Supporting the Cape and Islands LGBTQ Community
The GALE Fund Survey

The GALE Fund Survey

 

In late spring of 2011 the GALE Fund conducted an on line survey to gauge our community characteristics and the issues closest to our hearts.  We had some issues publicizing it, and the survey engine accepted only one response per computer IP address, so the results were not as broad-based as we hoped, but still of great interest as we move forward.  Forty one responses were obtained.

 

  • Respondents tended to be female (63%), but there were three transgender respondents (7%) with the balance from males. 
  • The majority (49%) were from Mid-Cape, followed by Lower/Outer-Cape (34%) and Upper Cape (17%).  We had no responses from Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard or off-cape.
  • The majority identified as lesbian (46%), followed by gay (27%) and heterosexual (15%), with 12% identifying as bisexual, transgender or bisexual with a preference.
  • Surprisingly, 59% were in the 40-62 age groups, with 37% older and only 4% younger (only one teenager responded).
  • Only 29 % identified as single, with the balance married, widowed or in a stable relationship: 46% were married to a spouse of the same gender. 
  • The great majority were graduates of college or advanced degree programs (76%). 
  • Income data suggested that only a very few might be considered to be living in poverty (discounting the teen living with two parents), while 28% had incomes of greater than $100,000 per year.

 

The most important questions dealt with information sources and services related to LGBT issues.  Most people rely on friends, partners, LGBT organizations, the internet, LGBT media/publications, religious groups and newspapers for information on Cape and Islands LGBT issues.  Very few rely on clubs, bars, counselors, school, radio or heterosexual friends for information, and none claimed to use health care providers, telephone hotlines, social service agencies or cable/broadcast media for information about the community.  Two said that the GALE Fund was their main link to LGBT news on the Cape.

 

In a question asking which issues were most important, the overwhelming response was related to LGBT youth and elder issues:

  • safety for LGBT youth in schools (67%)
  • support and services for LGBT elders (59%) 
  • support for LGBT youth (41%)
  • support for parents of LGBT youth (33%)
  • The question asked for the three most important issues without ranking them, so these figures do not add up to 100%.  In the third rank, (18-21%) were access to LGBT-issue legal services, LGBT-welcoming health care and services for people living with HIV/AIDS.

 

The question was re-phrased as which three New or Additional services were needed, and support/services for LGBT elders rose to the top (56%), followed by strengthening current LGBT organizations (44%) and the three LGBT youth issues (38, 26 and 28% respectively).  Increasing access to LGBT-welcoming health care (23%), affordable LBGT-welcoming housing, Legal services and domestic violence prevention in the LGBT community (each at 13%) also figured in this ranking.  Transgender awareness and support was a write-in issue, and one respondent urged a greater linkage with other at-risk communities (people of color, immigrants, differently-abled) to heighten integration with the larger community.

 

It is a little risky to place too much emphasis on a small sampling like this but it does point out an overall concern for at-risk LGBT or questioning youth and LGBT elders. There was a more pronounced interest/concern that the T portion of LGBT not be minimized.

 

We expect to repeat the survey or portions of it soon with better publicity to assemble a broader database as we revise our funding priorities.  With only one teen respondent, it is difficult to place too much weight on the poor showing of schools and counselors as sources of information, for example.  The Advisory Board and Grants Committee had already determined to seek more proposals from Cape and Islands GSAs in the next funding cycles, and it seems that proposals related to LGBT elders would also be quite interesting to our community.  Stay tuned for the next phase of the survey and encourage everyone to let their voices be heard.

 

 

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