Counting Us In: The Williams Institute

This week the Williams Institute – an LGBT think tank located at UCLA’s law school — celebrated its 10th anniversary and released a brilliant public relations piece subtitled, “We thought we’d celebrate by sharing 10 things that over a decade of our research has shown about LGBT people and issues.”

Not all of the data they cite is particularly helpful or noncontroversial – the statement that the rate of hate crimes against LGBT people is no higher than that against other protected minorities stuck out for me in part because a Southern Poverty Law Center analysis said the opposite (that given the proportion of the population we make up, we’re actually the most likely group to suffer hate crimes) – but some definitely is.  It’s the Williams Institute that gave us such data as 1 in 4 LGBT people are people of color, and same-sex couples were identified in 99% of U.S. counties during the 2000 Census.  It’s also the Williams Institute that calculated Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell cost taxpayers $500 million, and that found that counter to stereotypes, LGBT people are not more affluent than our non-LGBT counterparts.

Lately the Williams Institute has issued a series of state-specific analyses, so if you need data on LGBT people for your public education efforts or funding proposals, make sure you check them out at http://www2.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute/home.html

(Full disclosure:  my organization FORGE recently partnered with Williams Institute in a research proposal to the National Institute of Justice.)

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