SMC LGBTQ Wellness Survey
The mission of the LGBTQ Commission is cultivating San Mateo County as a welcoming and safe environment where its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community members can thrive. The LGBTQ Commission envisions San Mateo County leading in addressing its LGBTQ community’s diverse needs with dignity and respect by providing culturally competent services that are welcoming, respectful and responsive to the needs of the LGBTQ community.
LGBTQ people estimates from extrapolation from national data to constitute 4% of the population of San Mateo County, more than 30,000 people. Data from national surveys suggest that LGBTQ people experience a poorer health outcomes and perception of wellness, and that stigma and discrimination may be important determinants of these. In a report from 2001 based on a community assessment of the lived experiences of 1,100 adult LGBTQ residents of San Mateo County, a need for services dealing with harassment, social development, and understanding of the LGBTQ community was demonstrated. The authors made the following recommendations:
- Address the shortage of health and social service providers who are LGBTQ-friendly and LGBTQ-knowledgeable through competency training.
- Improve awareness of available health and social services, including those that are low or no cost, among LGBTQ residents through education, outreach, and development of directories and inventories.
- Provide additional funding, training, and technical support for existing LGBTQ services and program staff so that services can be expanded and coordinated.
- Support legislation and develop and enforce policies across social service agencies and school systems to ensure consistent and equal treatment of LGBTQ people and families.
- Revise forms and procedures to be more inclusive of LGBTQ individuals and families and to streamline access to social and healthcare services.
- Increase the visibility of the LGBTQ community to encourage social and self-acceptance through educational campaigns, public service announcements, and community events.
Although many of these recommendations have been addressed in the last 18 years, much work remains to be done. The LGBTQ Commission plans to recommend reforms that are informed by data, have measurable outcomes, and are lasting and sustainable. In order to inform our policy recommendations, the LGBTQ Commission designed and deployed an online needs assessment survey in 2018. This document summarizes the major findings of the survey.