Homelessness, health care are priorities for LGBTQ Texans, study finds


A recent statewide study identified homelessness and limited access to clinically competent medical care as some of the main issues affecting members of the LGBTQ community in Texas. 

Texas Pride Impact Funds funded the statewide study on the broad scope of needs for members of LGBTQ communities. The foundation held a town hall to discuss the findings Wednesday evening. 

Foundation members said the 2017 IMPACT! Texas Needs Assessment study is the first-ever statewide effort to assess the needs of Texas LGBTQ communities.

Researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas collected data through surveys, census data, focus groups and interviews with leaders of the LGBTQ community in Texas. 

LGBTQ organizations throughout the state also answered questions about the types of services they provide, client demographics, revenue and funding priorities.

The study surveyed more than 850 people and found: 

  • 52 percent of respondents under 30 have experienced homelessness. 
  • 43 percent of respondents under 30 postponed medical care due to insufficient resources. 
  • 30 percent of respondents said they hadn’t disclosed their gender identity or sexual orientation to their healthcare providers. 
  • Respondents under 28 and over 55 reported high levels of poor mental health. 

Kara Sutton, a lead researcher, said healthcare is a “huge problem.” When she and her team asked respondents to pick the issues that worried them the most out of a list of 40 topics, 70 percent said health was the top one. 

“This was a lot higher than I think any of us were expecting,” she said. “And the problem is that the second highest-rated issue was LGBT cultural competency or competent care.”

Her team found that lack of access to routine care also correlated to the lack of competent care.

  “What we were hearing was the difference between friendly care and clinically competent care,” Sutton said. “Someone might be courteous to you as a doctor, but they might not be clinically trained to treat needs specific to the LGBT or transgender community.”

Sutton said they wanted to hear from community members and organizations about their needs.

Some findings from 78 LGBTQ organizations surveyed include:

  • 50 percent of the organizations that responded were formed in the last 23 years.
  • 77 percent of organizations in Central Texas did not deliver transgender mental health services.
  • There is high staff shortage and turnover. 

A 36-page summary was released to town hall attendees, but the over 300-page report will be released June 20 on the organization’s website.


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