Nashville Pride, an organization focused on celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) life and culture in Middle Tennessee announced in March the launch of a region-wide community visioning project to learn what the LGBTQ+ community needs to live a fulfilling and purposeful life.
The study will take place over the course of three months, with multiple phases of data collection, to ensure the voices of all identities within the LGBTQ+ community are heard. During this project, the organization has developed specific evaluation tools that consist of public and invitation-only broad group conversations, identity-specific small group conversations and an open public survey which will launch during Pride Week in Nashville (June 17).
The LGBTQ+ movement has witnessed wins that an earlier generation would have thought impossible: from the legalization of same-sex marriage to a U.S. President acknowledging LGBTQ+ rights in his inaugural address to the nation. However, as the struggle for legal equality of LGBTQ+ people in the United States continues to advance, the movement faces a series of questions about the future. As the struggle for legal equality of LGBTQ+ people in Tennessee continues to face challenges, the movement faces a series of questions about the future. It is the hope of Nashville Pride that we learn what our community in Middle Tennessee need in order to thrive.
The centerpiece of the Nashville LGBTQ Community Visioning Project is focused on creating a dialogue to develop a collective vision for the future of the community. On the launch of this project, Matthew Gann, President of Nashville Pride shared that, “Strong communities are built only where there is a dialogue between the different groups of the community. Our hope with this project is that we can have honest discussions about where we’ve been, where we are and what we need to do in the future to ensure positive movement forward.”
This data gathering is motivated by the knowledge that perspectives within the community are limited. As Phil Cobucci on the Nashville Pride Executive Board said, “My lived experience as a gay cisgender white male is not the same as that of my transgender sister or my African American or HIV+ brother, or the queer youth who is underemployed or homeless, or my friend who identifies on the LGBTQ+ spectrum with a disability. It is critical for us to hear from everyone—as our lived experiences are different and we need to truly hear them to create opportunities, open doors, make connections and more, so we all can thrive equally in this community.”
The ultimate goal is to secure the future of the LGBTQ+ community in Middle Tennessee. “In order for our community to move forward together we need to learn what the needs are from each person, of every identity (race, gender, orientation, age, socio-economic background and disability). The fabric of our community is beautifully diverse and there has never really been a survey or research program dedicated to wanting to hear from everybody,” Cobucci said.
“Our goal is to hear from as many people that are willing to talk and share their viewpoints on what we all need in order to live happy, healthy and meaningful lives. In a time when our full equality and rights as LGBTQ+ people can be uncertain, this is a chance to be counted to help effect change in Nashville and Middle Tennessee.”
The project will run through July 2019 with a public analysis to be released in the fall of 2019. A comprehensive report will be available to organizations that serve the LGBTQ+ community in the fall of 2019 through an application process.
Participation in the different phases of the LGBTQ Community Visioning Project is open to the LGBTQ public at large. Event listings and details on how to volunteer as a conversation captain can be found at www.lgbtqcommunitysurvey.org.