Make your home page

Deep Divides report shows COVID-19 impact on LGBTQ Hoosiers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new report is helping shine a light on COVID-19’s impact on central Indiana LGBTQ communities.

About a dozen local organizations came together to develop the Deep Divides report. The report highlights the results of surveys from October-December. The findings show, in four key categories, LGBTQ Hoosiers were impacted significantly higher than their heterosexual counterparts.

Star Adita is an advocate. Before the coronavirus pandemic, she described herself as a social butterfly. “When COVID hit and I’m no longer connected to community I didn’t really notice my mental health issues started to progress until my pod started to also get COVID.”

Socialization, Adita said, is a necessity for many in the LGBTQ community. Adita created an online group called social skin connections another agency called Gender Nexus to simply talk about what’s called “skin hunger”; for example, the need to simply be hugged.

“If you feel the load at your house, then suicide goes up, depression goes up or your sadness turns into depression because you have no outlet outside of yourself,” Adita said.

Adita said while the survey provides a look at the issues, being an ally is a way to help.

Alan Wichey is president of the Damien Center, which describes itself as Indiana’s oldest and largest AIDS service organization. Wichey said the Deep Divides report “clearly shows that LGBTQ-plus communities were impacted significantly more than heterosexual counterpart.”

Survey results from 336 LGBTQ and heterosexual Hoosiers found that they were more likely to have worse mental and physical health, and less economical stability and social connections.

“I think what we really saw through this report is it’s such a great need in our community and it so far outstrips what we are able to do,” Wichey said.

Damien Center representatives said, although there are a lot of LGBTQ advocacy agencies, they are stretched, so the hope is to one day develop a central hub for LGBTQ services.