Survey Results

Disclaimer: These surveys and results about discrimination and Coming Out are the research of David E. Moore. He self funded this study, and conducted the surveys via email. No governmental agency, political party, nor academic institutions were involved in the development of this survey, nor in tabulating the results. For questions regarding citation of this report, please contact David Moore at or at

Needs Assessment Survey

Discrimination Survey

Coming Out Survey



Certain classes of people are protected from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations in Pennsylvania. Under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, people cannot be discriminated against because of “race, color, religious creed, ancestry, age or national origin, handicap or disability, use of guide or support animals because of the blindness, deafness or physical handicap of the user or because the user is a handler or trainer of support or guide animals is a matter of concern of the Commonwealth.”[1] The law does not expressly cover people based on sexual or gender identity, expression, or orientation. The law known as the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act of 1955 as amended in 1997, prohibits discrimination for employment, housing, and public accommodations, while federal and Pennsylvania education law covers discrimination at school.


This study serves as a guide to determine where discrimination is happening in Pennsylvania. As such, we define “discrimination” as any form of intimidation, bullying, segregation, harassment, or denial of service. In terms of employment, we also consider discrimination to consist of refusal to hire, discharge from employment, or harassment during the course of one’s employment, such that said discrimination occurs or has occurred on the basis of one’s sexual or gender identity, expression, or orientation. The survey also considers discrimination, bullying, and hazing that happens during the course of one’s education. As such, we consider Pennsylvania education law which says the following: [2]

“Bullying” shall mean an intentional electronic, written, verbal or physical act, or a series of acts:

    (1)   directed at another student or students;

    (2)   which occurs in a school setting;

    (3)   that is severe, persistent or pervasive; and

    (4)   that has the effect of doing any of the following:

        (i)   substantially interfering with a student’s education;

        (ii)  creating a threatening environment; or

        (iii) substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school; and

“school setting” shall mean in the school, on school grounds, in school vehicles, at a designated bus stop or at any activity sponsored, supervised or sanctioned by the school.

24 P.S. § 13-1303.1-A (2008)


Responses to the survey are confidential, and throughout this report, we share anecdotal evidence based on the respondent’s entry number without divulging any of the respondent’s personal information beyond the county of residence, sexual orientation, gender identity, race (for demographic purposes), and age range.


We have discovered that Pennsylvania’s statistics are comparable to other surveys conducted nationally regarding discrimination. We further find that most discrimination occurs at school (for people under 18 through 29), and at places of employment for people between the ages of 18 and 39. We will continue to conduct this survey in future years to compare results over time. We anticipate releasing similar reports every mid-September for at least the next five years.


Methodology & Limitations




The Pennsylvania Equality Project conducted an online survey between June 14, 2019 and August 31, 2019. The survey was open to all Pennsylvania residents at least 13 years of age.The survey consisted of a series of questions related to demographic information, followed by a series of questions to determine where discrimination is actively happening in Pennsylvania. Survey respondents were asked to answer whether they faced discrimination at school, work, public accommodations, within a medical setting, within a governmental setting, or at some other location. Respondents were asked to provide details about all affirmative answers.




1. Some of the survey responses included affirmative responses to questions; however, the anecdotal information was either not provided or lacking in details about specific occurrences of discrimination. 

2. The survey ran for over two months. Typically survey respondents have considerably less time to submit responses to surveys. According to SurveyMonkey, surveys with between 50 and 500 responses receive 80% of all responses within the first 7 days of the survey release. [3] 

3. Pennsylvania Equality Project, Inc. spent $100 in advertising to promote the survey. Of that money, $50 was spent in June, while $25 each was apportioned for July and August.

4. Some respondents reported no discrimination at all. Of 150 responses, 121 reported some form of discrimination, while 29 reported none.


Confidence Interval and Margin of Error

Given the 121 responses reporting discrimination, the confidence interval for this survey was 95% with a margin of error of +/- 6.0%.


For further details, please download our entire Discrimination report (see above) available in Microsoft Word or PDF format. — David E. Moore




1. Giampolo Law Firm, Search September 21, 2019

2., Search September 21, 2019

3., Search September 21, 2019

4. Sandy E. James, Jody L. Herman, Susan Rankin, Mara Keisling, Lisa Mottet, and Ma’ayan Anafi, The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (National Center for Transgender Equality, 2016): p. 155.

5. Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Corporate Equality Index 2019: Rating Workplaces on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Equality(2019): p. 7

6., Search October 20, 2019

7., Search, October 20, 2019

8. Pennsylvania Humans Relation Commission website, Search October 20, 2019

9. American Medical Association website, Search October 21, 2019


The default sexual orientation for humans is heterosexual; the default genders or cisgenders are male and female. According to the Williams Institute, only 3.8% of the population of the United States fall outside these categories.1 However, according to a Gallup poll conducted in 2018, the number varies based on how “gay” is defined. If “gay” means “same-sex attraction, or behavior” the number is closer to 10% of the population. The process of verbally expressing same-sex sexual attraction and behavior or expressing that a person’s gender identity does not match that which was assigned at birth is called “coming out.” Because coming out is such an intimate process, people tend to come out to close friends and family members first before approaching people with whom we have frequent contact such as classmates and teachers, co-workers and bosses, and members of our faith community.

Keywords:  coming out, gender identity, sexual orientation

Coming Out Survey

Human beings are social creatures. We want the love and acceptance of our family, friends, and peers; we fear their scorn and rejection. When people come out to themselves, they may feel fear, anxiety, and frustration. They feel the pain that comes from the belief that their all alone; that no one will understand or accept them for who they are. They seek people whom they believe will be supportive and accepting of their sexual orientation or gender identity that is somehow different from societal norms.

Some people find that their families and close friends are very accepting. Others find themselves isolated, kicked out of their homes, and faced with difficult choices. Each person’s coming out story is different, but they have common themes or experiences that most people within the LGBTQ+ community recognize. This survey is intended to identify the people to whom most LGBTQ+ people came out, whether family members approve, how difficult the coming out process is, and whether individuals are out at their school, work, and faith community. Furthermore, we seek to raise awareness about coming out, and to offer suggestions based on our evidence to people who seek to come out.




The Pennsylvania Equality Project conducted an online survey of people aged 13 and above between October 1 and November 30, 2019. The survey consisted of a series of contact information and demographics questions regarding age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and race. Survey respondents were asked to whom they had already come out, if anyone. Next, they were asked how comfortable they were coming out to a trusted adult. The next three questions asked whether the respondent’s family was accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, whether coming out was easier or more difficult than expected, and whether the respondent wanted assistance coming out. The final three questions asked about whether the respondent was out at school, within their faith community, and at work. One optional question at the conclusion of the survey directed respondents to tell their coming out story.


  1. The survey ran for over two months. Typically survey respondents have considerably less time to submit responses to surveys. According to SurveyMonkey, surveys with between 50 and 500 responses receive 80% of all responses within the first 7 days of the survey release.2
  2. Not all survey respondents told their coming out story. Of the 159 responses to the survey, only 42 respondents told their coming out story.
  3. The definition of “coming out” is slightly different depending on the respondent. For some people, coming out to close friends and parents, but no one else, counted as being out. A few people reported that they are out to close friends but did not want to come out to anyone else at this time. They too also viewed themselves as being out. A few people admitted to being out to close friends and siblings but defined themselves as not being out.
  4. The Pennsylvania Equality Project spent $50, or $25 per month, from an anonymous donor to promote this survey via Facebook.
  5. Some of the subcategory groups of respondents are too small to make statistically reliable determinations.


Confidence Interval and Margin of Error

Given the 159 respondents all of whom are from Pennsylvania, the confidence interval for this survey was 95% with a margin of error of +/- 4.66%



As of November 30, 2019, a total of 160 people responded to the survey, however, one response was from someone who admitted to being heterosexual and cisgender, which was not a group included in the parameters of the survey. Responses came from 45 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Responses were categorized based on age, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Although the survey asked a question related to race, 140 of the 159 responses came from people whose race is white or Caucasian only. The total breakout for all races is shown here, however, the survey questions are not parsed based on race (Tables 1A & 1B).

Table 1A: Responses by Race
African-American 1
Asian-American 1
Latinx 5
Other 12
White/Caucasian 140
Total 159


 Table 1B: Other Race Breakdown
Biracial 1
Middle East Mix 1
White and African American 1
White/African American/Native American 1
White and Ashkenazi Jewish 1
White and Native American 2
White, Black, Native American 1
White and Jewish 1
White and Hispanic 1
White and Latinx 2
Total 12


The largest group of respondents by age (76 people) were between the ages of 18 and 29. Of the 159 respondents, one-third were non-cisgender (53 people). Furthermore, people whose sexual identity is gay, bisexual, or pansexual made up the vast majority of the responses (113 people out of 159). The survey respondents age, sexual orientation, and gender identity demographics are listed in greater detail in Appendix A and downloadable above.

For further details on our survey, please download either the Word or PDF document. — David E. Moore