Jan 18, 2023 - Politics

Cleveland's LGBTQ+ community looks for answers

The hands of two women intertwine with pride wristbands on both wrists.

Like the rest of the country, Cleveland's LGBTQ+ community looks to address concerns related to rising threats. Photo: David Silverman/Getty Images

Unrest in Cleveland's LGBTQ+ community is nearing an all-time high.

Why it matters: Cleveland is home to more than 60,000 residents that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

Threat level: Kenyon Farrow, board chair at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, tells Axios the city has seen the effects of rising anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.

  • "We've certainly seen more harassment and threats," Farrow says. "Concerns over a lack of health care options, affordable housing and mental health struggles in the community need to be addressed as well."

Driving the news: Kent State's College of Public Health has received funding from the Cleveland Foundation and other local institutions for an LGBTQ+ needs assessment study of Greater Cleveland.

Of note: The university is working with more than 100 local LGBTQ+ organizations, including the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, in gathering data, according to the Cleveland Department of Public Health.

What they're saying: The department's director, David Margolius, says he hopes the report addresses LGBTQ+ issues "unique to Cleveland," such as the city's high poverty rate and homelessness population.

  • However, he says, "We don't need to wait on the report to address obvious and immediate issues such as preventing violence and affordable housing."
  • Margoluis says the city is advocating for transitional housing for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Between the lines: Margolius sees the study as the first phase in Cleveland and the LGBTQ+ community's collaboration "without obstruction," which he says has been an issue in the past.

What's next: Data gathering for Cleveland will take place this spring and summer.

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