Counting Us In

Westchester Magazine partnered with The LOFT for an all-encompassing survey. Here, the LGBT community speaks for itself.

“Most of the time, surveys are conducted about us,” says The LOFT’s Executive Director David Juhren. “This is one of the rare times anyone has polled people in our community about themselves and their own experiences.” Together with The LOFT, Westchester Magazine developed the questionnaire. The LOFT executed the survey. In all, 99 responses were collected.

I self-identify as:

Gay Man [44%]
Lesbian or Gay Woman [42%]
Bisexual [12%]
Queer [4%]
Questioning [1%]

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I self-identify as:
Transgender 13%
Cisgender (not transgender) 88%

Coming out is an ongoing process. On a scale of 1 to 5, where do you consider yourself on this continuum?
1 – Out to myself only 0%
2 5%
3 13%
4 23%
5 – Living openly 57%

What is your relationship status?
Single, not actively dating 30%
Single, actively dating 9%
Dating someone seriously7%
Married or in a committed relationship 54%

What is your PRIMARY social outlet?
Online, the Internet 26%
Organized LGBT groups/events/programs in Westchester County 42%
Organized LGBT groups/events/programs in New York City 21%
LGBT bars, clubs, etc., in New York City 16%
Other 38%

Have you ever experienced or witnessed verbal homophobia in Westchester County?
No 31%
Have witnessed 27%
Have experienced 8%
Have witnessed and
experienced 34%

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Have you ever experienced or witnessed any form of discrimination in Westchester based on sexual orientation or gender identity?
No 49%
Have witnessed 22%
Have experienced 7%
Have witnessed and
experienced 23%

Have you ever experienced or witnessed any acts of violence in Westchester attributed to sexual orientation or gender identity?
No 90%
Have witnessed 7%
Have experienced 2%
Have witnessed and
experienced 1%

On a scale of 1-5, please indicate your agreement with the following statements for Westchester County overall.
1 – Strongly LGBT unfriendly 0%
2 – Somewhat LGBT unfriendly 13%
3 – Neutral—neither LGBT friendly or unfriendly 16%
4 – Somewhat LGBT friendly 58%
5 – Strongly LGBT friendly 11%

What do you consider the biggest challenge as an LGBT individual residing in Westchester County?
Homophobia 11%
Lack of acceptance 5%
Not enough social venues for single LGBT individuals 39%
Collective invisibility (lack of a designated LGBT community such as Nyack, Chelsea, or the village in New York City 52%
Lack of openly LGBT prominent/public figures/residents to serve as role models in Westchester County25%
Other 8%

Would you recommend Westchester County as a place to move to or relocate to?
Yes 76%
No 26%

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If yes, why?
“Proximity to NYC”
“It is a good place to live—if you can afford it—as a suburban lifestyle choice.”
“I have a great group and social structure. I belong to a wonderful church, work at an LGBT-accepting company, and am fully out in my community.”
“I am from White Plains, and have seen the positive growth in attitudes in many ways. The more people I tell, the less affected they are. They just seem to take it in stride.”

If no, why?
“Too expensive”
“If you’re a single, young professional, you would be bored to death here.”
“Too difficult to create a peer group of LGBT people.”
“My experiences have been more of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ variety. Not real acceptance and integration.”
“Westchester is strongly centered on family. If you are single, regardless of sexuality, Westchester is not an ideal location to live.”
“The entire county does not have one LGBT restaurant or bar.”

What is the one thing that would bring about the greatest improvement to your quality of life as an LGBT resident?
“Marriage equality from our state senate!”
“A community center with clear and visible governmental support.”
“A bookstore, café, or some other non-bar gathering spot”
“If we had a bar/coffee shop/regular event to go to. It’s very difficult for me to find other women in the county.”

People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Special thanks to The LOFT’s program manager, Trudy Katz.

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