Gay Reality Check

A summary of survey results.

The following is selected data and analysis from a survey of gays in Madison. Complete survey data is available from the Gay/Lesbian Resource Center.

Madison Gay/Lesbian Resource Center

1995 Survey of the Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender Community
of Madison Wisconsin

Madison Gay/Lesbian Resource Center,
PO Box 1722, Madison WI 53701
April 1997
Madison Gay/Lesbian Resource Center
1995 Survey of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender
Community of Madison Wisconsin


I. Introduction, page 2

II. History and Methodology, page 3

III. Demographic Information, page 6

IV. Key Findings, page 10

V. Complete Survey Data, page 16

VI. Future Improvements, page 32

VII. 1997 Survey of the Madison Population on Homosexuality, page 34


The Madison Gay/Lesbian Resource Center (MGLRC) initiated this survey for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals in the Madison Wisconsin area, in order to gain an understanding of our lives, our needs, and our perceptions. It is the first survey of it's kind in Madison.

The goals of the survey were to:

1) increase the understanding of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people within their community, as well as in the broader community;

2) identify the needs and priorities of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community;

3) document the nature of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender relationships, families, health, upbringing, politics, and religion; and,

4) document the existence and extent of discrimination and abuse that occurs against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

Of the 2,000 surveys distributed, 660 (or 33%) were returned completed. This is a remarkably successful return rate, but the survey results are not intended to portray a complete picture of the community. Although 660 people represents .32% of all Madison residents, no one knows for sure what percentage of lesbian, gay, and bisexual residents it represents. And, in spite of all of the efforts made to reach a broad range of people, it remains very difficult to successfully survey those people who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual but choose not to ever be identified as such.

Therefore, these results should present an overview of our community, and should provide opportunities for further study. Most importantly, MGLRC hopes the results will have a positive impact on the services provided to and by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, and will be useful in promoting the pursuits of this community in the future.

Compiled by Chad LaFlash
for the Madison Gay/Lesbian Resource Center
April, 1997



In July of 1994, during a planning meeting of the MGLRC's Board of Directors, it was discussed that the Madison community needed to know more about what its needs really were, before any organization, including the MGLRC, could decide what new initiatives to take on. Tom Otto mentioned his desire to survey the community to find out what was needed from MGLRC, as well as what the business community might offer individuals. Chad LaFlash had experience designing and executing surveys through his professional employment, and a personal interest in this topic as well, and offered to investigate the project further.

In December 1994, Chad contacted Jerry Kramer, a Ph.D. candidate in Geography at the University of Minnesota, with specialized knowledge in survey research. Jerry helped analyze the 1987 Northstar survey, a needs assessment survey conducted by Minnesota's Gay and Lesbian Community Action Council. The Northstar survey was among the first survey developed by and for the GLBT community, and was instrumental in winning statewide civil rights protection for Minnesota's sexual minorities. Jerry's own research on mapping GLBT communities in the United States was also used in the U.S. Supreme Court case challenging Colorado's "Amendment 2" in 1993. That amendment was approved by Colorado voters in 1992 with the intent that no state or municipal laws should be passed in Colorado which grant specific rights or protections to gay and lesbian people. Jerry's research on the Twin Cities GLBT communities was used to prove to the court that gays and lesbians are a "unique and identifiable group of people" who form commu nities similar to those of ethnic minorities, in part to avoid persecution. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately found Amendment 2 to be unconstitutional, ruling that "A state cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws".

This information brought new urgency and meaning to the survey project. As a result of this, and Jerry's enthe MGLRC Board decided to proceed.

Early Efforts

In the Spring of 1995, planning sessions began to address funding, community input and involvement, and design of the survey instrument. A proposal was drafted to the New Harvest Foundation for a grant to conduct two surveys: a survey of the gay and lesbian community on demographics and needs assessment; and a second survey of the general population of Madison on gay and lesbian political and personal issues. A press release was sent out asking for volunteers and gay and lesbian organizations were contacted to gain their support. The grant proposal was submitted to the New Harvest Foundation and $2,000 was awarded to MGLRC. The remainder of the costs would be funded by MGLRC.

As a part of the press release process, Isthmus newspaper was contacted about doing a special story on the survey. In fact, they were in the middle of collecting data for their own general survey of Madisonians regarding tolerance on many fronts. Many of their questions dealt with the topic of homosexuality. Unfortunately, they were too far into the process to stop what they were doing and collaborate on the MGLRC general population survey. However, they did interview MGLRC for their story on tolerance, mentioning the pending survey, and offered to run a story on the MGLRC results.


Starting with the Northstar Project's survey as a model, as well as other national and regional samples, an original survey was designed for the gay and lesbian community of Madison. Once a draft of 51 questions was developed, a list of individuals in the gay and lesbian community was compiled to edit and comment on the questions. The list of individuals is attached (see ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Development Team).

Great care was taken to find representation of the entire community. Members of the community were contacted to represent women and men, people of different ages, racial and ethnic minorities, disabled individuals, transgendered people, bisexuals, students, ahe community, as well as "closeted" individuals. After gathering all of their comments and making the appropriate revisions, a final draft of the survey, with 76 questions, was completed in August of 1995. The Development Team also gave suggestions for distribution channels and uses for the survey data.

It was decided that the general population survey would be developed after the gay and lesbian survey was completed (see 1997 Survey of the Madison Area on Homosexuality below).

After developing the final draft, the survey was tested for any confusing questions, and to time how long it would take individuals to complete. A group of gay men in the Milwaukee area were used, to avoid having them also complete the final survey later, to test the timing and any confusing points. The survey pilot took each of them approximately 30 minutes to complete. In addition, about 15-20 lesbians and gay men were given the survey ahead of time in Madison to be sure the questions made sense to them.

Some adjustments were made to the questions and a cover sheet was developed to answer the common questions received in testing (such as the purpose, confidentiality, and why HIV was not addressed).

Distribution and Collection

Distribution efforts would be concentrated in the month of November, 1995, because this offered several large community events to distribute at: The New Harvest Annual Dinner, a Ten Percent Society dance, the Lesbian Variety Show, and the Lesbian Art Fair. In addition to those channels, six public locations were selected for people to pick up and drop off surveys, and several organizations mailed out surveys. Within these distribution methods, 2,000 surveys were distributed. 660 completed surveys were returned completed (33%). Measuring only the respondents living in the Madison city limits (88%), this sample represents .30% of the Madison population (compared to the .18% sample in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Northstar study).

The public drop-off sites were chosen to be geographically diverse and meet the needs of as many people as possible, while minimizing the efforts of a small group of volunteers. The Atwood Community Center and Geraldine's Bar were chosen to cover the east side of Madison, while Border's Bookstore covered the west side. A UW-Madison campus location was chosen in the Memorial Union for students. And, in central Madison, Four Star Video Heaven was chosen over A Room of One's Own. This decision was made because more people visit the video store than the feminist bookstore, and, in combination with the main collection location downtown (at the United), only one isthmus location was needed. This decision proved to be controversial in the lesbian community, and will be reconsidered in future efforts.

A group of seven volunteers was brought together to handle the distribution and collection of the surveys. They replenished the blank surveys and emptied the sealed boxes for drop-off regularly through November. In addition to the public events and sites, several gay and lesbian organizations distributed the surveys to their members directly. Madison's most prominent groups were contacted, and many (listed in ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Distributing Organizations) mailed or hand delivered the surveys to their members. This effort helped reach many of the community's "closeted" members who belong to organizations or clubs privately, but do not go to events or would not feel comfortable picking up the survey in a public place. Surveys were also available at Rod's and The New Bar for pick up, but not for collection.

Finally, Catherine Odette, of the Disabled Womyn's Project, was hired to help reach members of our community who are disabled. She created alternative formats for the survey (braille, large-type, electronic, and audio) and made them available to her project's mailing list. Her contact information was also printed on the survey cover letter itself, so disabled persons could contact her via telephone, TDD, or e-mail.

All of the site, event, and special mailing distribution was completed by November 30, 1995. However, The United continued to collect surveys through February, 1996.


Press releases were sent to and published by WTSO Radio, New Frontiersman, Isthmus, The Capital Times, Wisconsin Light, and In Step. Posters were also displayed announcing the pending survey at the October, 1995 Ten Percent Society dance. An interview with Jerry Kramer was aired on WTSO's Sunday Night Out radio show in mid-November.

Data Entry

Initial data entry began in March of 1996. All of the surveys were unsealed and numbered and five volunteers began entering the data into spreadsheets. After six months of this effort, the task proved to be too large for a few volunteers to handle, (the number of individual entries turned out to be over 240,000). Chad LaFlash investigated some data entry businesses to do the work, and Jerry Kramer suggested a colleague of his who had done this type of entry work before. MGLRC hired Fred Markus (also a geography graduate student at Minnesota) to complete the work, and he finished by the end of December, 1996.

Statistical analysis began in January and February, 1997. In March, Steven Fought wrote a program to quickly sort and display the data, which assisted in the analysis. The results were ready for publishing by the end of April, 1997.

1997 Survey of the Madison Area on Homosexuality

In the fall of 1996, work began on a broader supplemental survey of the general population. The purpose of this survey was to determine the attitudes of Madison residents related to topics of homosexuality. This information, combined with the main survey data, would help the lesbian and gay community determine its needs and direction for gaining greater tolerance and acceptance in the broader community, if any.

After discussions with Chamberlain Research Consultants in Madison, it was determined the best approach to the survey would be a random telephone survey on a set group of opinion statements regarding homosexuality. If surveys had been mailed, as originally planned, it was unlikely that anyone without strong opinions on the questions would return the survey, therefore slanting the data.

Several members of the design team mentioned earlier were contacted for input into the questions, and several Gallup and other national polling questions were used as guidelines. 15 opinion questions were created from those sources. In addition, two questions were asked about how familiar mosexual persons, and 9 demographic questions were asked. This information could be cross-referenced with the opinion questions to help determine how respondents developed the opinions they have.

From March 24th to 26th, 1997, 400 residents of Dane County were randomly selected and called by Chamberlain Research Consultants. Isthmus newspaper lent its name to the effort, in order to make respondents feel at ease about who was collecting this information. Result totals and a broad analysis are in the appropriate section below. For full cross-tabulated analysis, refer to the separate document from Chamberlain Research Consultants.
Geographic Location
Compared to the general population, the highest concentration of gay, lesbian, and bisexual men and women in the city of Madison is in the Wil-Mar neighborhood (between Blair St and the Division St, southeast of E Washington Ave).

Other higher-than-average concentrations of gay and bisexual men are in the Tenney-Lapham neighborhoods (between Blair St and Fordem Ave, northwest of E Washington Ave), the Bay Creek neighborhood (between Wingra Creek and Monona Bay), the capitol neighborhood (between Broom St and Blair St on the isthmus), and in Maple Bluff.

Other higher-than-average concentrations of lesbian and bisexual women are in the Shenks-Atwood neighborhood (between Division St and Starkweather Creek, north of Lake Monona and south of Commercial Ave). Women seem to be located in more diverse areas than men, as a whole.

88% of respondents live within the city of Madison, while 10% live in the neighboring communities and the other 2% live in rural areas or further communities.


Below are findings that hold a particular interest to the community, or where differences exist between men and women (or other sub-groupings of respondents), or where the answers are significantly different than the general population.

Current Household or Family

63% of female respondents have a same-sex partner, and 76% of those women live together. 40% of male respondents have a same-sex partner, and 69% of those men live together.

12% of respondents have children (average of 2 each), and 7% live with theirs. 6% of the children are adults, and 50% of those with minor children have full custody. 17% of women have children, while only 11% of men do.

More women live in single-family homes (51% vs. 41% of men), but men have lived in their homes longer (average 4.5 years vs. 3.5 years). 23% of all respondents have lived in their current homes less than 6 months, and 48% have lived there less than 2 years. 59% of Northstar Survey respondents had moved in the previous 2 years (Minneapolis).

27% of all respondents live alone (32% of men and 22% of women), and pet lovers choose cats over dogs two-to-one (women have more pets : 29% have cats, 17% have dogs - than men: 20% have cats, 6% have dogs).

Upbringing and Past Family Life

Only 13% of respondents were born in Dane County (almost all in Madison), and nearly half (49%) were born outside of Wisconsin. 20% of those born outside WI, but in the US, are from Illinois. The rest are from the other neighboring states (IN, MI, IA, and MN) or the east cost, especially NY. Very few are from the west coast.

37% of respondents were raised Catholic and 48% raised Protestant (or another non-Catholic Christian denomination). 5% were raised Jewish and 8% were raised with no religion.
_ Of those raised Catholic, 29% still consider themselves Catholic, while 34% are now Agnostic or Atheist.
_ Of those raised Protestant, 38% still consider themselves such, while 31% are now Agnostic or Atheist.
_ Of those raised Jewish, 60% still consider themselves such, while 20% are now Agnostic or Atheist.
_ Of those raised with no religion, 75% still practice no religion.

49% of respondents were raised in a politically Democratic household, while 32% were raised in Republican homes, 4% in Independent homes, and 10% do not know their parents' political leanings.
_ Of those raised Democratic, 89% consider themselves such, 4% are Republican, and 2% Independent.
_ Of those raised Republican, 9% are Republicans, 75% Democrats, 3% New Progressive, and 5% Independent.
_ Of those raised Independent, 40% consider themselves such, while 50% are Democrats.
_ Of those who were unsure of their parents' politics, 15% are not sure of their own politics, while 59% are Democrats, 4% are Libertarian, 3% are Republicans, and 10% are Independent.

77% of respondents were raised by two biological or adoptive parents, while 15% were raised by only their mother. Less than 4% were raised by anyone else (with less than 1% being raised by a father alone).

Personal Health

15% of respondents report suffering from a disability or chronic illness. Disabilities or illnesses in this survey range from allergies and high blood pressure, to AIDS, severe mental illness, and quadriplegic condition. Of those respondents with disabilities or chronic illnesses:
_ 16% suffer from HIV or AIDS (this represents 2.4% of all respondents, vs. .0068% of the Wis. population)
_12% have asthma or allergies
_ 9% suffer from depression
_ 7% have diabetes
_ 4% are deaf or hearing impaired
_ 4% have arthritis

56% of all respondents have been in individual therapy for mental health. However, 71% of women have seen a therapist, while only 42% of men have. And 23% of women have gone to couples therapy, while only 4% of men have. 48% of men have never been treated for any mental health concerns, while only 21% of women have not.

83% of respondents have not been treated for any alcohol or other drug abuse (and 5% did not respond). However, 87% of men have not been treated for alcohol/drug abuse, while only 79% of women have not. Twice as many of the respondents treated for substance abuse use self-help groups for treatment, than use individual therapy.

More women smoke cigarettes now than men (23% vs. 20%), and, more women smoked in the past (27% vs. 16%).

Women do better with alcohol though. Only 2% have never had alcohol (compared to 4% of men), but twice as many women have stopped drinking (12% vs 6%), and 67% drink rarely or occasionally (compared to 64% of men). Also, only 15% of women drink regularly (compared to 22% of men), and when women drink, only 15% ever drink to excess, in contrast to the 22% of men who do.

The rate of abuse experience is high for everyone (59% of all respondents have suffered some form of abuse in their life). However, 72% of women have been abused, and 48% of men have.
_ 40% of women have been emotionally or verbally abused, compared to 29% of men
_ 28% of women have been sexually abused, compared to 12% of men
_ 21% of women have been physically abused, compared to 15% of men
_ 8% of women have been raped by someone they knew, compared to 2% of men
_ 6% of women have had incest committed against them, compared to <1% of men
_ 2% of women have been raped by a stranger, compared to <1% of men

14% of all respondents have considered suicide, and 2% have attempted suicide, solely because of their sexual orientation. However, the male respondents have had suicidal thoughts because of their orientation more often than women.
_ 21% of men have considered suicide because of their sexual orientation, compared to 7% of women
_ 37% of women have considered suicide for other reasons, compared to 27% of men
_ 3% of men have attempted suicide because of their sexual orientation, compared to 2% of women
_ 12% of women have attempted suicide for other reasons, compared to 3% of men

Religion and Politics

Of all respondents who list their religion, 33% are Agnostic or Atheist, and 32% are Christian. The biggest differences between men and women are in Protestants (29% of men vs. 13% of women), Jews (7% of women vs. 1% of men), and New Agers (10% of women vs. 5% of men).

Of people who attend religious services or meetings, the average frequency of that attendance is nearly 27 times per year, or 2.25 times per month. Those who consider themselves to be Buddhist have the highest frequency (average 52 times per year). Of the other religions (excluding Agnostics and Atheists), those who consider themselves Jewish attend services with the least frequency (average 11 times per year). On average, women attend services less frequently than men (21 times per year vs. 32 times per year).

45% of respondents voted in the last local elections. 65% say they vote regularly, and only 6% say they have never voted, with no significant difference between men and women. However, 51% of Democrats voted in the last local election, while only 18% of the Republicans did.

Politically, 77% of respondents consider themselves Democrats, while only 5% count themselves as Republicans, and 6% Independent. That split is even wider for women - 82% Democrat vs. 1% Republican (compared to men with 72% vs. 7%). Similarly, 71% of all respondents call themselves "liberal" or "very liberal", while only 2% call themselves any degree of "conservative" and that gap is wider among women.


Although only 55% of respondents are currently in any type of life partnership, 82% have had a partner in the past. 36% have had partners of the opposite sex in the past, although that rate is significantly higher in women (47% vs. 25%). Of the current partnerships, 63% of women are in a same-sex relationship, compared to only 40% of men, and 4% of both men and women are in a current opposite-sex relationship. But 38% of bisexual respondents are in a same-sex relationship, compared to 24% of which are in an opposite-sex relationship.

Only 9% of respondents are registered Domestic Partners in Madison (12% of women and 6% of men). Another 2% are currently legally married, while 13% are divorced, separated, or widowed. 3% of the men are currently married (compared to 1% of women), while 17% of the women were married, but are no longer (compared to 14% of men).

Of the current same-sex relationships, those of men have been longer (average 5.4 years vs. 5.1 years). But looking at the longest of all past relationships, women are longer (5.8 years vs. 4.9 years). Of those who have had opposite-sex relationships, men have been in longer ones than women (11.2 years vs. 4.5 years currently, and 5.8 years vs. 4.5 years in the past). The longest same-sex relationship is 36 years, and the longest opposite-sex relationship is 42 years.

Sexual Orientation or Identity

Interestingly, although men and women tended to "come out," however they defined it, at about the same ages, gay and bisexual men were both aware of their attraction to members of the same sex, and acted upon that attraction sexually, at a significantly earlier age.

Age they were first attracted to their own sex (in years):
Men: under 13 = 66%
13-18 = 20%
18-25 = 7%
over 25 = 3%
oldest = 68
average 12

Women: under 13 = 13%
13-18 = 32%
18-25 = 23%
over 25 = 12%
oldest = 58
average 17

Age they had their first same-sex sexual experience:
Men: under 13 = 23%
13-18 = 32%
18-25 = 29%
over 25 = 12%
oldest = 68
average 18
under 13 = 7%
13-18 = 25%
18-25 = 45%
over 25 = 16%
oldest = 58
average 21

Earliest age they began coming out:
under 13 = 4%
13-18 = 25%
18-25 = 41%
over 25 = 24%
oldest = 68
average 22

Women are slightly more comfortable being lesbian or bisexual, than men are being gay or bisexual. 86% of all respondents consider themselves "comfortable," or "very comfortable." However, 61% of women say they are "very comfortable," compared to 49% of men. And, 50% of women say that being open about their sexual orientation is "very important" to them, in contrast to the 35% of men who feel the same. 88% of all respondents feel that being open about their orientation is at least somewhat important to them.

Women openly discuss their sexual orientation/identity with more people in their lives across the board. While both men and women share the same types of relationships they are open with (more so with close family, friends, and therapists; less likely with other relatives, neighbors, bosses, and, surprisingly, doctors), women tend to be open to a greater degree overall. There is an average 10% difference in the numbers of relationships women have in which this information is known. Also, men and women are consistently more open with their mothers (50% of women and 37% of men) than they are with their fathers (29% of women and 20% of men).

More men say they do not ever display their orientation in public than women (24% vs. 9%), and more women are openly affectionate with their partners in public than men (56% vs. 31%). However, men and women who display their orientation, do so in ways equal ways: bumper stickers (16%), house flags (3%), and pride parade participation (41%).

Women are less likely to visit a gay or lesbian bar (38% say never or rarely, vs. 18% for men). And, those that do go, do so less frequently (2.3 times per month on average, vs. 4.6 times for men). In addition, the men who attend gay and lesbian events, do so more frequently (18 times per year, compared to 15 times for women). But, fewer women say they never or rarely go to these events (8% compared to 16% of men). [Note: surveys were collected before fire permanently destroyed Madison's main gay bar complex - the Hotel Washington.]
When referring to their community, both men and women prefer the entire expression "gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender," as opposed to eliminating one or more of those groups. However, slightly more women were in favor of eliminating trasngender or bisexual, and more men were in favor of eliminating all but "gay." Fewer than 10% of both men and women prefer the term "queer," and less than 4% prefer "homosexual."

When referring to one's partner, both women and men agree on the terms "partner," or "life partner." The earlier expressions "lover" and "significant other" together represented only 17% of all respondents' preferences.

Human Rights

When it comes to gay bashing and discrimination, men appear to be more directly assaulted, while women receive more discrimination. Men suffer more emotional, physical, and verbal abuse or threats (from 3-7% more than women) and the same number of sexual attacks as women (1% for both). However, women face more discrimination and non-violent rejection than men do in almost every category, especially with friends and coworkers, where 10-12% more women than men experience rejection or discrimination.

The only area where men have faced more discrimination than women is from classmates or teachers in school (possibly because of the earlier age at which men discover and act upon their sexual orientation). But, women are more open about their orientation in general, which may make them more vulnerable to discrimination in other categories.

It is important to note also that in a state where discrimination based on sexual orientation at the workplace is illegal, respondents still report that more than 7% (of both men and women) have lost jobs, or have been denied employment or promotions, because of their sexual orientation.

95% of all respondents had an opinion about the 6 gay/lesbian-related legislative initiatives being considered statewide, or nationally. 90% of all respondents felt all of those initiatives were somewhat or very important. However, there was disagreement between men and women over which initiatives are more important. Women ranked couples' and individuals' rights to adoption and child custody as the two most important issues (both 80%). Men ranked a national lesbian/gay rights bill (71%) and statewide domestic partnership legislation (62%) as the two most important. Both sexes agree that the remaining two initiatives are the least important (although still very important to more than 50%). Interestingly, those are the two most controversial and political issues facing the nation: ending military discrimination, and legalizing same-sex marriage.

Madison's Community

As might be expected, men are more familiar with, and involved in, Frontiers and the Gay Fathers Group, than are women. 17% of men have used Frontiers' services, 5% have donated money to them, 3% have donated time, and 12% count themselves as members. 3% of men have used the services of the Gay Fathers Group, and 2% count themselves as members. On the other hand, women are more familiar with, and involved in, the Lesbian Parents Network. 8% have used their services, 5% have donated money to them, 3% have donated time, and 3% consider themselves members.

Of the groups with no specific gender focus, the differences are not great. Slightly more (+3%) women than men have used the services of, and donated money to Galvanize. Slightly more (+4%) men than women have used the services of, and donated money and time to MASN. And, slightly more (+3%) women than men have used the services of, and donated money and time to The United. Otherwise, there are no significant gender differences.

_ The top 5 organizations respondents are familiar with are (in order): The Ten Percent Society, MASN, The United, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and the Madison Gay/Lesbian Resource Center.
_ The top 5 most used services come from (in order): The Ten Percent Society, The United, the Madison Gay/Lesbian Resource Center, Galvanize, and the LGB Campus Center.
_ The top 5 groups with the most time volunteered to them are (in order): MASN, The United, Galvanize, The Ten Percent Society, and the Madison Gay/Lesbian Resource Center.
_ The top 5 groups with the largest number of donors giving money to them are (in order): MASN, The United, New Harvest Foundation, the Madison Gay/Lesbian Resource Center, and Galvanize.

When asked to rate existing and potential services for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities, respondents indicated how important the service is to them personally, and how well that service is currently provided. By comparing the services receiving a high score of "very important" with the services ranked "not well provided" or "not at all provided," an order was determined for where the most attention should be paid. Following are all 23 services, ranked most important and least well provided, to least important and most well provided. In parentheses are the rankings of a similar question in the Northstar (Minneapolis) survey (where applicable).

1. Newspaper, Magazine, TV, Radio Media
2. Art, Film, Theater, Music, Dance, Comedy
3. Bookstores
4. Coffee Shops or Restaurants
5. Bars, Nightclubs
6. Pride or Community-building Activities
7. Outreach or Education to Heterosexuals
8. Community Center or Space
9. Leadership or Spokesperson(s)
10. Political Organizing
11. Chemically-free Social Space
12. Helplines
13. Support Services for People in Need
14. Emotional Support and Support Groups
15. AIDS and HIV Services
16. Sports, Exercise, or Outdoor Groups
17. Business and Professional Associations
18. Physically Accessible Space or Events
19. Financially Accessible Space or Events
20. Religious Organization
21. Dating Services
22. Transgender Services or Support
23. Bisexual Services

For alternative-media information, 87% of both men and women read Isthmus newspaper regularly. Aside from that, women read Wisconsin Light (55%), Feminist Voices (54%) and In-Step (24%), and listen to "Her Turn" (25%) and "Sunday Night Out" (19%). Men read Wisconsin Light (63%), In-Step (62%), and Quest (15%), and listen to "Sunday Night Out" (13%). 10% of both men and women listen to "This Way Out." Also frequently mentioned, but not on the survey, were "Her Infinite Variety" radio show, "Dyke TV" cable show, and The Onion newspaper.

For UW-Madison lesbian/gay-friendly policies, 77% of women, and 65% of men, believe insurance benefits should be offered for domestic partners. 45% of both men and women believe there should be a lesbian, gay, & bisexual studies program on campus. 58% of students feel there should be a lesbian, gay, & bisexual studies program, compared with 45% of academic employees, and 58% of educational employees. 86% of academic employees, and 89% of educational employees, feel there should be insurance benefits offered to domestic partners at UW-Madison.

When donating money to lesbian and gay causes, slightly more is given by both men and women to local organizations over national ones. 56% of all respondents donate between $10 and $100 annually to local groups, and 50% donate the same amounts to national groups. Men give amounts totaling more than $100, more than women do, both locally (22% vs. 14%) and nationally (12% vs. 8%). And, although 19% of both men and women give no money locally, more women do not donate money nationally (35%) when compared to men (30%).

Generally, men and women agree that Madison is a great place to live (59%) for most of its citizens. 34% feel it is an OK place to live, but could be better. However, when considering how Madison is for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, men and women disagree. Women feel it is the same as for the general population (58% great, 35% just OK), whereas men feel nearly the opposite (38% great, and 55% just OK). Less than 2% of either sex feel Madison is in need of much improvement for anyone.

Men's and women's plans to stay in Madison are identical: 22% plan to stay for the rest of their lives, 44% plan to stay at least 5 more years, and 20% plan to leave within 5 years.

Lastly, slightly more men had comments to share than women (27% vs. 22%).

V. COMPLETE SURVEY DATA - 660 Respondents

[This section is omitted for technical reasons.]


Survey Participants' Specific Comments on the Survey

Of those who commented at the end about the survey itself, the most criticisms were made regarding the survey being too long, and a few mentioned it was gender biased, or not inclusive of religious organizations (4 respondents each). However, 41% of the 82 comments below are simply positive comments ("great survey" or "thank you").

Be careful with interpretation - sample is not representative of closeted people
Be sure to share results!
Excellent job on survey - other than long, which is understandable - make accessible - thanks!
Excellent survey, but a bit upside down
Forgot to mention KGP (lesbian variety show) and Lavendar
Good job with the survey - hope you plan to distribute results widely
Good luck!
Good questions for most part - problems with 3, 8, 67.
Good survey
Great job - thank you for your work!
Great survey! - acceptance of bi's a problem/ need question about donated time to organizations
Great survey! - designed well. Need for sensitivity for Bisexuals in Madison. It's not a bad word
Great survey! - I'm interested in seeing the results to each question.
Great survey! - hope results are shared with community
Hope results will be published - I'm interested - thanks!
I hope the info I gave was helpful!
I hope your distribution gets this survey outside Madison as well!
I tend to write in the margins a lot in surveys - humor me -thanks
I'm exhausted!
I'm so glad you're doing this survey - this is great - thanks!!
Importance of political issues should be distinguished between personal importance and community importance
Include religious groups - include comments on bar preferences - include schools other than UW
Its a good survey - I hope it will be useful
Like survey very much!
List of organizations didn't include religious organizations, which fill a spiritual void in community
List of organizations didn't include religious organizations, which have been here over 18 years
Many small groups ignored by survey (provides list) - I get much support from them
Marital Status is heterosexist terminology - friendships/lesbian family should count
More emphasis needed on people not affiliated with the University!!
Need room-of-one's own as drop off - gay men bias - breast cancer left out - why borders?
On employment type: need to add "clerical"
On list of community organizations: MASN is more than a glb organization
On list of community organizations: why not apple island? why not room-of-one's own drop-off site? publish results
On mental health care: needs to be broken down more - current counseling is diff then past counseling
On Madison's services: questions are important, although I am unfamiliar with most specialized groups
Pleased that this survey seems very thorough - should help straights understand our issues
Questions need more options as to levels, eg. very well, pretty well, ok, etc...
Some folks are trisexual, multisexual and/or pansexual
Sorry this is late
Stop being so politically correct
Survey biased in favor of monogamy - need partner(s) for future versions
Survey great idea - it's not perfect but it's very good
Survey is a bit too long
Survey is a wonderful thing - hope it goes well!
Survey is gay male biased
Survey is gay (men) biased - need room-of-one's own as choice - interested in results
Survey is gay (men) biased - need room-of-one's own as choice - need mention of breast cancer
Survey is much too long
Survey lacks input from gay or gay-friendly religious organizations
Survey too long!
Survey too long!
Survey too long to fill out at TPS dance
Survey well prepared - thanks!
Terrific survey
Thank you!
Thank you for conducting such a fine, comprehensive survey - good luck with your tally
Thank you for making this accessible in braille!
Thank you for survey
Thank you for your interest
Thanks and good luck - where will results be at?
Thanks for asking!
Thanks for putting this together!
Thanks for survey - Madison needs an umbrella organization to coordinate activities and do calendar
Thanks for the survey!
Thanks for the survey! - would like to see the results made public
Thanks for your work on our behalf!
There were no questions related to women's issues and needs
Think that transgenders and bisexuals are somewhat inappropriate to include - thank you!
This is a wonderful idea - thanks for doing it!
Time to complete: 40 minutes
Too many comments to paraphrase
Wants to see results published - a long survey, but very important!
Well planned survey
Why wasn't this survey mailed out or e-mailed?
Why weren't religious organizations listed? - hope omission was a simple oversight
Worried that you aren't getting enough responses from women and minorities
Would be great to know more info about community, its size and comprehensive profile
Would like to see results

Developers' Suggestions for Improvement
Design the survey to be easily entered into a scanning device for tabulation, rather than relying on human data entry.
Include more local organizations in questions about awareness and involvement.
Include more representation by religious organizations.
Use A Room of One's Own Bookstore as a pick-up and drop-off site.
Ask a question about how respondents became gay or lesbian (nature vs. nurture vs. choice).


[Also omitted for technical reasons.]

Madison Survey Analysis

Looking at the average for all respondents in all questions, 53% strongly support gay and lesbian rights and acceptance, and another 20% agree with that support somewhat. All individual questions had more than 50% of respondents agreeing with the more tolerant position.

On average, 80% or more of those polled felt that homosexuals should be legally protected from discrimination, should be able to retain custody of their children, and that homosexual sex should not be illegal. On the other hand, less than 60% felt that lesbian or gay couples should be able to legally marry, or adopt children. And, more than 25% feel that homosexuality is immoral, and being openly gay should be discouraged. The immorality question garnered the largest "don't know" response of any question, with more than 12% answering that way.

When looking at the average responses of a few of the different demographic groups, some significant differences are brought to light

Age - looking at the "strongly agree" or "strongly disagree" responses, when those answers support the equal rights and acceptance of gay and lesbian people, following are the averages by age:

18-24 years old: 4%
25-34 years old: 59%
35-44 years old: 55%
45-54 years old: 52%
55-64 years old: 40%
65 years old and older: 37%

There were three questions where this pattern did not remain constant. 52% of those over 65 were in favor of allowing gay and lesbian people to adopt children, compared to only 38% of those age 55-64. 61% of those between the ages of 25 and 44 are strongly in favor of allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, compared to only 56% of those age 18-25. And, more than 80% of those between the ages of 35 and 54 would patronize a business owned by homosexuals, compared to only 74% of the younger respondents.

Gender - looking at the "strongly agree" or "strongly disagree" responses, when those answers support the equal rights and acceptance of gay and lesbian people, following are the averages by gender:

Men: 50.5%
Women: 55.1%

The largest differences came when respondents were asked if gays and lesbians should be allowed to teach children, or serve openly in the military. Women strongly supported those rights by more than 60%, compared to 50% of men. The only question where men were more supportive than women was when asked about access to family health insurance plans. Men strongly support gay and lesbian family access to those plans by 54%, compared to 49% of women.

Area - looking at the "strongly agree" or "strongly disagree" responses, when those answers support the equal rights and acceptance of gay and lesbian people, following are the averages by geographic area:

East Madison: 47.2%
West Madison: 61.6%
Isthmus: 60.6%
East Dane County: 43.2%
West Dane County: 43.8%

There was a significant difference in responses between the east side of Madison and the west side. 14% more of the west side population is strongly supportive of gay and lesbian rights as is the east side, where more gay and lesbian people actually live. That same size difference exists between residents of Madison and residents of Dane County, outside of Madison.

The greatest difference between east and west Madison is in the question of immorality. Over 58% of west Madisonians strongly disagree that homosexuality is immoral, and only 35% of east Madisonians strongly disagree with that statement. On average, west Madisonians and those living on the Isthmus agree on most issues. However, on the issue of encouraging people to be openly gay or lesbian, 46% of west Madisonians strongly support that, while 56% of those on the Isthmus support it.

In general, those outside of Madison agree on most issues, whether they are from western Dane County, or eastern Dane County. One area there is significant disagreement on is tolerance. 44% of eastern residents strongly agree that they are fully tolerant of gay and lesbian people, compared to 32% of western residents. However, 29% of easterners strongly disagree that homosexuality is immoral, while 35% of westerners do.

Homosexual Acquaintances/Friends/Family - looking at the "strongly agree" or "strongly disagree" responses, when those answers support the equal rights and acceptance of gay and lesbian people, following are the averages by how many homosexual people respondents have been acquainted with, or are currently related to or friends with:

None that I know of: 31.9%
One: 32.9%
Twofive: 39.3%
More than five: 68.2%

Current Friends or Relatives
None that I know of: 32.5%
One: 37.7%
Twofive: 60.7%
More than five: 83.4%

Clearly there is greater support for gay and lesbian people and issues among individuals who have met or know other gay and lesbian people. The highest level of support from all of the sub-categories comes from individuals who have five or more current friends or relatives who are gay or lesbian.

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