LGBT fund­ing is­sues in the South

GA Voice - - Georgia News -

Soon after the In­sti­tute opened last fall, the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s pro­gram­ming board got busy meet­ing to iden­tify the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s core ar­eas of em­pha­sis, which turned out to be ed­u­ca­tion and em­ploy­ment, pub­lic health and well­ness, and crim­i­nal jus­tice and safety. Since then, the In­sti­tute has been host­ing com­mu­nity events where the pub­lic has been join­ing stake­holder groups in those three ar­eas to fur­ther the dis­cus­sion and pin­point more pre­cisely the com­mu­nity’s great­est needs.

Armed with that in­for­ma­tion, Dr. Eric Wright, chair of the so­ci­ol­ogy de­part­ment at GSU, and a team of re­searchers will now ex­am­ine it even fur­ther to de­velop ques­tions for the sur­vey that will be dis­trib­uted to LGBT South­ern­ers this fall.

“By fos­ter­ing this re­search, we will gain a more com­plete un­der­stand­ing of the sys­tem-

May 27, 2016

ic chal­lenges fac­ing LGBT com­mu­ni­ties and op­por­tu­ni­ties to create lived equal­ity among LGBT South­ern­ers,” said Ryan Roe­mer­man, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute.

Mean­while, they will be fan­ning out across the South to con­nect with and re­cruit a va­ri­ety of LGBT or­ga­ni­za­tions to reach out to LGBT South­ern­ers and con­stituen­cies that they have ac­cess to in or­der for them to par­tic­i­pate in the sur­vey.

“Our goal would be to then share that data back with them that they could then use for fund­ing or ad­di­tional re­search or po­ten­tially even us­ing it for pol­icy,” Roe­mer­man said.

But that magic word—fund­ing—hasn’t been an easy thing to come by, de­spite the South hav­ing the largest LGBT pop­u­la­tion and the most press­ing needs.

“Equal­ity re­quires poli­cies that re­flect and sup­port LGBT peo­ple as equal cit­i­zens. The prob­lem, es­pe­cially in the South, is that the re­search needed to se­cure these poli­cies is not of­ten funded,” said Wright in a state­ment. “In fact, only 2 per­cent of na­tional LGBT fund­ing went to re­search in the South com­pared to 9 per­cent na­tion­ally. That’s a real op­por­tu­nity for progress con­sid­er­ing more than three in 10 LGBT adults live in the South.”

When asked why he thinks the South is un­der­funded on LGBT is­sues, Roe­mer­man says it has to do with the com­mu­nity’s sto­ries not be­ing told. The part­ner­ship is one way he hopes to bring those sto­ries to light.

“Statis­tics, re­search, those are im­por­tant ways we can re­frame and re­shape nar­ra­tives that can dis­man­tle sys­tems that pro­mote dis­crim­i­na­tion,” he said. “I’m op­ti­mistic that the sur­vey re­sults might show that there’s a lot of re­silience in the South, that peo­ple have been able to do a lot with a lit­tle.”

The sur­vey will take place for a cou­ple months, dur­ing which the aca­demic sym­po­sium will be held. Ex­perts on LGBT is­sues from around the South and the na­tion will join there to fur­ther the dia­logue. And pro­jec­tions are for the re­lease of pre­lim­i­nary find­ings by the end of the year, so that there will be an­other tool to tackle the needs and is­sues of the LGBT South in 2016.

“The South is a place that a ma­jor­ity of LGBT peo­ple call home and I think that’s be­cause we do like the South,” Roe­mer­man said. “The South is a great place to live and grow, but I do think that we know there’s chal­lenges. So through these sur­veys we want to iden­tify what those chal­lenges are, what are some paths that or­ga­ni­za­tions who have been work­ing on these is­sues for decades or more [have taken], and what kinds of tools can we pro­vide them.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.