New Democracy Maps

2018 LGBT Community Center Survey Report

The Bottom Line

  • The 2018 biennial LGBT Community Center Survey Report provides  a detailed picture of centers’ staff and boards, program priorities,  constituencies and services, infrastructure, fundraising, budgets, and technical assistance needs. The 2018 report finds that local community centers serving LGBT people  provide vital information, education, and health services to over 45,000 people each week.


  • The LGBT Community Center Survey Report, prepared jointly by MAP and CenterLink and published  every two years, provides an overview of local lesbian, gay, bisexual,  and transgender (LGBT) community centers, including  their capacity, their programs and services, the people they serve, and  their technical assistance needs.

  • This year, the report  surveyed 128 centers located in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and  Puerto Rico, and provides a crucial snapshot of the centers that  provide vital services, programs and advocacy for LGBT  people. Among the report’s key findings: 
  • Participating LGBT centers serve 40,550 people in a typical week and refer nearly 5,550 individuals each week to other  agencies for services and assistance. 
  • The 113 centers that reported 2017 revenue data have combined revenue of $226.7 million. Small centers  projected an 18% increase in expense budgets from 2017 to 2018, while  large centers projected a 5% increase  from 2017 to 2018.
  • Nearly half  (47%) of all participating centers reported obtaining at least one  government grant (local, state, or federal) of over $10,000 in 2017.
  • Participating  centers employ nearly 2,000 paid staff and engage with more than 14,000 volunteers for nearly half a million volunteer hours annually.
  • Half  of LGBT community centers remain thinly staffed: 25% have no paid staff and rely solely on volunteers, and 32% have between one and five paid  staff. As expected, small centers with budgets of less than $150,000 are much more likely to have few or no paid staff; 56% of  small centers have no paid staff, while three-quarters (76%) of centers  with budgets over $150,000 have six or more paid staff. 
  • More than three-quarters of  centers (78%) that engage in policy-related activities work to advance policy at the local level, 67% at the state level, and 31% at the national level.


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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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