Study Details

cropped-cropped-studylogo1.pngThank you for your interest in the Mississippi LGBTQ Study! This study is a needs assessment study that is being conducted to better understand the strengths, challenges, and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer populations in Mississippi. While national studies of LGBTQ issues have made efforts to include the state, most have been unable to collect data from enough participants to tell the story of life for LGBTQ people in our state. The Mississippi LGBTQ Study is the first academic, statewide study to specifically address Mississippi’s sexual and gender minority populations. This study is being conducted by researchers at Mississippi State University, in consultation with researchers, advocates, and community members around the state. The study is funded by the LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi. The LGBTQ Fund is the state’s first philanthropic organization dedicated to LGBTQ populations, and the findings from the needs assessment will be used to shape the fund’s goals in its inaugural year.

Research Team

The primary investigators for this research are:

  • Amanda Gochanour, M.A. – Department of Sociology, Mississippi State University
  • Izzy Pellegrine, M.S. – Department of Sociology, Mississippi State University
  • Melanie Walsh, M.S., LPC, NCC – Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Foundations, Mississippi State University

If you have questions about the research, please feel free to contact the research team using the contact form available on this site, or to email Izzy Pellegrine directly at

Study Methodology

The needs assessment work includes three phases. The first phase included interviews with organizational leaders around the state who are doing LGBTQ advocacy or service provision. Qualitative data from these interviews were used to understand the current landscape of front-lines work, the resources most needed by organizations, and the programmatic priorities of existing organizations. Network data from these interviews were also used to map the field of LGBTQ organizing and to identify avenues for coalition building. Phase one was reviewed by the Mississippi State University Institutional Review Board and granted an exempt classification (#17-471). The phase one report is available for download here: Phase One Report.

Phase two of the work is heavily participant driven. This phase adapts a participatory action research method to center the perspectives of community members and to collect data that best represents the needs of Mississippi’s communities. Focus groups were conducted in seven regions across the state and consisted of local community members. These groups worked with the primary investigators to shape the qualitative data collection strategy that is most appropriate for their communities, to collect the data, and to review the primary investigators’ findings. This participant-driven approach allows the researchers to determine the best way to study LGBTQ needs in Mississippi’s diverse communities. Phase two was reviewed and approved by the Mississippi State University Institutional Review Board (#18-031).

Finally, in phase three, preliminary qualitative findings, consultation with LGBTQ researchers in Mississippi, and existing literature were used to build a survey instrument for distribution across the state. Due to the lack of a fixed sampling frame for this minority population, the researchers used a networked recruitment approach to solicit respondents from around the state, resulting in a final sample of 500 LGBTQ-identified Mississippians across 51 counties.  Phase three was reviewed and deemed exempt by the Mississippi State University Institutional Review Board (#18-449).

Phase two and three reports will be released in Spring 2019.

Study Support

This research is funded by the LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi. The research is housed within the Department of Sociology at Mississippi State University and receives institutional support from the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Foundations.


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