Fifty years ago, the Stonewall Uprising marked a pivotal moment in the Gay Liberation Movement across the United States. The month of June is dedicated to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride as a way to recognize the 1969 uprising and the mark it has had on history.
But how far has the community come since then? One curious Chathamite asked: What type of resources exist in Chatham County for the LGBTQ+ community?
Turns out, not so much. While there is a wealth of resources online that range from cultural competency to health, there is a lack of resources available for the LGBTQ population living in Chatham County.
A worker at the Chatham Community Library with knowledge of the LGBTQ scene in the area describes the resources within the county as “lacking at best.”
The employee acknowledges that, despite the county’s shortage, Chatham County is near areas that have the resources available. Here’s a map of some key resources available throughout the area:
The employee pointed to her workplace, saying Chatham Community Library’s has a growing number of nonfiction titles related to LGBTQ topics. She also pointed to programs and events surrounding LGBTQ issues.
Sometimes the library’s events are popular, like last week’s Love, Simon screening as a part of a month-long film series. At other times, the events aren’t as well-received.
“There are people, even from outside of the county, who see that we’re having these events,” the employee said. “They’re usually religious folks who don’t agree with these films being shown, for instance, in a public space.”
Others at the library said it was unfair to say that only religious people were exhibiting anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments. Or that all religious people are against the LGBTQ community.
Across the nation, in fact, public opinion has shown to be more open to the LGBTQ community over time.
In 2013, Pew Research Center found that 92 percent of adults who identify as LGBT feel that society has become more accepting over the past 10 years. According to a 2016 survey conducted by Gallup, around 4 percent of the United States population identifies as LGBT – steadily rising since 2012.
The employee says that incoming changes, particularly a population boom, to Chatham County will bring more people from LGBTQ communities. And these people will want more resources.
“Chatham County is a fast-growing county, and I think it’s also becoming more progressive,” the woman said. “And so, I think that there is definitely a need for more resources for LGBTQ folks.”