EMU And MI-GOAL Seeking LGBT Law Enforcement For New Study


Researchers from Eastern Michigan University are looking for LGBT law enforcement, public safety, corrections and criminal justice professionals to participate in an online research study.

This groundbreaking international study will survey LGBT professionals to better understand how gender and sexual orientation factors may affect how these professionals experience their work environments. The study will also examine how such identities are associated with feelings of job satisfaction and support, and overall emotional health.

The study is a collaboration between EMU, the Michigan Project for Informed Public Policy (MPIPP), the Michigan Gay Officers Action League and Law Enforcement Gays and Lesbians International (MI-GOAL) with input from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

This research is intended to fill a significant gap recognized by Dr. Judith Kovach, Executive Director of MPIPP, in research on LGBT professionals working in law enforcement. In 2011, LEGAL International approached Kovach to conduct a seminar on occupational stressors and managing personal positive mental health. While collecting research, Kovach discovered that - while research specific to race and gender was widely available - little-to-no research on LGBT professionals existed.

After discussing with MI-GOAL President Cole Bouck, they met EMU Associate Professor Dr. Stephen Jefferson and graduate student Michael Evitts, who agreed to assist in conducting the survey.

Participants are asked to complete a series of online questionnaires on a variety of topics including how supported they feel at work as an LGBT employee, if they have experienced any traumatic events in their lives, their emotional status and their general attitudes about what it means to be LGBT. To access the survey, go to http://www.MI-GOAL.com.

LGBT people in the workforce must often decide whether to risk coming out to their coworkers or remain closeted, affecting both their mental and physical health.

"(The health problems this study intends to address) are not unique to law enforcement and criminal justice professionals," explains MI-GOAL President Bouck. "However, these professionals serve by stepping into some of the most traditional and conservative - and most dangerous - fields of work and into uniforms that assumes certain expectations.

"Our objective is to collect empirical data on the incidents and effects of being LGBT and working in these professions. Clarifying the relationships between various research variables in these populations will go far toward improving our understanding of the work-related, environmental factors that promote or compromise employees' mental health."

Bouck also states that findings from the study may be able to assist policy makers, administrators, workers' rights groups and their constituents in better understanding key factors related to increasing work effectiveness and satisfaction, creating more optimal work settings for growing diverse employee groups.

MI-GOAL was established in 2010 and is an affiliate chapter of LEGAL International. MI-GOAL exists to advocate for the equal treatment of Michigan's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender law enforcement, public safety, corrections and criminal justice professionals, and their non-gay allies.

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