After five years of strategizing with community stakeholders and research, City of Austin’s LGBTQ+ Commission is releasing its LGBTQIA+ Quality of Life Study.
Amongst many key findings, the survey reports that:
- Respondents feel acceptance and safety with chosen family and friends and at work, but not so much in public places such as restaurants, bars, or school. Interviewed participants expressed the need for Austin to create LGBTQIA+ community spaces that are mindful of people in recovery, queer and transgender people of color, and other marginalized communities.
- 17% of respondents report spending half their monthly income on housing. In addition to rent burden, discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people seeking housing was reported during interviews, focus groups, and community survey. Housing was the highest ranked priority for all participants.
- Queer people of color, youth, and transgender/gender-expansive individuals indicate a greater percentage of negative interaction with law enforcement (24%, 21%, and 35%, respectively).
- Transgender people of color experience greater employment denials/terminations, negative interactions with police, suicidality, spending more than 50% of their income on housing, and worry about money than all respondents.
In 2017, the same year of LGBTQ+ Quality of Life Advisory Commission’s founding, the Commission identified the need to have City of Austin’s first LGBTQIA+ Quality of Life survey. For the next few years, the Commission created a scope of work, examined other Commissions’ Quality of Life studies, and set shared expectations for the survey’s outcomes. The Commission partnered with Health Management Associates, Inc. (HMA) an independent, national research and consulting firm, to administer the city-wide survey successfully. In the development of the survey, HMA created a Research Advisory Board consisting of LGBTQ+ community members to provide guidance throughout the research process.
“LGBTQIA+ communities have been telling us what this survey reaffirms and validates – that we need to apply equity to the broad vision and goals we have for this city in order to be a welcoming city that allows everyone to thrive,” says Chief Equity Officer Brion Oaks. “It is then imperative for the City of Austin to understand how to address these disparities and improve the quality of life of all LGBTQIA+ communities, especially for those who experience the brunt of these inequitable outcomes.”
LGBTQ+ Quality of Life Survey provides a structural analysis on the gaps that the LGBTQIA+ community experience in the city as opposed to the standard needs assessment which focuses on the narrative of the individual and their choices, instead of the systems they must navigate. Additionally, the survey explicitly centers the lived experiences of queer people of color who are the most impacted by systems.