Hey, LGBT Folks: Sound Off!

Sep 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm
You may have noticed a survey floating around Facebook or other corners of the intertubes. (We found it on our pal Ed Reggi's page.) If you're a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender community, for heaven's sake, take it!

The survey, which is being conducted by Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders (SAGE) Metro St. Louis and ONE St. Louis, is attempting to paint a clear and qualitative picture of who our LGBT community is and what's needed in terms of health and human services--which in turn will allow the existing nonprofit network to do a better job of meeting those needs.

"As a member of the community, I can say 'till the cows come home that the lack of inclusive LGBT services is an issue for the community," says Sherrill Wayland, executive director of SAGE."The importance of this survey is really to provide some baseline data on the LGBT community in regard to health and human services needs."

Wayland points out that plenty of LGBT-oriented nonprofits exist in the city and metro area, but in order for them to be competitive for grants and in order to understand what the community needs, they need a clearer picture of who the community is.

"We have a lot of information on the population in general, but most academic research doesn't specifically ask about the LGBT community," says Wayland."Whenever you see research that's coming out of academia, that research is assuming everyone's straight."

The survey, which has been running online since the summer and will remain open until the end of the year, asks for basic data like your age, sexual identity and partnership situation. It also gathers information on participants' experiences seeking health care and other human services.

Wayland tells us that a few issues are emerging as clear priorities. The community would like more outreach from LGBT-friendly doctors and more support groups. She also says responses indicate that members of the community would prefer to patronize businesses and services with clear nondiscrimination policies in place and that had formal training in LGBT cultural competency.

The data is being collected and analyzed by SAGE and ONE St. Louis, but Wayland says it will be shared with their network of nonprofits and health and human services providers. (Check SAGE's site for a look at that network, and to find referrals.)

So far, about 400 people have taken the survey. It took well under ten minutes to complete, and none of the questions were too onerous. (You can go for essay questions, or just stick to multiple choice.)

Wayland says they'd love to have 1,000 responses, so get clickin'. Post it on your Facebook! Forward it to your friends, instead of yet another LOLcat.