The National LGBTQ+ Women*s Community Survey recently launched, a community-based research and organizing effort to learn from the experiences of women who partner with other women and gather groundbreaking data. Garnering thousands of respondents to date, this unique effort is led by veteran queer, lesbian, bi, trans, nonbinary, researchers and activists. The survey is designed to discover all we know and do not know about the life experience of LGBTQ+ women who partner with women. Aiming for 20,000 participants at www.lgbtqwomensurvey.org, the deadline for the study has been extended into 2022.

Comprised of more than 100 questions, the project team seeks a holistic understanding of how LGBTQ+ women self-identify, what they experience, and what it is like to live as a LGBTQ+ woman now, in 2021. The initiative's goal is to ensure that LGBTQ+ women who partner with womxn are better understood across a vibrant range of genders, ages, races, and sexual and material experiences. The research effort aims to highlight and interject issues affecting LGBTQ+ women who partner with other women in the policy and service agendas of queer and social justice organizations.

Justice Work, the think-tank and action lab led by former National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Urvashi Vaid, organized the survey project over the past three years, recruiting a team led by Research Director Dr. Jaime Grant. whose ground-breaking work includes the National Transgender Discrimination Study (2011), Principal Investigator Dr. Alyasah Ali Sewell Emory University, Dr. Carla Sutherland, an international and domestic researcher in social policy, and an experienced advisory team of leading LGBTQ+ activists, scholars and researchers.

The Survey was designed through many workshops, conversations, social media outreach and community partnerships with LGBTQ+ organizations to develop a vehicle that allowed us to gain a better understanding of LGBTQ+ women's life experiences in order to ensure that community organizations, healthcare systems, and rights organizations can better serve them, bringing invisible challenges and strengths to light.

“Existing research about LGBTQ+ women excludes so many of us because it's often centered in sexual behavior rather than identity," said Dr. Jaime M. Grant, Research Director of the survey.

“We wanted people to see the full scope of our community - all of us who did, have or do identify as women and/or have partnered with women. Hence, our study has deep, community-centered questions about identity, so that we can see people in all their nuances. We want to be able to report on what's happening in the collective as well as point out specific vulnerabilities"

Urvashi Vaid at the Vaid Group noted: “Queer women's lives are so varied and plural. We want to invite all women who have partnered with other women to share their experience of family, work, life, identity, gender, race, community, discrimination and resilience, and much more. Our goal is to bring forward real life experience to inform policy change, service delivery and action to support LGBTQ+ women."

Dr. Alyasah Ali Sewell, Associate Professor of Sociology at Emory University, serves at the Principal Investigator and data expert on the project, which is being hosted by Emory. Dr. Sewell, whose work has focused on race and policing, notes: “We don't want just the largest sample of LGBTQ+ women's experiences – we need a truly representative sample. We intend to reach into LGBTQ+ women's communities that are largely unseen or dismissed."

The survey is distributed online, available in English and Spanish, and is for anyone who has identified as an LGBTQ+ woman who partners with women at any point in their lives. The survey is also available to distribute to community groups, social networks, book groups, faith communities, sports leagues, support groups, and institutions. All data gathered is completely anonymous and confidential. It is available to take at https://www.lgbtqwomensurvey.org.

HELP CLAIM VISIBILITY FOR QUEER WOMEN!
JOIN THE EFFORT TO GATHER RESPONSES FROM LGBTQ+ WOMEN ACROSS THE US https://www.lgbtqwomensurvey.org
Photo by Sara Dubler on Unsplash

Rejuvenating Thailand


Keep reading Show less
Photo courtesy of The Dinah

The Dinah


Keep reading Show less
Photo courtesty of Cecilie Johnsen on Unsplash

LGBTQ+ Healthcare Issues

The Dobbs decision, otherwise known as the court case that overturned Roe v. Wade, has resulted in confusing medical situations for many patients. On top of affecting access to abortions for straight, cisgender women, it presents heightened risks for LGBTQ+ healthcare as a whole. Flipping the switch on reproductive rights and privacy rights is a far-reaching act that makes quality care harder to find for an already underserved community.

As the fight against the Dobbs decision continues, it’s important to shed light on the full breadth of its impact. We’ll discuss specific ways that the decision can affect LGBTQ+ healthcare and offer strategies for overcoming these challenges.

How the Right to Bodily Privacy Affects LGBTQ+ Healthcare

When the original Roe v. Wade decision was made, the bodily privacy of people across the United States was protected. Now that bodily autonomy is no longer guaranteed, the LGBTQ+ community must brace itself for a potential loss of healthcare rights beyond abortions. This includes services like feminizing and masculinizing hormone therapy (particularly for transgender youth) that conservative lawmakers have been fighting against this year, as well as transition-related procedures. Without privacy, gender-affirming care may be difficult to access without documentation of sex as “proof” of gender.

As essential services for the LGBTQ+ community become more difficult to access, perhaps the most immediate effect we’ll see is eroding trust between healthcare providers and LGBTQ+ patients. When providers aren’t working in the best interest of patients — just like in cases of children and rape victims denied abortions — patients may further avoid preventative care in a community that already faces discrimination in doctor’s offices.

The Dobbs Decision Isn’t Just a Women’s Issue

While the Dobbs decision is often framed as a women's issue — specifically, one that affects cisgender women — it impacts the transgender and non-binary community just as much. All people who are capable of carrying a pregnancy to term have lost at least some ability to choose whether or not to give birth in the U.S.

For transgender and non-binary individuals, this decision comes with the added complexity of body dysmorphia. Without abortion rights, pregnant trans men and some non-binary people may be forced to see their bodies change, and be treated as women by healthcare providers and society as a result.

The Dobbs decision also opens up the possibility for government bodies to determine when life begins — and perhaps even to add legal protections for zygotes and embryos. This puts contraceptives at risk, which could make it more difficult to access gender-affirming care while getting the right contraceptives based on sex for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Overturning Reproductive Rights Puts IVF at Risk

Queer couples that dream of having their own children often have limited options beyond adoption. One such option is in vitro fertilization, or IVF, which involves implanting a fertilized egg into a uterus.

While IVF isn’t directly affected by the Dobbs decision, it could fall into a legal gray area depending on when states determine that life begins. Texas, for example, is already barring abortions as early as six weeks. To reduce embryo destruction, which often occurs when patients no longer want more children, limits could be placed on the number of eggs that can be frozen at once.

Any restrictions on IVF will also affect the availability of surrogacy as an option for building a family.

How Can LGBTQ+ Individuals Overcome Healthcare Barriers?

While the Dobbs decision may primarily impact abortion rights today, its potential to worsen LGBTQ+ healthcare as a whole is jarring. So how can the community be prepared?

If you’re struggling to find LGBTQ+-friendly providers near you, using telemedicine now can be an incredibly effective way to start developing strong relationships with far-away healthcare professionals. Telemedicine eliminates the barrier of geography and can be especially helpful for accessing inclusive primary care and therapy. Be sure to check if your insurance provider covers telemedicine.

If you’re seriously concerned about healthcare access in your area — especially if the Dobbs decision affects your whole state or you need regular in-person services that may be at risk — it may be time to consider moving now. While not everyone has the privilege to do so, relocating gives you the ability to settle in areas where lawmakers better serve your needs. However, this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly, so preparing and making progress on a moving checklist now can help you avoid issues later.

The Dobbs Decision Isn’t LGBTQ+-Friendly

The Supreme Court of the United States has proven the power of its conservative majority with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. However, the effects of the Dobbs decision don’t stop at affecting cisgender women’s abortion rights. In states with bans, it also leads to forced birth for trans men and non-binary individuals. Plus, the Dobbs decision increases the risk of other rights, like hormone therapy and IVF, being taken away.

Taking steps now, whether it’s choosing a virtual provider or considering a move, can help you improve your healthcare situation in the future.