Our Tomorrow
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Survey Methodology

A conversation about the future of the LGBT community

In 2014, leaders of a wide variety of LGBTQ organizations came together to address a pressing concern for the movement: Many worried that winning the marriage equality battle before the U.S. Supreme Court might cause some to believe the job was done and, as a result, the movement would lose momentum—leaving many important issues unaddressed. They envisioned an innovative solution—a campaign offering LGBTQ people everywhere an opportunity to voice their hopes, fears and ideas for the future. The insights and ideas from this conversation would be shared with individuals and organizations working to address the needs of LGBTQ people. The goal of Our Tomorrow was to “engage LGBTQ people across the country in a conversation to shape the future of a bigger, bolder movement that leaves no one behind.”

How was the conversation conducted?

Our Tomorrow was first unveiled at the Creating Change conference in January 2015, where the campaign generated significant interest and exceeded its goals by collecting more than 700 hopes, fears and ideas from conference attendees. This initial success indicated the desire of people to make their voices heard in a conversation about the future. The campaign launched publicly in May 2015 and began engaging the LGBTQ community through an interactive website (ShareOurTomorrow.org), on major social platforms, and through local events across the country. Grants were provided to partner organizations to convene conversations within their communities. The public phase of the campaign ran from May to September 2015. The Advocate said Our Tomorrow was “presenting a clearer picture than ever before of the U.S. LGBT community.” National Public Radio highlighted the variety of issues discussed by participants: concerns about aging, discrimination, safety, HIV, transgender rights, homelessness and more.

About the Sample

Who participated?

To help reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ community, more than 140 organizations hosted conversations to engage people from all walks of life. Participants were asked to share their hopes, fears and ideas for the future, and answer a series of confidential questions about themselves—including their age, race and ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, income level, relationship status, parental status and ZIP code. Through in-person events hosted by national and local groups across the country and online, the campaign collected 14,509 hopes, fears and ideas from 5,663 individuals in all 50 states—including a significant number of participants from often overlooked and underrepresented groups, such as transgender and gender-nonconforming people, bisexuals, people of color, seniors, low-income individuals and more. Altogether, these results represent one of the largest and broadest data sets ever created about the concerns of LGBTQ people.

About the Approach

How were the questions asked?

This wasn’t a public opinion survey, in which people are asked for their opinions on a predetermined list of topics. Instead, participants were asked to complete open-ended prompts: “My hope for our tomorrow is _________”; “I worry that __________”; and “One thing our movement can do to make our tomorrow brighter is _________”. These prompts were posed in both English and Spanish, and responses in Spanish were translated. 

How were the answers analyzed?

All of the answers to the three questions were entered into a database. Researchers trained in linguistic analysis determined the most frequently used words in the responses and studied the context of the conversation around those words, in order to identify the issues raised and understand the ideas people expressed about those issues. For example, a number of responses mentioned “health.” The conversation about “health” covered several related ideas, such as making health coverage more affordable; addressing mental and emotional health concerns among LGBTQ people; improving the quality of health care by training providers; and curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

Analysts also explored the conversation for less frequently used words, in order to lift up issues and ideas from those whose voices might not otherwise be heard. Responses from all of the people in certain demographic categories were grouped together to identify specific issues of concern to people in those groups. This report presents an overview of top issues and themes, and will be followed by reports providing in-depth insights on issues and ideas raised by people in a variety of demographic groups.

About the Language

The terms used in this report to describe various groups of people are based mainly on words participants used to identify themselves. These terms and their meanings appear here.

Who Is Behind Our Tomorrow?

Our Tomorrow is supported by more than 100 LGBTQ organizations and foundations, both big and small. Our partners range from national nonprofit organizations to local community centers in cities and towns across the country. You can see a full list of our partners here.

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by LGBTQ people across the country