TAKE SURVEY :: Capturing the experiences of college-aged LGBTQ+ folx of color: The National LGBTQ+ Women’s Community Survey

Written by Clark Brinson

I literally screamed when I got an email from my professor about the opportunity to participate on the research study team for The National LGBTQ+ Women*s Community Survey.

As a fourth-year doctoral student at Emory University, I had the chance to TA for Dr. Sewell and their Race & Ethnic Relations course. They knew about my research focus on intergroup relations, specifically studying relationships within the queer community among subgroups of people.

In collaboration with a team of leading LGBTQ+ women of color activists and academics, they extended the opportunity for me to participate in the construction and analysis of the survey, and I was not going to miss a chance to be a part of this historical study.

The National LGBTQ+ Women*s Community Survey is a comprehensive national study that addresses the significant gap in knowledge, policy analysis, organizing, and advocacy about the life experiences, needs, priorities, and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ women, our partners, and families. The survey aims to create an unprecedented data bank on lesbian, bi, trans, non-binary, and queer women of color’s experiences.

Although there is research about the experiences of LGBTQ+ people, there is limited research on women, non-binary people, and people assigned female at birth. The research dwindles even further when accounting for the experiences of people of color. It’s this recurring challenge I’ve experienced across my college studies and one of the reasons my doctoral research focuses on family formation among queer women of color. The current research lacks results that center folx of color.

My academic research on people of color and LGBTQ+ people is also tied to my own experiences, so it’s deeply personal. I grew up in a small rural town of 10,000 people in North Carolina, and I was the only out Black femme person during my time in high school.

When I got to college at UNC-Chapel Hill, a predominately white institution in a majority white city, it was another moment where I realized that finding queer space that also reflected my intersections was a bit of a pursuit. I ultimately found community and even got involved with the LGBTQ+ community and began organizing around issues of sexual health. I carried all of these experiences through to my graduate studies at UNC Greensboro, and it’s there that I rooted my academic research in studying marginalized groups within the LGBTQ+ community.

Now, at Emory, I’m pursuing my doctoral study in sociology with a focus in social psychology and inequality. Being able to support efforts to share the stories of queer people of color who are notably underrepresented in broader research studies about the LGBTQ+ community is an honor I don’t take lightly. In addition, having the role extended to me by Dr. Sewell, a Black non-binary professor, also makes this opportunity invaluable. With just a few months left before the survey closes, there’s still time to participate in this national survey.


As college students, we have an opportunity to let policymakers and people that organize for good know, that lesbian, bi, trans, non-binary, and queer women of color’s unique experiences span every age group and that our needs deserve to be addressed.

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