Damien Center and Community Partners Release Report on Critical LGBTQ+ Needs within the Indianapolis Community


June 17, 2020


For Media

INDIANAPOLIS (June 17, 2020) – Today, Damien Center and its partners revealed the results of a needs assessment survey conducted this spring among LGBTQ+ community members living in Indianapolis. Released during Pride Month 2020 in Indianapolis, the report identifies critical needs, opportunities for improvement, and gaps in available services that presently exist for persons who identify as LGBTQ+ in the Greater Indianapolis area.

While a variety of needs emerged, the majority of survey participants said access to healthcare and mental healthcare, youth support, and hate crime protections ranked as the most important issues needing to be addressed. “LGBTQ+ people face discrimination on multiple fronts and may often lack the needed resources to overcome barriers to achieving success,” explained Alan Witchey, president and CEO of Damien Center. “The findings show a critical need to decrease health inequities and under and unemployment, while increasing educational attainment, basic needs, and social connectedness.”

The report also underscores the importance of creating an LGBTQ+ community center located in Indianapolis, a vision shared among Damien and partner organizations like Indiana Youth Group (IYG). “IYG provides services and resources to youths ages 12-20,” explained IYG CEO Chris Paulsen. “It is important that young adults continue to have access to such life-saving and enriching services and resources as they age out of IYG. The new community center will provide the support needed as they grow to become self-sufficient adults."

The needs assessment survey was developed with input from Damien Center and IYG, along with Indy Pride, GenderNexus, Indy Rainbow Chamber, the IUPUI LGBTQ+ Center, and OutCare Health. Each organization distributed the survey throughout their respective networks in February and March, resulting in 682 responses from LGBTQ+ community members.

Highlights of the survey’s findings include:

  • Nearly one-third of those surveyed rated their overall health as fair or poor. Of those who identify as transgender, half rated their overall health as fair or poor.
  • 30% struggle with having enough money to visit a doctor, and 27% struggle to pay for medication.
  • 1 in 5 respondents feel depressed most days, and a total of 145 have attempted suicide at some point in their life.
  • 17% have experienced homelessness.
  • 2 in 5 struggle to earn enough money to pay bills, while 16% said they have difficulties getting a job or a better job with a living wage due to their LGBTQ+ identity.
  • 38% say they don’t feel safe being out in the workplace, and only 28% believe that work culture is LGBTQ+ friendly in Central Indiana.
  • 44% report being harassed, threatened, or attacked in the last year for being LGBTQ+.

Another important finding is that 91% of those surveyed believe creating safe places for LGBTQ+ adults to congregate and build social networks is important. The majority of participants said, if made available, they would personally take advantage of a safe place for social support and community building, events like game night or movie night, or a casual meeting space like a coffee shop for business meetings.

Damien Center and its partner organizations hope the results of the survey create greater awareness of the need for LGBTQ+ culturally competent services and specifically the need for a community center. Leadership is planning a second phase of the needs assessment to consider the impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ+ community in the fall.

A full copy of the LGBTQ+ needs assessment survey report can be downloaded here: http://www.damien.org/survey/