Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rocking the COP 24/7 Machine into High Gear

Survey Says!: Gay Community Needs to Be Studied More?I don't know about you, but have you noticed that their seem to be inordinate amount of "researchers, social scientist, cultural critics and all those nerdy types who want to capture data to secure some evidenced based this or that.

In 2012 I posted about the “the largest single study of the distribution of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population in the U.S. on record,” which asked 121,290 Americans if they personally identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Ultimately the released results caused those who unpack these stats into a frenzy to understand exactly what they meant.

As for myself, even though that sampling was suppose to be sufficient, I ponder the thought as to where are these samples done and to some extent how? Especially the point that "younger people were more likely to answer affirmatively than older ones, young black men (those between 18 and 29 years old) were 56 percent
more likely than young white men to answer yes." Really?

Not be outdone or whatever, the latest survey is now being circulated by The LGBTQ Health Initiative which was formed under the auspices of the Big Tobacco dollars that were initially being harvested in the name of the LGBTQ community by folks who really don't seem to know the LGBTQ community either. Imagine that? In full disclosure, COP 24/7 attended a couple sessions but found came away perplexed and dumbfounded to this date.

Say what? Even more strange to this mash up is the fact that in 2012 there was a first ever LGBTQ health journal that was published that got little to no traction among this set enthralled with learning about gay health issues but most notably smoking.

Just so you know, this is not the first rodeo of this type of activity including a 2010 HIV/ LGBTQ Tobacco survey spearheaded by Dathan Johnson released in February 2011. This was developed and executed via the Arkansas Department of Health's Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program which also has ties to the current survey.

As I continue to move about this community, I've found it unsettling that when attempting to engage people of color in participating in forums focus groups, social justice activities or step up for any kind of initiatives that they are far and few in this city who will take the time or effort. I've heard excuses and explanations from A to Z as to why gay Black folks and for the most part many gay people period are reluctant to be apart of the movement for change.

I've heard it all from "I don't want my business in the street" to the effects of stigma have been offered as barriers to interaction. However, it appears that much of this mindset evaporates if there's an "incentive" or some form of payment involved that apparently makes it easier for these folks to participate. Of course you got to make sure that whoever is funding this measure has the same interpretation as you do because this kind of recruitment  can be tricky.

Scratching my head I'm pondering am I to concluded that same gender loving individuals place no real "value" on these activities unless there are only meager dollars extended to the activity or information.

Are we to assume that that "self worth or preservation" can only be leveraged by dollar signs instead of being concerned about their overall well being or any body's else for that matter. Yes it is understood that their are socio-economic barriers that exist and often these challenges are not conducive to being immerse in any activity, but coming out to a meeting, focus group or capacity building exercises designed to empower one's life should be sought instead of being seen as a opportunistic time to grab a fist of chump change that will most likely not do much to change your circumstances.

In case you did not know and most likely you didn't, there have been "community assessments" on top of assessments concerning life in Arkansas' LGBTQ community. And it appears there's no end in sight for those in search of data trying to find out "who, what, why and where" in the hell is the gay community and what they're up too. If only someone would just tell them most folks just can be bothered with all this advocacy and efficacy stuff. "Ain't no body got time for that!"

 However, just in time for this updated posting comes another set of Maine researchers stating the premise that the "gay and lesbian" population is vastly understudied and they are going to do something about that by offering links to Survey Monkeys in order to gather more data on this understudied community. Just what would researchers do without that awesome Survey Monkey tool to find out something about the LGBTQ community.

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