Despite having the nation’s third-largest LGBTQIA+ population per capita – 135,700 residents (5.9%) – Greater Austin lacks key infrastructure necessary for LGBTQIA+ people to thrive. With your help, QWELL’s plans will fill these gaps in resource navigation, healthcare access, and community-building.
Multiple LGBTQIA+ Community Centers
Greater Austin’s LGBTQIA+ community is asking for safe, sober spaces that help them build their chosen families, get support as they navigate life in Greater Austin, and connect with resources. Multiple locations are necessary because LGBTQIA+ people live in every Austin City Council District and cross-town travel is difficult and time-consuming for many residents. To effectively build an LGBTQIA+ culture of health and self-actualization, LGBTQIA+ people – especially transgender residents and people of color – need convenient access to services and community-building spaces.
QWELL plans to build LGBTQIA+ community-building centers in multiple locations so every LGBTQIA+ resident has convenient access to support, services, and a chosen family. Click here to learn more.
Increase Access to Affirming Healthcare
Our qwellbeing.org research, the City of Austin’s LGBTQIA+ Quality of Life Study, and the Travis County Community Health Improvement Plan agree – there are not enough affirming, culturally competent healthcare providers to serve the needs of people of color or Greater Austin’s large LGBTQIA+ population.
QWELL is working to maximize the number of local physical and mental health care providers who are committed to racial and LGBTQIA+ health equity. Our plan includes launching the Inclusive Healthcare Leaders Association, linking providers with training opportunities, and connecting LGBTQIA+ people with affirming, competent providers.
We are also working with Central Health, Austin Public Health, Dell Medical School and other health systems to create a movement to encourage local providers to get certified through Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index.
Identify Supportive Organizations, Businesses, and Employers
With the help of youth in our Pride Scouts program and a team of volunteer web developers, QWELL is creating an “asset map” of all the businesses, healthcare providers, organizations, and services in Greater Austin that are LGBTQIA-friendly.
This means you will find it easier to navigate where to shop, find affirming work, or go to access resources. Community leaders will save time they currently spend answering life navigation questions on platforms like Facebook.
Our community will also be able to support the businesses that have their back, which 92% of local LGBTQIA+ people say is important to them.
Use Technology to Simplify Life Navigation
QWELL is building technology solutions to make it easy for LGBTQIA+ people to navigate their lives in Greater Austin. No more hunting through old webpages or inquiring on social media; you’ll be able to find the services and information you need with complete anonymity just by pulling out your smartphone.
Support Every LGBTQIA+ Resident
QWELL’s research shows that more than half of Greater Austin’s LGBTQIA+ residents do not feel like part of our community. 25% did not see friends and family more than one day a month before the pandemic. Disconnection is particularly a problem for LGBTQIA+ people of color and transgender/non-binary residents, but finding your chosen family is a challenge for LGBTQIA+ people across demographics.
QWELL is working to create a reliable, decentralized network of small, diverse, intergenerational groups. Every LGBTQIA+ resident will have easy access to an ever-growing chosen family where they can give and receive unconditional support and guidance and experience deep and loving connection with their community.
Build Anti-Racist LGBTQIA+ Community
The diversity of our LGBTQIA+ population allows us to lead the way in mitigating and healing the racism, misogyny, and trauma caused by the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy in which we all were raised.
By building relationships across our differences in QWELL’s decentralized network of small “chosen families,” we experience the humanity of people different from ourselves, reducing feelings of separation and “otherness” and allowing us to consciously address the mental models that shape our attitudes and behaviors. It’s up to all of us to create a local LGBTQIA+ community free from racism and misogyny.