"We Never Give Up the Fight": Los Angeles LGBT Center Releases the First Full Report of the National LGBTQ+ Women's Community Survey
LGBTQ+ women in the study endure very high rates of disability and exposure to intimate partner violence with experiences multiplying in their partnerships with other LGBTQ+ women
LOS ANGELES, October 12-Today, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, in partnership with Justice Work and 120 partner organizations, released the first full report from the largest and most comprehensive survey on LGBTQ+ women who partner with women in the United States.
The study, "We Never Give Up the Fight": A Report of the National LGBTQ+ Women's Community Survey," represents the expansiveness of its community and uses its findings to strengthen movements and shift policy agendas, with the hopes of increasing funding streams where needed most. The report can be viewed here.
"The Los Angeles LGBT Center is proud to partner with a research coalition dedicated to casting light on the disproportionate burdens facing LGBTQ+ women today," said Terra Russell-Slavin, the Center's Chief Impact Officer. "In a time when our communities are under constant legislative attack, it is more important than ever that we continue our fight toward queer liberation and equality-while bringing the community's everyday issues to the forefront of consciousness," she added.
The Survey Project was launched by the late activist Urvashi Vaid, a champion of LGBTQ+ rights whose work shaped the advances of AIDS advocacy and prison reform for over four decades. This report publishes the researchers' full findings, building off the initial report released in June 2023. Vaid's long-time collaborator, Dr. Jaime M. Grant co-authored the report in partnership with the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
"The bad news is that institutions fail us," said Dr. Grant. "But the very good news is, our friends and queer community step up-and help us live the lives we deserve. LGBTQ+ women represent the most critical and least lauded safety net in our lives, and our community organizations and policy-makers need to consider how we are resourcing and supporting queer friendship networks and sociality," added Grant.
The report analyzes the responses of 8,000+ LGBTQ+ women who answered nearly 170 questions in a national community survey fielded from respondents across the country. While more than 8,000 respondents engaged with the survey, 5,002 women answered all of the questions posed.
The 170-question survey found discrimination and abuse in crucial institutions in the lives of LGBTQ+ women-from their religious traditions and authority figures to K-12 schools, law enforcement, and shelters. Over and over, respondents cited their friends as crucial to their safety and survival.
The report also found that half of respondents were managing some form of disability and nearly half were exposed to intimate partner violence.
As articulated by Dr. Jaime M. Grant, the report names the key drivers of discrimination and violence against LGBTQ+ women, including:
- Sexism (by 38% of respondents), followed by racism (34%), anti-LGBTQ+ animus (26%), and weight-based targeting (18%).
- 47% of respondents had experienced intimate partner violence (IPV)-emotional, physical, or sexual. By contrast, 1 in 3 women in the general population experience IPV.
- Only 20% of respondents experiencing emotional or physical violence sought institutional support. Among survivors interacting with police, 54% found that the police were "not helpful at all."
- LGBTQ+ women in the study endure very high rates of disability (50%) and exposure to intimate partner violence (47%). Their experiences of this then multiply in their partnerships with other LGBTQ+ women.
- BIPOC women reported fluid and changing genders and sexualities more often than their white peers in the study, thus bearing multilayered vulnerabilities due to the combined effects of racism and sexism alongside that fluidity.
- In naming their three favorite things about being an LGBTQ+ woman, embodied self-determination and the joy of living and loving in community with queers and especially other LGBTQ+ women were paramount.
Report Co-Author Dr. Alyasah Ali Sewell, founder of Emory University's Critical Racism Data Lab, created the ground-breaking methodology for the data collection effort, which will allow future researchers to examine the data set across race, class, education, region, employment, displacement, and other key variables.
The report includes findings on several key topics covered by the study, including gender and sexuality across the lifespan, education, disability, experiences of intimate partner violence, religious upbringing and religious life, sexual practices and joy, and policy priorities.
Carla Sutherland, Executive Director of Justice Work, said, "This report is an important next step to making data from our groundbreaking study available to gender justice organizers, advocates and researchers. The study offers critical insights into the lives, needs, and priorities of LGBTQ+ women at a scale that allows for meaningful intersectional analysis across key social lenses such as gender, sexuality, age, race, and class. Our online data portal (lgbtqwomensurvey.org) allows registered users to access the results of the entire study, and to further explore questions of specific interest or concern."
About the Los Angeles LGBT Center
Since 1969 the Los Angeles LGBT Center has cared for, championed, and celebrated LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond. Today the Center's nearly 800 employees provide services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world, offering programs, services, and global advocacy that span four broad categories: Health, Social Services and Housing, Culture and Education, Leadership and Advocacy. We are an unstoppable force in the fight against bigotry and the struggle to build a better world; a world in which LGBT people thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society. Learn more at lalgbtcenter.org.