Queer Californians, Please Take This Important Survey!

Annika’s Team Pick:

I love living in San Francisco, but it’s not always easy being queer in the Golden State. LGBTQ Californians still face routine prejudice in schools, the workplace and at the ballot box (Exhibit A: Prop 8). But despite the best efforts of a shrinking intolerant minority, we’re making progress! Earlier this month a petition to overturn the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act failed to collect enough signatures before the deadline to place it on the 2012 ballot. The FAIR Education Act, which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on July 14, is a landmark bill requiring public schools to include the contributions of LGBTQ people, those with disabilities, and people of color in history and social science lessons. In other words, schools will no longer be able to only present the cisgender able-bodied straight white male version of America.  Which, as Sebastian discussed earlier this week, will do more to provide a safer environment for queer students than wearing purple once a year.

The FAIR Education Act is a promising step in the right direction, true social justice in Californian is still a long ways off. Enter the LGBTQ Reducing Disparities Project, which is attempting to document this inequality through a study on the psychological and emotional tolls of discrimination. The project, which is funded by Equality California, is collecting information from LGBTQ Californians through an online survey; the results of which will have a direct impact on how mental health services are operated in the state.

Daniel Gould at Equality California explains more:

“This survey is for any Californian who is or might be LGBTQ, as well as parents/guardians of LGBTQ individuals. We particularly want to be sure we reach people whose cultural, ethnic, and racial community traditions have other ways of describing sexual orientation and gender identity, such as same-gender-loving and Two-Spirit.  It is vital that we show the true diversity of California in this survey! 

This groundbreaking, community-based research project will document the inequalities and discrimination faced by LGBTQ people which negatively effect mental wellness. The resulting report to the California Department of Mental Health will include recommendations for eliminating the disparities LGBTQ people experience.  This historic report will be shared with LGBTQ communities in the spring of 2012 and disseminated to health and human service providers throughout the state. 

This project is presented by the California LGBT Health and Human Services Network through a collaborative arrangement with Equality California Institute and Mental Health America Northern California funded by the Mental Health Services Act.”

So if you live in California, please take 15 minutes to make your voice heard! The link to the survey is: http://tinyurl.com/LGBTReducingDisparities

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I'm a 23 year old femme lesbian living in SF. Once upon a time, I was a USC frat boy ;) I ♥ music so please recommend your favorite artists to me!

annika has written 21 articles for us.


  1. This is a really well done survey. I was very surprised and happy. (I did notice one edge case not covered in one question, but that’s it.) That said, it took me a hell of a lot more than 15 minutes. :-P

    Of course, that might have been because there were two questions that made me think for five minutes or so each.

    For me:
    * When did you come out to yourself about your gender identity?
    * When did you come out to others about your sexual orientation?

    What does coming out to myself mean? It’s never like I didn’t know, I just tried not to think about it / thought there was anything I could do about it.

    And what does coming out to my family as a lesbian mean when everyone always assumed I liked girls even though that always seemed weird to me that people would assume that? Do I just put age 0? I don’t even know how to answer that question. I find myself *wishing* sometimes that I had a chance to come out about my sexual orientation normally, then I feel stupid for wishing that.

    Surveys where I write down the answers to certain questions and then read them and feel sad are hard surveys. The big one was the difference between the numbers for the my answers to coming out to myself vs. coming out to someone else.

    Life is more interesting than I would prefer sometimes.

    • Yeah, a lot of these topics seemed really like they could be really complicated “but I could write a book about that” type responses. (But of course, that feeling seems telling about our uh… state of affairs.) Anyway, for the most part, I felt they provided a reasonable opportunity to expand on a lot things.

      Overall, super well done, and it felt important. Like this is going to get shit done.

  2. I also live in SF and filling out this survey made me so grateful of that fact. One of the easiest things I’ve ever done was finding a psychiatrist in the Castro. The only bad thing is now instead of talking about my problems I’m just like “ugh you’re so cool” as he clicks on his Blackberry to book my next appointment.

  3. Very thorough survey. And as was mentioned above, it took longer than 15 minutes. For me anyway. Overall, I was very pleased.

  4. Fantastic, I really appreciated how aware/conscientious they were. And I really look forward to hearing about their eventual results.

    And yeah, let me tell you, this survey just further highlighted how dramatic the move from Berkeley to Ohio (for college) was. I had zero problem finding queer-positive mental health care in the Bay Area. Ohio has been a really different story (even at my supposedly super queer-positive school).

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