A brand new analysis of more than 100 studies and academic journals, combined with feedback from thousands of people across the country, is presenting a clearer picture than ever before of the U.S. LGBT community.
The project is called Our Tomorrow, and will provide 125 nonprofit foundations and other partner groups with new data to better engage lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other gender-nonconforming and questioning individuals across the country.
Those partner groups range from GLAAD, to the National LGBTQ Task Force, to local groups nationwide. Funding is provided by the Arcus Foundation, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the Ford Foundation, the Johnson Family Foundation, and the Palette Fund.
By canvassing at Pride and other events in 40 cities this summer, survey organizer Hattaway Communications has already culled 6,000 submissions, and welcomes more through its website -- shareourtomorrow.org -- through August 17.
So far, the researchers' analysis of diversity has revealed that more than half of the American LGBT community lives in the South and Midwest, where, as The Advocate reported last week, most states have no legal protections from discrimination in housing, employment, or accommodation.
"This campaign is designed to shine the spotlight and offer inspiration to people in the movement to address the needs of the community," Doug Hattaway, President of Hattaway Communications, and himself an out and proud member of the community, tells The Advocate.
The bulk of the project focuses on hopes, fears, and ideas. One telling statistic shows only 18 percent of the LGBT community describe themselves as "very happy" compared to 30 percent of the general public.
"We were surprised to see this 'happiness gap,'" Hattaway tells The Advocate. "Given all the positive conversation over victories with marriage, it was sobering to see people don't see their lives positively."
That statistic is borne out by some of the thousands of submissions, like this one from Lisa of Washington State:
"I worry that as we make great strides in growing acceptance for the queer community that the focus remains on the gay and lesbian community. This focus will continue to allow rejection and discrimination for those that are bisexual, transgender or somewhere outside of the norm on the gender spectrum."
Another contributor to the survey, who asked to remain anonymous, wrote:
"I fear that I'll not be able to work as long as I need to and I'll become homeless. I won't have enough financial resources."
But it's not all doom and gloom. Hopes and ideas were also solicited. Darren in Colorado wrote:
"One thing our community can do to make our tomorrow brighter is to do more to reach out to diverse sectors and include them. Also listen to their stories and educate ourselves on different cultures.
You can add your hopes, fears and ideas to the survey here. Go to Menu, then click Share Your Voice.