LGBTQIA2S+ Community Needs Assessment
This project is important because as a collective we want to understand the needs, demographics, and experiences of our community. Right now, we only have our own experiences and anecdotes from individuals who are close to us to try to understand what the local LGBTQIA2S+ community needs and experiences. By conducting this assessment, we will be more able to understand what our community needs, who they are, and their experiences as a whole. This will not only help the Umpqua Valley Rainbow Collective to understand and serve our community better, it will also help other organizations, agencies, and entities to do the same. It will also help those who are not part of the LGBTQIA2S+ community to learn more about us and how to be better allies. Arguably the most important thing this assessment could do is to reveal to our local LGBTQIA2S+ community how many of us there actually are and helping us to not feel alone. LGBTQIA2S+ folks face high rates of discrimination, violence, and stigma, leading to higher rates of stress, unemployment, poverty, and homelessness. As a result, our communities face health disparities, with a remarkably higher risk for anxiety, depression, substance use, cardiovascular disease, cancer, HIV, diabetes, and suicide. Discrimination and isolation leave LGBTQIA2S+ folks living in rural areas particularly vulnerable. Learning more about our local LGBTQIA2S+ population will also help us to advocate for ourselves and provide guidance for future policies that will make life more equitable for our community. Advocacy organizations and politicians need data to understand how to best serve the LGBTQIA2S+ community as our representatives. Citizens, noncitizens, and organizers need insight in order to fight oppression of all kinds and improve our quality of life through policy development. We are partnering with The Equi Institute, a LGBTQIA2S+ health advocacy organization out of Portland, Oregon on this project. Equi will contribute by consulting on the development of the survey and help with analyzing the data which will inform their development of their larger the “LGBTQIA2S+ in Oregon” data justice project and potentially create a model of survey distribution and outreach to rural communities.