by Kira Lingala
What can we do to help our community? The past year of pandemic, protest, and loss has often left us asking this question. Each of us has a unique experience to share and build on as we try to help our neighbors and make positive change in the world.
Sometimes, it feels like no one is listening.
There are so many important ways to give back and get involved, from volunteering at organizations like The LOFT to voting for political candidates who champion your values. This year’s LGBTQ+ Community Survey for New York State is one way everyone in the LGBTQ+ can make their voices heard and contribute to positive change.
What is the survey for and why is it so important for our community?
The survey is administered by the New York State LGBT Health & Human Services network with the goal of gathering accurate data on the LGBTQ+ community that will ultimately help folx get the funding and services they need. This means increasing public funding for LGBTQ+ health and human services in New York State and improving those services so that they are accessible to those who need them.
Without this crucial data, it is difficult for politicians, policymakers, and advocates for the community to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ New Yorkers. This is part of why it is so crucial for us all to complete the survey and make sure our community is seen.
The fight to get better and more accurate data on our community has been raging in the background for years. Some of the largest and best-funded data collection projects in the United States, like the American Community Survey, collect little to no data on sexual orientation and gender identity. This means that the LGBTQ+ community is unseen and uncounted as policymakers across the country make decisions about our lives.
Data collection like this year’s New York State survey can help us understand where LGTBQ+ folx are living and the problems they are dealing with. Without this crucial information, it is too easy for those who are hostile or indifferent to our community to remain silent and justify inaction. Whether it is anti-trans violence, employment discrimination, or housing insecurity, the problems our community face are invisible to those in power without accurate data.
This year’s LGBTQ+ community survey is a needs assessment to determine funding and the need for health services in New York state. By completing the survey and sharing it with your network, you can help to address some of the problems facing LGBTQ+ folx in our community. Gathering this data will help to increase the sustainability of health and human services for LGBTQ+ communities in New York State.
Completing the survey only takes about thirty minutes, but the impact of your response could be felt for years. Let’s bring the LGBTQ+ community out of the shadows, so that we can all be heard, seen, and counted.
Kira Lingala is the Peer Navigator for The LOFT's PROUDWST Me program