examines the differences and overlaps between the human rights and human development frameworks, and argues that both frameworks offer related, but separate, perspectives on public policy impacting LGBT people. The annual report, titled State-Sponsored Homophobia: A World Survey of Sexual Orientation Laws: Criminalisation, Protection and Recognition, is issued each year in connection with IDAHOT.

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    Does an Improved Social Environment for Sexual and Gender Minorities Have Implications for a New Minority Stress Research Agenda?

    By Ilan Meyer
    May 2016

    In this essay, Dr. Meyer notes changes in social attitudes in many countries that allow LGBT people in those countries to experience a more accepting and inclusive society. He argues that these changes compel researchers to assess the impacts of the changes on the lived experiences of LGBT people, including reducing health disparities between LGBT people and the general population, and across demographic categories – age, gender and gender expression, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic. At the same time, Dr. Meyer reminds us that these changes are not global, and that in many parts of the United States and the world LGBT people continue to experience stigma and prejudice that lead to discrimination and violence against them.

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