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LGBT Research in Scotland
Mapping LGBT Scotland
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introduction to first out 

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survey distribution and recruitment
about the report

There is little significant evidence about the needs, concerns and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Scotland. The majority of mainstream research fails to ask respondents about their sexual identity and so the information provided by LGBT people is often unavailable and inaccessible. In recent years, several organisations (both LGBT and mainstream) have undertaken research into various aspects of LGBT lives and experiences. These studies have yielded interesting, challenging and thought-provoking results but have been on a relatively small scale and confined mainly to the Central Belt in Scotland.

In view of this, Beyond Barriers (UK) aimed to develop and conduct a wider scale research study exploring the personal and community needs of LGBT people across Scotland. Given the lack of basic information about LGBT people, it was decided that we should use a self-completion survey questionnaire, gathering quantitative and qualitative data in a range of key areas.

FMR Research Ltd was appointed by Beyond Barriers (UK) in May 2002 to assist with the conduct, analysis and reporting of the survey.

The initial survey questionnaire was designed by Beyond Barriers (UK) and piloted at an event in Aberdeen. Following feedback from participants, the survey was refined and officially launched in its final form at the Pride Scotland festival in Glasgow in June 2002.

first out is the report of the findings of the survey.

survey distribution and recruitment

The absence of baseline information on which a sample can be based and also the influence of other external factors (such as levels of outness and LGBT community involvement) presented major challenges when accessing a representative sample for this research. Given those problems, we recognise that a self-selecting sample can over-represent those who are involved in certain aspects of LGBT life (e.g. involvement in LGBT organisations) or who have experienced problems in a certain area.

Although the sample was entirely self-selecting, serious attempts were made to make contact with as diverse a range of LGBT people as possible.

The paper-based survey was distributed to all LGBT organisations in Scotland and venues on the commercial gay scene in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The survey was also distributed at events in Glasgow (as part of the Glasgay! Festival) and Edinburgh (during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe).

Beyond Barriers (UK) held a number of events across Scotland to publicise the survey and encourage LGBT people to share their experiences. These events were held in Kirkcaldy, Wigtown, Aberdeen, Dumfries, Inverness and Oban and attracted varying numbers of people.

In addition to this, the online version of the survey was publicised through a variety of sources. With assistance from LGBT and mainstream organisation, we were able to reach a large number of people through email networks and organisation websites. Q Soft (owners of the Gaydar website) hosted a web banner linking to the online questionnaire in all its Scottish members personal profiles. The web banner was included during August and October and a significant number of online responses were received during that time.

We also contacted every Scottish university to request their assistance in publicising and distributing the questionnaire to staff and students, and positive responses were received from Edinburgh University, Glasgow Caledonian University and Napier University.

Information about the research was distributed to Scottish trades unions, the majority of which publicised and distributed copies of the survey to their membership.

Over 5000 paper based survey questionnaires were distributed


The study incorporated a number of different approaches, as follows:

paper-based questionnaire
The questionnaire was designed by Beyond Barriers (UK) , and was piloted prior to the questionnaire being further refined. The questionnaire was then issued to LGBT people via a variety of means. This included events in rural areas across Scotland, the Pride Scotland festival in June, the network of LGBT organisations known to Beyond Barriers (UK) , universities and colleges, trades unions, etc.

Approximately 5000 questionnaires were distributed and a total of 545 were returned.

online survey
The paper-based survey was supplemented by an online survey. FMR hosted this on their website and people were directed to participate in this through direct email with a weblink, through the Beyond Barriers (UK) website and through weblinks on other relevant websites. A total of 379 responses were received online, giving a total of 924 responses.

online focus group
A wealth of data was gathered from the quantitative surveys, particularly as so many open-ended questions were provided to allow people to comment. However, it was felt that it may be desirable to conduct more qualitative research on specific issues raised in the survey. An online focus group was therefore held on 4th December 2002 on the issue of physical violence. Twelve people who had expressed an interest in participating in an online focus group and who had experienced physical violence in the previous year were invited to participate. It was disappointing that only one person actually participated in the discussion on the night, and another sent additional comment at a later date.

about the report

The key findings in this report are divided into seven main sections, following the flow of the questionnaire.



article:Workplace Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, And Transgendered PersonsClick for an opportunity to take part in this research.

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