Nearly 300 American businesses, organizations and groups led by or serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people completed the inaugural LGBTQ Safe Spaces Protection Project National Needs Assessment survey so far. The online survey, conducted by the New York City Anti-Violence Project and Strength in Numbers Consulting Group, measured anti-LGBTQ hate incidents against LGBTQ spaces, businesses and organizations across the U.S. This report represents a preliminary snapshot of data collected between Dec. 13, 2022 and Jan. 18, 2023. The survey is still open for LGBTQ businesses and groups to respond.
(New York) After a year marred by anti-LGBTQ legislation, dangerous disinformation and hateful targeting of our spaces and community members, a new survey conducted by the New York City Anti-Violence Project and Strength in Numbers Consulting Group illuminates a dark picture of the shocking prevalence and intensity of anti-LGBTQ hate incidents toward LGBTQ groups across the country.
“It’s maddeningly unfortunate and sadly expected the amount of anti-LGBTQ hate our fellow organizations reported in the survey,” says New York City Anti-Violence Project Executive Director Beverly Tillery. “Across the country, we knew that LGBTQ spaces and communities were facing threats, now we know so much more about what they are facing and what help they need.”
The data collected via online survey between December 13 and January 18, 2023, shows that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-owned or serving businesses, organizations and spaces faced an onslaught of harmful, hateful and sometimes violent incidents in 2022. Around 60% of respondents experienced at least one anti-LGBTQ hate incident, and the majority experienced more than one.
“For the first time we have a qualitative and quantitative look at anti-LGBTQ hate experienced by organizations nationwide,” says President and Lead Researcher of Strength in Numbers Consulting Group Dr. Somjen Frazer. “What we know now because of this is that our LGBTQ spaces are facing a crisis of hate that they’re under-resourced to overcome.”
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AVP shared this preliminary data for the first time at Creating Change 2023 in San Francisco, California. The survey remains open for businesses and organizations that have not yet reported and is available on the LGBTQ Safe Spaces Protection Project website. AVP encourages all LGBTQ+/SGL owned or serving businesses, groups and organizations to take the survey and report any and all incidents from 2022, to be included in the final report expected to be released in late Spring 2023
Key Takeaways from the LGBTQ Safe Spaces National Needs Assessment Preliminary Data Snapshot:
- Around three out of five participating organizations experienced at least one anti-LGBTQ hate incident in 2022. Incidents included a mix of in-person, online and phone threats, often happening more than once or in a series.
- While some organizations report helpful interactions with police when called, most did not report incidents to police – and many organizations report that their incidents were not investigated by police. Police investigated less than half of the reported instances of harassing phone calls or hate mail, and mostly filed reports on vandalism cases. Protests and harassment outside of physical locations were rarely investigated.
- LGBTQ organizations overwhelmingly need much more training and technology to face hate violence but don’t have the resources they need to implement them. More than seven in ten organizations want physical changes to harden or secure their space, while 3 out 4 want additional training.
- More than 90% of LGBTQ organizations report the fear of additional anti-LGBTQ hate occurring
Find additional preliminary results from the survey in the factsheet below.
To connect with AVP or partner organizations for interviews or further details. email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the LGBTQ Safe Spaces Protection Project:
The LGBTQ Safe Spaces Protection Project is a nationwide initiative led by the New York City Anti-Violence Project to identify the scope and breadth of the anti-LGBTQ hate threats and violence our safe spaces face. This landmark effort engages local, regional and national LGBTQ businesses, organizations and groups to report their experiences with hate violence to help our communities define and drive community-led policy changes. The LGBTQ Safe Spaces National Needs Assessment is still accepting responses from organizations to be included in the final report analysis.
The New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) is an expert in building programs and solutions to help keep LGBTQ and HIV-affected people safe. For 40 years, AVP has championed the safety of our communities through direct client support, legal and political advocacy and community organizing. We are dedicated to uplifting our communities, centering those most marginalized, and dismantling the systems of oppression and layers of violence that disproportionally affect us every day. We uphold and protect LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors of violence through trauma-informed programming and services that respectfully engage the nuance and diversity of our community’s lived experiences. We are steadfast in addressing and changing the underlying root causes of violence to empower our communities to thrive.
Preliminary LGBTQ Safe Spaces National Needs Assessment Data Summary
Note: This is an early data release from the Safe Spaces Protection Project, and the data or analysis reflected here may change in the final report.
Survey Introduction & Respondent Overview
Parameters & Methodology
- Survey was built in record time in response to the growing threats and incidents of hate violence across the nation.
- The survey response was online only
- 276 US-based, LGBTQ+ organizations took the survey between December 12, 2022 and January 18, 2023
- Organizations representing the following categories were surveyed:
- LGBTQ-owned businesses, or that primarily target/serve the LGBTQ community
- LGBTQ serving healthcare, social services organizations
- LGBTQ serving community centers
- LGBTQ college & university groups
- LGBTQ-focused houses of worship, faith groups
- Online-only organizations did not answer questions about physical threats
- AVP representatives conducted phone and email outreach preceding and during the mentioned data collection period to eligible organizations identified via internet or community resources
Type of Organization or Business
- Respondents made up of various types of LGBTQ spaces, places and organizations.
- Nearly half of the organizations (45%) were healthcare, social service agencies or community centers
- Informal or formal groups were the next highest group, followed by houses of worship.
- Most organizations served the general LGBTQ population (72% approx.)
- Around one in ten serve primarily youth.
- Eight in ten of responding organizations are either in their own permanent physical location or co-located with another organization.
- One out of five are online-only organizations with no physical spaces.
- Around 1 in 10 borrow or visit non-LGBTQ-specific spaces.
- The majority of responding organizations came from cities, bearing similarities to the population distribution of the country.
- Responding organizations were well represented across Census Regions, with the highest response in the Northeast (where AVP is based)
Easy to Identify
- Most organizations surveyed indicated that they are very or somewhat easy to identify as LGBTQ+ organizations, while around ¼ of organizations reported being somewhat or very difficult to identify as LGBTQ+
- Organizations surveyed were of various sizes, as measured by the size of paid and volunteer workforces.
- One in ten were larger organizations with more than 25 people, while one in four had zero or one paid staff member.
- Just over a third of organizations surveyed reported a large volunteer base of 25 or higher.
National Needs Assessment Key Facts
Key Point 1: Around three out of five participating organizations experienced at least one anti-LGBTQ hate incident.
- Most of those were serial incidents, meaning more than one incident of the same type.
- While more experienced online violence than phone or in-person violence, nearly half of the respondents that experienced violence reported receiving both online and in-person/via phone.
- Three out of four organizations reporting anti-LGBTQ+ violence online received hateful social media messages.
- Out of organizations that had a physical presence or premises, one in four received hate mail, or suspicious or threatening packages, and one in five experienced protests.
- Half of the protests reported by reporting organizations were led by white nationalist/white supremacist anti-LGBTQ groups like the Proud Boys
Key point 2: While some organizations report helpful interactions with police when called, most did not report incidents to police – and those that did report few investigations.
- Many organizations opted not to report incidents to the police for various reasons.
- Those who did report to the police had mixed experiences. About as many organizations found the police helpful as found them unhelpful. Property damage incidents and harassment were most likely to be investigated.
- Police investigated fewer than half of the cases of harassing phone calls and hate mail.
- They filed reports in 63% of vandalism cases, but only around 40% of threats and harassment outside of the building, and in the case of protests, investigations were too few to enumerate.
Key Point 3: LGBTQ organizations need much more training and technology to face hate and violence, but don’t have the resources they need to implement them.
- Nearly half of the organizations utilize check-in measures, security cameras and training, around a quarter more would if they had the resources available.
- About a third of organizations (37.4%) have paid or volunteer security presence, but 60.2% more want it. Only a quarter have preparations for active shooter situations, but an additional half want them if they had resources.
- One in 20 has bulletproof glass, but half of all organizations who don’t have it would get it if they could.
- Seven out of ten organizations would improve their physical security with changes.
- Three out of four want additional training.
Key Point 4: 90% of LGBTQ organizations report the fear of future anti-LGBTQ hate occurring.
- The majority of responding organizations fear either more online hate or more threats of violence in their location in the future.
- Around 40%are concerned about physical violence happening to one of their staff members, protests or harassment inside their space, 60% fear harassment outside their space.