FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KTFA) — Just in time for PRIDE month, the Equality Crew, a local nonprofit, is partnering with UAMS on a survey to find out what life is like for LGBTQ+ youth in Benton and Washington counties.
There isn’t much information out there on what resources LGBTQ+ kids have or don’t have access to, and a study like this will help quantify the need in Northwest Arkansas, so those who work with kids, like teachers or other nonprofits, know exactly where they should step in.
In order for others to feel the acceptance, Danielle May and her transgender son have finally found, they’ve created a nonprofit for LGBTQ+ youth.
“They just want to be kids, and that’s what we try to create, is just a space where they don’t have to carry this burden of everyone’s opinions,” said May.
Although, creating this space for LGBTQ+ kids is hard when there’s no data showcasing their needs and Michael Bennett-Spears, a program director for the Equality Crew, said often times adults’ idea of what programs are needed don’t line up with kids’ perspectives.
Perspectives that no one in Northwest Arkansas has been quantifying until now. By partnering with UAM. May and Bennett-Spears, have been asking LGBTQ+ kids in sixth through twelfth grade to fill out a confidential online survey. It asks what programs or events local teens are looking for.
“We think of the LGBTQ+ community in terms of these big battles in the legislature and policy changes and DEI strategies, but really, they’re just kids,” said Bennett-Spears.
The survey will result in more safe spaces, giving moms like May peace of mind for their kids.
“Just knowing that it is an affirming space, and that it’s a safe space where they can just completely be themselves and they don’t have to mask or worry about harassment from other people,” said May.
The survey was released at the beginning of the month and will be open through August. It can be accessed at www.theequalitycrew.org/survey. The survey that takes approximately 15 minutes.
So far they’ve had more than four hundred responses.