Finally, what question should I have asked?
This is one of my favorite questions in the #AMPLIFY survey. I have used this information to modify the questions as the project has unfolded. As I look over the responses now to consider how to incorporate even more suggestions in to the survey, I thought I would share some of responses with our readers.
A few thing strike me about the suggestions. Note that I did not edit the responses even for grammar, spelling, etc.
First, there is a theme on how our community is structured. Do we create spaces/events/programs that include and celebrate people? Are we excluding our own? Are we having these conversations about QTPOC, parents (especially single parents), elders and people who are closeted when we plan and prioritize?
“How can white, allosexual, cisgender LGB people make the community safer for POC, asexual, intersex, and trans and nobinary people?”
“Why has the LGBTQIA community not made any markable strides along race issues.”
“What is not readily available for LGBTQIA+ communities?”
“How can we find a way to unify all the different organizations in the city that are here for the LGBTQ community???”
“What is your favorite LGBTQ event held in Pittsburgh?”
“How do you feel about the resources on starting a family in the LGBTQ community?”
“more culturally specific questions”
“Something about intersectionality?”
“Has any other groups in the LGBTQ community ever discriminate against you (your group)?”
“Have you ever faced discrimination within the LGBT community and how well do u feel connected with community as a whole?”
“Do you think the LGBTQ community is a stronger force today, versus fifty years ago?”
Second, I see a recurring theme of introspection – are LGBTQ folks reflecting on their own privilege and how they engage the world? Are we giving any thought to how we change the world as individuals?
“What are you (me) doing to help or hurt the LGBTQ community in western pa?”
“Do you think all people who are gay know they are gay or could be attracted to a person of the same gender if the right person came along?”
“What role do you play in the LGBT community?”
“Maybe asking about most influential experience with the LGBT community.”
“Have you been involved with LGBT Activism?”
“How are you addressing your privilege in the LGBTQ community?”
“Are you happy?”
“How am I doing now, that these things have changed?”
“What are you doing to put your beliefs into practice?”
“How can you help change Western PA’s treatment of the LGBTQ community?”
“I would have asked more demographic questions people could opt out of.”
“Why do you think there is so much hated and discrimination in our community?”
“How do you practice self-care?“
Third, there’s concern for people who are closeted or not publicly out, but want to be connected. That’s a tenuous reality for many people who live in a world that celebrates marriage equality, but offers few legal protections. People are concerned about connections and relationships with an eye toward safety.
“Are there any business or public places that you feel comfortable and safe to socialize with others of the lgbt community in?”
“Where do I fit in our community :-(”
“What safe places do you enjoy using for LGBTQ events/activities?”
“Why is it important to you to “come out”?”
“How can closeted people find support and safety?”
“How many LGBTQ people do you interact with regularly?”
“How do you meet and network with your own community?”
“Why should you come out as LGBTQ?”
“Do you find it difficult to meet someone in Western PA?”
“If you are not ‘out’ why?”
“How do homophobic religions impact your daily life?”
Finally, there’s humor and perspective.
“Share a funny story about being gay in Beaver County.”
“I thought the questions were far reaching and not tedious to answer. “
“Would you be interested in attending a public water balloon fight?”
“what was Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble’s maiden names?”
“you asked everything that is very important”
“What parting wisdom joke or saying poem would u like to share?”
“What’s your favorite lesbian food?”
Overall, I think these suggestions reflect a healthy curiosity about how we structure our lives and our community to meet the needs of a truly diverse group of people who identify under the LGBTQ umbrella (if such a thing truly exists, perhaps yet another question to ask?) Are we asking enough questions? Are they the right questions? Do we encourage people across the board to reflect and share their thoughts on these matters?
My impression is that people acknowledge progress that has been made, but have significant differences on the magnitude of that progress.
I’ll be modifying the survey a bit before the New Year and hope to thoughtfully incorporate these suggestions. What would you add to this list?
I found this image on Flickr. It caught my eye because of question mark embedded on a pink building. Is the building in process of renovation or regeneration? Is it in decay? Some of both? I thought it aptly captured some of the mixed sentiments expressed above.