In 2015, GEAE developed an LGBT needs assessment survey to determine what perceptions were regarding services available in the Erie area. 184 people participated in this survey both in person and through a link on our website.
Two specific demographics are highlighted here:
Of all the 184 participants, only three people of color participated and the median age was 42. Gender identification was mostly split between males and females, with a small sampling of participants who identified as transgender or genderqueer, as noted in 2nd chart above. Participants lived in various geographic areas in the region, but most of the participants were from Erie City, Millcreek, and some outlining areas such as Edinboro and Corry.
The survey covered a lot of areas, from services for LGB & T community members to connections within the community, and gaining an understanding of safety issues. Many of the questions were based on the Human Right Campaign Municipality Equality Index for each city which examines local laws, employment, health services, and. Erie’s 2014 MEI can be found here.
Erie scores at 57 out of 100 in the following areas at that time in the following areas
Legal protections and available housing
Here is a sampling of some of the findings:
|Questions||% Not Met||% Somewhat Met||% Met||% Unsure|
|Does the Greater Erie area have LGB-competent health care services?||16.8||42.4||10.9||29.9|
|Does the Greater Erie area have LGB-competent mental health services for youth?||28.3||29.9||5.4||36.4|
|Does the Greater Erie area have somewhere to get advice for trans-related legal issues?||37.9||18.1||1.6||42.3|
|Is there LGBT-competent medical/nursing/rehabilitation services for older adults?||39.4||16.1||3.9||40.6|
This table above shows a sampling of the questions from our survey. One significant point is that while several questions discuss health and services for LGB community members, many questions were separated out to specifically address the needs of the transgender population. Other questions focused on the specific needs of the senior and youth populations.
Another significant area of concern in the study was the possible need for a community center. The following chart addresses the answers relating to these questions:
While we recognize that talking about the implementation of the issue might skew the results to be more favorable, it is clear that more discussions are needed to determine the feasibility of a center and what that would look like for the Erie community.
What makes the results startling is that many people checked the Unsure or Unknown box for many questions, possibly demonstrating that we don’t necessarily know what needs are being met for people outside of our immediate scope. Perhaps gaining a better understanding of our entire community, their needs and their service providers, will help all of us to advocate for each person who is in need. We are hoping that continuing education, advocacy, and outreach will help fill in these gaps. Later in February 2017, an LGBT roundtable will meet to further discuss how to move forward.
It is GEAE’s intention to work with various organizations, government officials, community partners and businesses, to increase our MEI through continued and new services and opportunities through inroads with current and incoming administrations, particularly for the local administration who will be heading to the mayor’s office and city council this coming November.
We wish to thank the participants and all the volunteers who helped make this needs assessment a reality. We will continue to analyze the results and post them here, as a continuing effort to serve Erie and Erie County.