New Democracy Maps

2020 LGBTQ Community Center Survey Report

The Bottom Line

The 2020 biennial LGBTQ 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 2020 report finds that local community centers serving LGBTQ people  provide vital information, education, and health services to over 58,000 people each week pre-pandemic, and 45,700 a week during the pandemic.

Recommended citation format:
Movement Advancement Project and CenterLink. October 2020. 2020 LGBTQ Community Center Survey Report. [URL].


The 2020 LGBTQ Community Center Survey Report, prepared jointly by MAP and CenterLink and published  every two years, provides an overview of local lesbian, gay, bisexual,  transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community centers, including  their capacity, their programs and services, the people they serve, and  their technical assistance needs.

This year, the report  surveyed 186 centers located in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and  Puerto Rico, and provides a crucial snapshot of the centers that  provide vital services, programs and advocacy for LGBTQ  people. Among the report’s key findings:

  • Among participating centers that provided financial information, their combined pre-COVID 2020 budget was nearly $315 million, with centers reporting in July 2020 an adjusted combined budget of $304 million due to the pandemic.
  • Nearly half  (46%) of all participating centers reported obtaining at least one  government grant (local, state, or federal) of over $10,000 in 2019.
  • Participating  centers employ nearly 2,500 paid staff and engage with nearly 14,000 volunteers for nearly half a million (550,000) volunteer hours annually.
  • More than half  of LGBTQ community centers remain thinly staffed: 23% have no paid staff and rely solely on volunteers, and 33% 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; 55% of  small centers have no paid staff, while 73% of centers  with budgets over $150,000 have six or more paid staff. 
  • Four-fifths of  centers (80%) that engage in policy-related activities work to advance policy at the local level, 71% at the state level, and 37% 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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