Submitted by Niagara Pride
In a historic first for the LGBTQ+ community of WNY, Niagara Pride is asking LGBTQ+ individuals to make their voice heard in the first-ever WNY LGBTQ+ community needs survey. The purpose of this survey is to gather information that will help meet the needs of LGBTQ+ people throughout all eight counties of WNY, and is not organization specific.
Niagara Pride President Ronald Piaseczny, J.D., LMHC, said, “WNY is home to a diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Together, as people and as community, we have demonstrated over and over again that we have incredible strength, resiliency and resourcefulness. However, the LGBTQ+ community continues to be disproportionately affected by a range of physical, mental and behavioral health, economic, social, legal and political issues. Too often, our needs can be overlooked by mainstream organizations.”
In 2021, Niagara Pride launched the survey with a focus on only Niagara County residents. Some of data that resulted from that survey included:
•62.2% of participants said they had no sense of connection to the LGBTQ+ community in the town/city where they live in Niagara County;
•Overall, 61.87% of participants said they had no sense of connection to the LGBTQ+ community in all of Niagara County;
•39% of participants in this study reported feeling unsafe when interacting with law enforcement officials;
•37.3% of participants said they do not feel comfortable being as openly out as they want to be most of the time in the town/city where they reside in Niagara County; 41.3% of participants said they do not feel comfortable being as openly out they want to be in most of Niagara County;
•When asked if participants know if there are LGBTQ+ specific or LGBTQ+ affirming providers in Niagara County, ranging from physical health care, mental health, sexual health, employment, adult/elder care, veterans services, food pantries or domestic violence programs, the vast majority of respondents indicated either “No” or “I Don’t Know”;
•When asked if the participants are concerned about their physical and emotional safety due to being a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Niagara County when seeking services or doing the following activities, the below percentage of respondents indicated they were concerned for their safety:
√ 31.3% – housing
√ 35% –physical health care
√ 36.3% – mental health care or addiction services
√ 36.6% – shopping for groceries or other public shopping
√ 41.5% – going to restaurants or to bars
√ 23.8% – going to school or class
√ 38.3% – attending community events
√ 31.2% – attending religious services
Piaseczny added, “The results from last year’s survey were eye-opening. By doing the survey, our goal was to freely share the data and results with other agencies so that organizations could see where the community was doing well in terms of creating safe and welcoming spaces, as well as see where improvements needed to be made in providing more LGBTQ+ affirming care and services in Niagara County. Expanding the survey to all of WNY this year, we are hoping to get a better understanding of the unique needs LGBTQ+ individuals and families have and how the WNY community is responding to meet those needs.”
To that extent, the 2022 version of the survey will ask questions about:
•Participant opinions about the most important issues facing them and the community right now;
•Participant experiences trying to get help for various concerns impacting their lives; as well as
•Participant feelings of physical and emotional safety in various aspects of daily life, as well as feelings of connection to the community
The survey is online and it is estimated to take about 15-30 minutes to complete.
Data collection will run from Sept. 1 until 11:59 p.m. Nov. 30. Niagara Pride anticipates being able to release a summary of the data by the end of December/early January 2023. Going forward, the survey will be conducted every three years to gauge changes over time.
To participate in the survey, go to https://forms.office.com/r/aqAQtCHYC2.
Niagara Pride is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving LGBTQ+ individuals and families in Niagara County and WNY. It offers educational programming, engages in charitable works, and offers social programming to create safe and welcoming environment for all those who identify as LGBTQQI+ living throughout WNY. It relies primarily on donations to provide these services and have no paid staff – only volunteers.