• • • LGBTQ Quality of Life Commission Advisory Board • • •
We NEED you to apply
This is long, but important, please read on
IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING
On July 22 the consulting firm chosen by the City to do the LGBTQ+ Quality of Life study kicked off the effort with a virtual community forum we wrote about in your July newsletter. We have had a number of articles in the newsletter over the last couple of years leading up to this moment but it might be important as the study actually gets started to highlight a couple of basic points:
- Why is the Quality of Life study important?
- How can I be involved?
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT ?
The purpose of a quality of life study is to define the important characteristics/ demographics of the population and identify their most significant issues - that could also be described as the barriers they face to the enjoyment of full equality in the community. We all know that the demographics of our community have always been a mystery – after all, for many of us living beneath the radar has at various times been a necessary life skill. How many of us are there? How do we make a living? How does our “quality of life” differ from the community as a whole? Just as with the census, this information is more than numbers; it will drive decisions on the allocation of resources and the delivery of important services.
The City has previously conducted quality of life studies for the African-American, Hispanic and, most recently, the Asian-American populations in Austin. The importance of these studies was demonstrated in the Asian-American study by the City’s commitment of resources to address the identified health disparities before the study was even completed.
Highly visible symbols of all three of these communities are the several “cultural centers” that serve a variety of needs. Though these studies were not the sole cause for the culture centers’ development they undeniably played a positive role. A culture/community center was identified as a major goal in the original community discussion that led to the organization of the Coalition on Aging because of its potential for uniting the LGBTQ+ community in Austin. The Quality of Life study will reveal whether such a center is a priority for the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.
HOW CAN I BE INVOLVED ?
At the kickoff for this effort the consultants announced that they would form an Advisory Board to guide their efforts in getting input from all segments of our community. They also identified “seniors” as one of the groups they expected to have difficulty reaching based on their experience with similar projects. The plan is for the Advisory Board to meet with the consulting firm four times over the course of the study.
An application for the Advisory Board can be found at
While the original application did not include a question on age, we were able to get that included. And there is also an opportunity to mention service to the senior community in the question about why you would like to serve on the Advisory Board.
WE URGE YOU TO DO SO TO HELP ENSURE THAT THE SENIOR LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY IS APPROPRIATELY REPRESENTED.
The deadline for submitting an application is
5pm on Wednesday Aug 12.
The LGBTQ+ senior community faces some challenges that are not easily apparent to others:
- social isolation that negatively impacts both mental and physical health;
- a dwindling support group of friends that is often not offset by the support of family;
- economic displacement, as the cost of living in Austin outpaces fixed incomes, from long-time residences to apartments or houses in suburbs that are often less LGBTQ+ welcoming;
- lack of diversity awareness/acceptance in service providers from health care to living facilities.
These challenges are often not recognized or understood by other age groups and are exacerbated by a number of factors for LGBTQ+ seniors in comparison to the senior population as a whole. Your unique perspective on these challenges makes it important for you to be involved to ensure that this study appropriately tells our story.
Should you have trouble completing the application or desire any additional information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.