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Survey assesses needs of Indianapolis LGBTQ+ community

Needs assessment in Indianapolis LGBTQ+ community

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — LGBTQ advocates are taking added steps to bring about change in central Indiana but need the public’s help to do it.

A recently launched survey aims to collect data to eventually be used to leverage resources and even create new legislation. Advocates said some of the key concerns in the LBGTQ community include house and job security, but the list can go on.

Several hundred people have taken the survey since it launched a couple weeks ago, but organizers are hoping for more responses. Central Indiana’s LGBTQ plus advocacy groups are collaborating with the survey.

“We hadn’t really done anything collaboratively to try to come up with a more comprehensive picture,” said Alan Witchey, president and chief executive officer of the Damien Center, Indiana’s oldest and largest AIDS service organization.

The survey is a way to get feedback from anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+. The survey is based on rankings but also allows for more in-depth responses.

“Employment equity, health equity are key issues in the LGBTQ+ community,” Witchey said.

Damien Center, which provides resources to care HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, is one of the groups involved in the survey.

“I think this could be something that we use to educate elected officials and legislators,” Witchey said. “This could be something that we educate the general community about but mostly about we hope to use this to leverage funding and resources to better help the LGBTQ+ community.”

Witchey said national data suggests the LGBTQ+ community is struggling in terms of job security, general safety, employment quality, and health and mental health care.

“I have people who see me and challenge obviously the idea of me looking pretty different than what they expect,” said LGBTQ advocate Tyne Parlett.

Parlett came out as transgender and nonbinary later in life, so self-acceptance came a bit easier. But for so many who haven’t reached that level of personal acceptance, the survey just may help develop the tools and resources to get them there.

“My friends who are in the trans community who are also trans women of color, the reception of that kind of coming-out story is a lot different than that of maybe a high schooler who is white and who is gay,” Parlett said.