Cancer · Conferences · LGBT Policy · Presentations · Steering Committee · Summit · Tobacco Policy

HealthLink E-Summit: One Day Down, One to Go!

logoCorey Prachniak serves as Chair of LGBT HealthLink’s Steering Committee and is an attorney focused on health policy, as well as a current Zuckerman Fellow at Harvard University. Corey tweets @CPrachniak.

Wow.

When the LGBT HealthLink Steering Committee decided to host an online “E-Summit” to bring together people interested in LGBT health, we didn’t know if it would work… Mostly because we made the idea up! But we wanted our committee and staff to be able to interact with the community we serve, and since we couldn’t fly everyone to HealthLink’s sunny home in Florida, we thought we’d give it a try.

Yesterday, we had over a hundred registrants for a full afternoon of sessions, featuring many members of our Steering Committee, HealthLink’s staff, and even special guest Jessica Hyde from the Texas Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. Over the course of the afternoon, we engaged in discussions on LGBT rights in healthcare, the disproportionate burden of cancer in LGBT communities, and the way that LGBT-based disparities interplay with disparities based on other aspects of people’s identities.

And it’s not over yet! Join us today (Friday) at 4:00pm Eastern for a fabulous presentation on LGBT tobacco disparities by no fewer than four members of our stellar Steering Committee and HealthLink’s Policy Manager, Juan Carlos Vega. This session, “We’re a Movement, Not a Market!,” is open to the public and is going to be an amazing way to cap off Day 2 of our events. HealthLink started as a tobacco control group, and even as we’ve grown and diversified to take on an array of LGBT health disparities, fighting tobacco remains at the heart of our mission. I’m sure the passion for positive change in our community will come across loud and clear this afternoon.

So, a big thank you to all who joined us yesterday and who will join us today. And a particularly big thank you to Jenna Wintemberg, a member of our Steering Committee and the co-chair of this event, for her many hours of hard work in putting this together. (You can even hear from Jenna at today’s tobacco session and thank her yourself!)

Oh – and if the work we’re doing is your kinda thing, you may be interested to know that we’re preparing to launch a brand-new membership program in the near future. You can sign up to learn more here.

Cancer · Conferences · LGBT Policy · Presentations · Steering Committee · Summit · Tobacco Policy

Join Us for our LGBT Health E-Summit, October 15th and 16th

 

Corey Prachniak serves as Chair of LGBT HealthLink’s Steering Committee and is an attorney focused on health policy, as well as a current Zuckerman Fellow at Harvard University. Corey tweets @CPrachniak.


For the past few months, I have been working with our fabulous steering committee and staff to put together a two day virtual conference, or “E-Summit,” on LGBT health issues. I’m excited to invite you to join us this Thursday and Friday, the 15th and 16th of October. Once you have registered for the event, you’ll be able to jump onto the webinar during any of the sessions that interest you.

On Thursday 10/15, we will kick things off at 3:00pm Eastern Time with a session on LGBT rights in healthcare, followed by a session on LGBT cancer issues at 4:00pm Eastern and finally a session on intersectionality of identities and health disparities at 5:15pm Eastern. On Friday 10/16, we will finish up with a terrific session on tobacco use in LGBT communities at 4:00pm Eastern.

You can get all the details on these presentations by downloading the program, and you can register to participate here. All of these events are open to all.

By the way – if you like the work that HealthLink is doing, and want to be involved in events like this in the future, I have good news! We are in the process of launching a free membership program that will allow individuals interested in LGBT health to partner with us in exciting ways. You can sign up to learn more here.

I hope to “see” you this Thursday and Friday!

Healthcare Bill of Rights · LGBT Policy

You Got Covered – Now Know Your Rights

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Corey Prachniak serves as Chair of LGBT HealthLink’s Steering Committee, and is an LGBT rights and healthcare attorney.  Corey tweets @LGBTadvocacy.

 

It’s hard to believe that it has been more than four months since LGBT HealthLink, in conjunction with Promo Found, launched the LGBT Healthcare Bill of Rights.  So far, this initiative has been endorsed by nearly 90 organizations ranging from major LGBT rights organizations like HRC and Lambda Legal to statewide organizations  and local community centers all across the country.  On Twitter, the #LGBTHBOR has been tweeted to almost 1.5 million followers.

HBORAlmost 12 million people just got healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s federal and state-based exchanges.  Millions more have joined Medicaid as a result of the Act.  At the same time, the spread of marriage equality and implementation of antidiscrimination laws means that more LGBT people in particular are getting access to coverage.

Whether you’re newly insured for the first time (in which case congrats!) or have had your same insurance for years, why not take a few minutes to learn more about your rights that relate to that coverage?  And your rights that relate to healthcare more broadly?

We hope that you never face discrimination in accessing care.  But if you do, the Healthcare Bill of Rights will connect you to resources so that you can report the discrimination.  We also have resources for finding healthcare providers who are LGBT-friendly so that if you don’t feel comfortable where you are now, you can switch.

And just in case you lose that data signal on your cell, you can download the Bill as a PDF or a printable wallet-sized card.  Pretty snazzy, huh?

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¡Nuestro programa de tus derechos en cuanto a la asistencia médica se habla español!   Descarga aquí.

 

Healthcare Bill of Rights · LGBT Policy

Coming Out for Equal Rights in Healthcare

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Corey Prachniak serves as Chair of LGBT HealthLink’s Steering Committee, and is an LGBT rights and healthcare attorney.  Corey tweets @LGBTadvocacy.

 

 

A few weeks before my closest aunt came to visit me in college, I came out to her in the P.S. of an unrelated email.  The content of the confession was as timid as its placement: something like, “Just so you know, I’m pretty sure I’m gay.”  A few weeks later, her visit came and went with her never mentioning what I had said.

It was only nine months later that I learned my aunt had missed my P.S. entirely.  She had to learn about my coming out through the grapevine (i.e., my other aunts), and when she confronted me about it she seemed hurt. “Why didn’t you come out to me sooner?” she asked.  “I’m the only one in the family who knows what you’re going through.”

Before I could explain that I had, in fact, attempted to come out, I had to address the bombshell buried in her own message: she could understand what I was going through??  She was gay herself??

In truth, I had long-suspected that she might be part of “the family,” but I always figured that if she wanted me to know, she would tell me.  My aunt took the opposite approach, and presumed that if people really wanted to know the truth, they would figure it out themselves.

Last month, I helped launch the Healthcare Bill of Rights with LGBT HealthLink and PROMO.  Some have asked why LGBT people even need a document like this.  The answer, I think, is that many of us take the aforementioned approaches to coming out of the closet.  Either we’re P.S. Queer, and tack on our sexuality where it’s least likely to be seen, or we’re You’ll Know if You Want to Know Queer, and we wait for others to ask or figure it out themselves.

I think my aunt’s mentality to coming out was really beautiful, and showed true faith in the ability of people to come around and accept her – not just as a listener, but as an active participant in seeking out who she was.

But for the purposes of my work as a healthcare advocate, both her approach and my own were flawed.

The preamble to our Healthcare Bill of Rights begins, “Your personal life and relationships affect your health more than you realize, so your doctor and other providers need to know your story.”  If you don’t think that your sexuality and gender identity are relevant to your healthcare providers, just read about all the disparities our community faces.

The Bill continues by saying, “We should all feel safe talking about” our partners, sex lives, and genders.  Sure, this is easy for me to say from my perch in relatively-progressive DC, but this is an aspiration goal that the whole country is making progress on and one that is increasingly within reach – if we know to fight for it.

The main purpose of the Healthcare Bill of Rights is not to create a litigious army of courtroom-ready queer folks.  It is not designed to provide a full legal education on every issue.  Actually, as I see it, the law is really secondary here.

The point is that for these rights to even matter, providers have to know we’re LGBT or else we don’t get good care.  By spreading the word about people’s rights, we hope to make them feel comfortable coming out and demanding (and receiving) quality healthcare.

We can’t P.S. one of the most important parts of our identities to the people who make us healthy.  Nor can we hope they’ll figure it out themselves or take the hint and ask us.  It’s time for us to take control of our own health and reverse the tides against us.

Check out the Healthcare Bill of Rights, and see why over 80 organizations have signed on to say that we deserve equal rights in healthcare.

LGBT Policy · Show Me MO · Technical Assistance · Updates

Missouri Case Study 10 – Making LGBT Health Matter in Missouri Hospitals

Andrew Shaughnessy, Manager of Public Policy for PROMO

Andrew Shaughnessy
Manager of Public Policy, PROMO Missouri
@andrewshag

This year has proven to be a monumental year for LGBT Missourians. Those monumental steps have been the recognition of out-of-state marriages by the State of Missouri, and the leadership of nearly 47 Missouri hospitals, who have included 105 new LGBT welcoming policies to their core values. As an LGBT Missourian it certainly gives me relief to know that I can access health care facilities and be me: my authentic self.

In 2013, only two Missouri Hospitals, Children’s Mercy in Kansas City and the VA in St. Louis, qualified as leaders in the Human Rights Campaign Care Equality Index (HEI). In the coming days the health sector will see the launch of the 2014 HEI, where several of Missouri’s top hospitals have been reviewed on their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) welcoming policies.  This year, Missouri will see several hospitals both in rural and urban areas that have been working to ensure their facilities are welcoming to all.

To learn more about the policies of Missouri Hospitals, click here for a map detailing their LGBT welcoming policies.

We have truly made LGBT health matter among Missouri’s top hospitals, but the work of the LGBT health policy project does not stop there. Through the technical assistance of Dr. Scout, Director of LGBT HealthLink, we will continue to work with health and social services organizations in Missouri to ensure that we are creating spaces free from discrimination. Through our collaboration with Sherrill Wayland, Executive Director of SAGE Metro St. Louis, we will be training Missouri’s health and social service professionals to understand the unique needs of LGBT patients.  And we will continue to advocate for the health of LGBT families and our families of choice.

As we begin to look at the legal future for the LGBT community, we must be concerned with the growing disparities we find in LGBT health. Our next frontier is on the borders of health and making sure that we are a strong and healthy community. I’m humbled to be a part of this work. Having experienced discrimination in a health care setting myself, I assure you your voice is not going unheard.

 

Conferences · Cultural Competency Trainings · Data · Funding · IOM · LGBT Policy · Presentations · Research Studies · Resources · scholarship · Updates

#BWLGBTI Day 3 Part 2: Community-based research is still important

dwayne

 

 

Dwayne Steward

LGBTQ Health Advocate
Columbus Public Health

 

 

We’ve come to the end of the LGBTI Health Research Conference at Baldwin Wallace University. This has been a very life-changing experience, for which I am truly grateful. Being in the room with so many experts that have and are currently making groundbreaking changes in the country, and around the world, regarding the inclusion of LGBTI communities in health research has been phenomenal. I can’t thank the Network for LGBT Health Equity enough for this amazing opportunity.

Jacob Nash
Jacob Nash

The conference began it’s last half with two lively panel discussions. The first was “Community Perspectives Regarding LGBTI Health” featuring Jacob Nash (transgender activist and director of Margie’s Hope), Alana Jochum (Equality Ohio’s Northeast Ohio Regional Coordinator) and Maya Simek (program director for The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland). Jochum made some very interesting points regarding how LGBTI health research has made historic advances in LGBTI rights possible. She referenced several court cases that have used the statistics compiled by researchers, several in the room, in major courtroom arguments for marriage equality. Her examples helped further illustrate the need for the work of those attending the conference. Nash and Simek put out calls to researchers for more specified research studies on marginalized populations and offered insights on the health issues they’re seeing among marginalized populations. They both reiterated the need for more collaboration between activists and health researchers.

The conference officially ended with “LGBTI Health and Human Rights in International Settings” with a very dynamic panel of LGBTI health community organizers from Latin America and India.

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“LGBTI Health and Human Rights in International Settings” Panel

Wendy Castillo, a community organizer from El Salvador who has done work providing safe spaces for lesbian and transgender women, spoke at length about the tragic murders that continue take the lives of transgender women regularly in El Salvodor and the struggles organizations there face with trying to keep transgender women safe. Daniel Armando Calderon and Alejandro Rodriguez, both community organizers around issues facing the MSM community in Columbia, discussed how they try to decrease barriers for “heterosexual MSM’ and other special populations needing HIV care and other health services.

Vivek Anand, of Humsafar Trust, closed out the conference with more detail regarding his efforts regarding the recent re-criminalization of homosexuality in India. His organization has courageously come to the forefront of attacking this law that was passed by the country’s Supreme Court after massive efforts from religious leaders. I thinks it quite admirable that the work he’s doing is heralding and sometimes dangerous, but he faces it head on with an upbeat attitude. He ended his presentation with a video of Gaysi‘s (an LGBT advocacy organization in Mumbai) #notgoingback campaign, one of the efforts to build awareness and garner support for repealing the law. The upbeat video, featuring Pharrell Williams’ massive hit song “Happy,” is a perfect representation of Anand’s bubbly activist spirit.

And thus we end our time together my friends. Please always remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King that I used to start this blog series, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Let’s never end this very important conversation!

Conferences · Cultural Competency Trainings · Data · Funding · LGBT Policy · Research Studies · Resources · scholarship

#BWLBGTI Day 2 Post-Lunch: Revisiting sexual health

dwayne

Dwayne Steward 
LGBTQ Health Advocate
Columbus Public Health

After lunch at day 2 of the LGBTI Health Research Conference at Baldwin Wallace is all about sexual health. Historically this would have been the bulk of such a conference as this. As most of us know, pathology-focused research on homosexuality and gender diversity, along with the stigma associated with the HIV/AIDS epidemic forced LGBTI healthcare into a sexual health box for many years. It’s interesting to see that the pendulum is swinging back the other way in some ways as we as LGBTI healthcare workers/researchers are now having to convince certain communities that sexual health is still an important factor of the LGBTI health experience.

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Dr. Anthony Silvestre, professor of Infectious Disease and Microbiology at the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, opened with a lunch-time keynote on the history of sexual health research, reminding us how far we’ve come regarding the study of sex and sexuality in this country. He than joined Dr. Brian Dodge, Indiana University-Bloomington School of Public Health, for the “LGBTI Health Training” seminar track, which included a lively discussion on the changing landscape of HIV and intersectionality in public health research.

There was definitely a lot of talk about training program models in Indiana and Pennsylvania, but through the lens of sexual health research. Dr. Silvestre spoke on University of Pittsburgh’s LGBT health certificate program along with several other LGBT-focused specialized programs the university offers, including a post-doctorate program that specialized in MSM (men who have sex with men) healthcare.

Dr. Dodge made several interesting conjectures about the study of sexual health saying, much of the conversation regarding sexual health has been risk based. “We need to be including more about the actual pleasure of sex and begin taking a more sex-positive approach. It is okay for gay sex to be enjoyable,” he said. He went on to say that programs should take a more competency-based approach to better prepare students for their post-college endeavors.

My fellow Network for LGBTQ Health Equity scholarship recipients Heru Kheti (middle) and E.Shor (right).
My fellow Network for LGBTQ Health Equity scholarship recipients Heru Kheti (middle) and E.Shor (right).

Dr. Francisco Sy, director of the Office of Community-Based Participatory Research and Collaboration at the NIH/National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), took a moment to educate the audience on the NIH grant process and how to best navigate their grant application process. But the day’s real winner was Dr. Erin Wilson’s presentation, “HIV Among Trans-Female Youth: What We Now Know and Directions for Research and Prevention.” Dr. Wilson, who is a former NIMHD Loan Repayment Program (LRP) recipient and research scientist currently with the AIDS Office at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, quickly (due to time constraints) spoke on her ground-breaking NIH-funded research on the social determinants of health that led to high HIV-infection rates for transgender female youth in Los Angeles.

The statistics Dr. Wilson reported were pretty staggering. She prefaced much of her presentation by saying her studies were very specific to L.A. and she had no research to show that this was reflective of the national transgender female population. She reported finding that transgender females in L.A. were 34 times more likely to contact HIV than the general population and at the time of her study nearly 70 percent of transgender female youth in L.A. participated in sex work. As a result of her work The SHINE Study was created, the first longitudinal study of trans*female youth that still continues today. Though nearly 40 percent of transgender females in L.A. are living with HIV only 5 percent are youth. “We have a great opportunity to get ahead of this disparity and create some real change,” she said.

That’s all for today my friends. Check back tomorrow for a full report on Day 3 of the Baldwin Wallace University LGBTI Health Research Conference (#BWLGBTI)!

Conferences · Cultural Competency Trainings · Data · IOM · LGBT Policy · Presentations · Resources · scholarship · Updates

#BWLGBTI Day 3 Part 1: The IOM Report

dwayne

 

 Dwayne Steward

 LGBTQ Health Advocate
 Columbus Public Health

 

 

 

Back at Baldwin Wallace for the last day of the LGBTI Health Research Conference and the morning is being spent on very detailed analysis of the Institute of Medicine‘s National Institutes of Health-commissioned 2011 report “The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding” The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding.”

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Dr. Walter Bockting, of Columbia University who served on a committee that penned the report, returned to the stage to offer a brief history of the document, it’s findings/recommendations and next steps. Most striking was that the main point made by the study, which is there’s a general lack of research when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity, a fact many of us are very much aware of, but I think the impact of this report is in the robust list of recommendations the study produced for NIH. Here are few:

  • NIH needs to implement a comprehensive research agenda.
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity data needs to be collected in all NIH federally-funded research.
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity data also needs to be collected in electronic medical records.
  • Research training should be created by NIH that is specific to sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Encourage NIH grant applicants to address the inclusion or exclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity. (This is already a requirement for other marginalized groups, such as racial minorities.)
  • Identify sexual orientation and gender identity among the NIH official list of minority populations with disproportionate health disparities.

Dr. Bockting himself said at one point what I’ve been thinking since I read the study months ago, “A year ago I was skeptical about if we would receive the support needed to see these recommendations through. Without support it will be very difficult for us to make any progress.” However he went on to say, “But things are really beginning to look up and I think we’re going to begin making some strides.”

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(From left) Dr. Alexander, Dr. Bradford and Dr. Bockting

Dr. Bockting’s statements were overwhelming verified later by Dr. Rashada Alexander, a Health Science Policy Analyst at NIH. She discussed how NIH was responding to the IOM report, most notably the creation of the NIH LGBTI Research Coordinating Committee whose task is to create a national strategic plan for sexual orientation and gender identity research. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that this group existed and will be releasing their strategic plan by the end of the year. She also went on to discuss a funding opportunity announcement NIH has released specific to LGBTI health research and and other efforts of the NIH regarding LGBTI health.

It’s very empowering to know that our federal government is taking an intentional approach to studying LGBTI health, especially when this was something that wasn’t possible just five years ago.  I feel as if I’m watching systemic change take place right before my eyes. It’s a very exciting time to be an LGBTI health researcher!

Conferences · Cultural Competency Trainings · Data · LGBT Policy · Presentations · Resources · scholarship

#BWLGBTI Day 2: Perfect time, perfect place

dwayne

Dwayne Steward
LGBTQ Health Advocate 
Columbus Public Health

As I continue into the second day of the LGBTI Health Research Conference at Baldwin Wallace University, it struck me as pretty powerful that the BW’s president Robert Helmer opened the first day of seminars with the words “this is the perfect time and the perfect place for this [conference].” (BW Provost, Dr. Stephen Stahl also reiterated this sentiment just after lunch with saying, “this conference is at the core of founding values.”) This stayed with me throughout the morning as we heard from such innovative speakers such as Dr. Eli Coleman who, just through all of the heralding stories he shared, showed his longstanding impact on changing the American perspective on LGBTI health research. Dr. Coleman, who is currently the director of the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, also left me with a new mantra: “Without rights we will not have [good] health.”

Dr. Eli Coleman
Dr. Eli Coleman

After Dr. Coleman’s keynote address, the morning continued at a rapid-fire pace, with a revolving door of one prestigious presenter after another. Here are a few brief notes on the presentations I thought most intriguing.

  • During the “Translating Research into Policy and Heath Interventions” seminar track Kellan Baker, associate director of the LGBTI Research and Communications Project at Center for American Progress, gave a very interesting look at how political advocacy has led to inclusive research, highlighting the work of HIV/AIDS advocates during the 1980s. Baker went on to show that though there have been strides made concerning LGBTI political inclusion, there’s still so much more to be done. I found it interesting that between 2002 and 2010 there was absolutely no inclusion of LGBTI communities in any federal health research because of the change in presidential administration. This silence prompted the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association to create a sexual identity and gender identity specific companion report to the National Institutes of Health 2010 Healthy People report. Now in their 2020 Health People edition we see two LGBTI-focused reports because of such advocacy efforts.
  • Vivek Anand, Executive Director of Humsafar Trust in Mumbai, India, also took the stage during the “policy and health interventions” track and wowed myself an the audience with the grassroots, community-based research he’s been conducting in India, despite the country still criminalizing homosexuality. “On-the-ground work and community-based research is still crucial…if we are not out in the community and visible we will not be counted,” he said. Humsafar has fund-raised thousands of dollars and build several LGBT organizations in India, providing countless services and research for a nearly invisible community.
Vivek Anand
Vivek Anand

A brief break led right into a seminar track on “Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Intersex Data at Population and Clinical Levels,” which I personally found rather enthralling. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of evidence-based research that exists regarding adding sexual orientation and gender identity to medical forms and records.

  • Joanne Keatley, briefly detailed research from the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health at University of California-San Francisco that highlighted the groundbreaking work she was involved with to make the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention start collecting transgender data in 2011. She also stressed the importance of including transgender female-to-males in HIV research, as much of their studies showed that this is an affected demographic, despite current perceptions.
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The many words for “transgender”
  • Karen Walsh, an intersex activist, detailed the importance of intersex research and how to include intersex information collection in an accurate and affirming fashion. I learned so much on the intersex community that I was not aware of, including most who are intersex receive some sort of surgical interventions as children but surgery is often medically unnecessary.
  • Dr. Jody Herman, of the Williams Institute at University of California-Los Angeles, and Harvey Makadon of Fenway Health’s National LGBT Health Education Center, also provided invaluable examples of specific language and formats that can be used on forms to capture sexual health and gender identity. If you are a healthcare provider that values inclusion I highly recommend visiting their organizations’ websites.

Stay tuned for more post-lunch recaps!

Data · LGBT Policy · Pride · Staff/Program Updates

PRESS RELEASE: 2014 LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER SURVEY REPORT

MAP Survey Infograph

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

With Significant Revenue Growth and Innovative Programs, LGBT Community Centers Serve Over 1.9 Million People Annually

Denver, CO & Ft. Lauderdale, FL; June 10, 2014 —Providing vital services to more than 1.9 million people annually, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community centers reported increased revenue for 2013, allowing them to develop innovative new programs to serve youth, homeless populations, and transgender populations, according to an extensive report released today.

Authored by CenterLink and the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the 2014 LGBT Community Center Survey Report: Assessing the Capacity and Programs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Centers, surveyed 111 LGBT community centers from 32 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Both large and small centers reported increased revenue, for combined revenue of $138.1 million, but the biggest concerns emerging from the survey data are the challenges facing small LGBT community centers. Smaller centers, often operating in locations and communities that are least accepting of LGBT people, struggle with a chronic lack of resources and paid staff; two in three small centers rely entirely on volunteers.​  These and other report findings are summarized below.

CLIENTS & DIVERSITY

  • Participating LGBT centers serve over 37,900 individuals in a typical week and refer over 9,900 individuals to other agencies for services and assistance.
  • LGBT community center patrons are disproportionately male, people of color, transgender, and/or low income.
  • LGBT community center clientele is diverse, and community centers often offer tailored programming: 90% of LGBT community centers offer specific programming for LGBT youth, 82% for transgender people, 61% for LGBT older adults, and 48% for LGBT people of color.

“We are a small center with one part-time employee and a lot of dedicated volunteers, and we work daily to improve the quality of life for the LGBTQ and ally populations of our region,” said Jackson Jantzen, Executive Director of the 7 Rivers LGBT Resource Center located in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. “In rural and less populated regions, centers like ours are a lifeline for the community and without us, people would be very isolated and without important resources. Maintaining stable funding sources and reaching isolated community members with limited means is a continual challenge.”

SERVICES & PROGRAMS

In many regions, local LGBT centers are the only organizations serving the LGBT community, offering a variety of much-needed resources including:

  • Physical and Mental Health Programs: Large centers spent approximately 19% of their 2013 budgets on physical health programs and 17% on mental health programs, including general health and wellness programs, medical and pharmacy services, STD/HIV prevention and treatment, counseling, and facilitated support groups.
  • Information, Education and Computer Programs: 20% of community center budgets goes to information and education programming, including referrals to LGBT businesses, speakers’ bureaus, employment training/counseling, or in-house libraries. Many LGBT community centers (78%) also provide patrons with computer resources.
  • Social and Recreational Programs: LGBT community centers offer a range opportunities for patrons, including parties and dances, social groups for targeted populations, summer camps for LGBT youth, and sports leagues.
  • Arts and cultural programs: Centers often offer arts and cultural programming, such as gallery space and film screenings.
  • Community Outreach and Civic Engagement: LGBT community centers target community outreach to the general public, to schools and healthcare providers, and to policymakers in their communities, among other populations.

“At The LGBT Community Center in New York City, we’re especially excited about our new service learning projects like ROAR (Responsibility, Opportunity, Action and Results),” said Glennda Testone, The Center’s Executive Director. “We’re helping young people build workforce skills, while building their confidence to organize and take action on important community issues. It has been incredible to witness our youth grow and develop through ROAR.”

STAFFING & REVENUES

  • Revenue Growth. Both large and small LGBT centers reported revenues increases from 2012 to 2013; small centers experienced a 20% increase in revenues from 2012 to 2013, compared to a 12% increase for large centers.
  • Revenue Sources. Fifty percent of 2013 revenues of large centers were from government grants, followed by 18% from individual donors and 8% from fundraising events. Foundation funding was only 12% of center revenue.
  • Staff. Despite the increase in average center revenue, many centers still struggle with a lack of funding and resources; 21% of all surveyed centers have no staffand rely solely on volunteers; and 57% have five or fewer paid staff. Almost half of center staff (49%) identify as people of color.

Given the critical role of LGBT community centers in areas of the country with few other resources for LGBT people, small centers in particular are in critical need of additional financial support.

“The first few months we were open, people would show up and break into tears. They could not believe there was a new center in downtown Oceanside, a few hundred feet away from Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base,” said Max Disposti, Executive Director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center in California. “People would come in and share their stories, of when you could get beat up in the streets for being LGBT. Just five years ago, North San Diego County was not the place to be if you were LGBT. There is still so much work to do, but at least now we are more visible, more understood and respected. We are here to stay.”

 

The full report is available online at www.lgbtmap.org and www.lgbtcenters.org.

 

About the Authors
CenterLink was founded in 1994 as a member-based coalition to support the development of strong, sustainable LGBT community centers. A fundamental goal of CenterLink’s work is to help build the capacity of these centers to address the social, cultural, health and political advocacy needs of LGBT community members across the country. Now in its 20th year, CenterLink has played an important role in addressing the challenges centers face by helping them to improve their organizational and service delivery capacity, access public resources and engage their regional communities in the grassroots social justice movement. www.lgbtcenters.org.

Launched in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project is an independent, intellectual resource for the LGBT movement. MAP’s mission is to provide independent and rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed full equality for LGBT people. Learn more at www.lgbtmap.org.

 

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To download the full report CLICK HERE!