Originally published by Spectrum News 1

AKRON, Ohio — The Akron region’s first comprehensive LGBTQ+ needs assessment is underway, capturing data that can potentially inform the work of hundreds of local agencies serving this growing population.

Nearly 600 people have filled out the Greater Akron LGBTQ+ Community Needs Assessment in its entirety since it launched in June during the Akron Pride Festival, said Andrew Snyder, research program coordinator with Kent State University ‘s College of Public Health. Snyder is completing a doctorate in LGBTQ+ health.

Anyone in the LGBTQ+ community who lives in Summit, Portage, Stark and Medina counties, or has a connection to Akron, can fill out the online survey, Snyder said. A connection to Akron can manifest in many ways.

“Maybe they grew up in Akron and moved to Cincinnati. Their experiences are clearly very valid,” he said. “There are people who live in rural spaces, and they have a non-binary child. So they bring them to Highland Square to trick-or-treat because they feel it’s a more inclusive space for their kids to recreate and enjoy that holiday. So we definitely want to hear from them.”

What’s important is gathering comprehensive local data, Snyder said, because access to local research empowers the entire community.

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