Niagara Pride is in the midst of a new survey aimed at collecting responses from LGBTQ+ residents in Niagara County.

The LGBTQ+ Community Needs Survey asks participants their thoughts on services such as physical health care, mental health, legal and housing as well as asking individuals to share their opinions on their safety and wellbeing throughout the county.

Other topics addressed include having local politicians representing the needs of the LGBTQ+ community and whether there are enough social events for LGBTQ+ youth, adults and families.

To take the survey, go to: https://forms.office.com/r/9MLMY18xxd

Although other organizations have conducted community needs assessments throughout the area, having one specifically looking at the needs of the LGBTQ+ residents of Niagara County is a first, according to Niagara Pride Inc.’s president, Ronald Piaseczny.

“I think that too often we fail to remember that, although in recent years, the LGBTQ+ community has seen a number of positive advancements in terms of rights, those rights are often on the state level and/or only exist as a result of court cases. To date, there is no federal law protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination in employment, housing, credit/lending, education, public accommodations, etc,” he said. “And although several businesses have made positive changes in terms of being LGBTQ+ affirming, there may still be practices that alienate the LGBTQ+ community or the LGBTQ+ community is not aware that affirming services exist in Niagara County.”

Piaseczny added that the survey is an opportunity for LGBTQ+ residents to express themselves and share their thoughts and perceptions about how safe and accepting the community is of them, whether local service providers are providing LGBTQ+ affirming services, and what voids in programming and services exist in the county.

The survey is ongoing through Oct. 2. The results will be shared with local community service provider organizations as well as via a public presentation. Results will also be made available at www.niagarapride.org in late 2021 / early 2022.

In addition, Niagara Pride has a few events coming up.

— In conjunction with SAGE VETS, via Zoom, the group is hosting a monthly Trans Veteran group on the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m., as well as an LGBTQ+ Veterans Group on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. The Zoom link is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87157364984

— "Night Owls," a social meet up, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Haunted Forests in Wilson. Tickets for the attraction can be purchased at www.thehauntedforests.com/. The Haunted Forests will donate a portion of ticket sake proceeds from Sept. 23 through Sept. 26 to Niagara Pride.

For more information about Niagara Pride, visit www.niagarapride.org, email info@niagarapride.org, or call 298-7656.

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