LGBTQ+ Survey Frequently Asked Questions

What does LGBTQ+ mean?

LGBTQ+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

What is a community health needs assessment?

A community health needs assessment is a tool used to collect information about a population’s healthcare needs and challenges. This data is used by healthcare and other institutions to design programs needed by the community, which can include medical services, behavioral health services, and social support services. The data can also be used to advocate on behalf of the community.

Who should take the survey?

All LGBTQ+ adults age 18 and over who live or attend school on Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk County) are invited to take the survey. This includes people who:

  • Identify as LGBTQ+ -- lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, queer, questioning, +; or
  • Have sex with people of the same gender or sex, even if they identify as heterosexual

People who are “in the closet” or “out” are encouraged to take the survey.

All survey responses are anonymous and confidential. No personally identifying information is collected.

Why is the survey limited to age 18+?

Due to the sensitive nature of the survey questions, we are limiting participation to adults. Future efforts will collect information regarding the needs of LGBTQ+ youth.

Why should I take the survey?

Your voice matters! It is vital to the success of this survey that all LGBTQ+ adult residents and students across Long Island participate. Your response will help Stony Brook Medicine and our partner organizations to understand the diverse opinions and experiences in the LGBTQ+ community so that we can work to address current needs. After the data is analyzed, we will compile a report that will serve many purposes, such as educating the public, advocating for funding, and deciding whether certain services need to be expanded, and where.

Why is the survey important?

The United States Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Healthy People 2030 initiative, and many organizations nationally, have recognized that LGBTQ+ people experience many specific health-related challenges and disparities. Accordingly, the Healthy People 2030 initiative is focused on collecting population-level data that can help inform effective health promotion strategies.1 The Long Island survey being conducted by Stony Brook Medicine will provide current, actionable data about local needs in the LGBTQ+ community.

Why conduct a Long Island LGBTQ+ survey?

Stony Brook Medicine and a number of Long Island community-based organizations came together and agreed that there is a lack of available information about the local LGBTQ+ community, and that there is a pressing need to understand the needs that exist in Nassau and Suffolk counties. The survey will collect data that will be used by Stony Brook Medicine and our community partners to support activities such as service delivery, advocacy, program development and grant writing.

Who is behind the survey?

Stony Brook Medicine (SBM) is conducting the survey, which was developed with over 20 Long Island-based partners who, combined, reach many sectors of the LGBTQ+ community through their services and advocacy programming. SBM has retained Professional Research Consultants, Inc., a national survey firm, to administer the survey.

In what languages is the survey offered?

The survey is offered in English and Spanish.

Why is the survey conducted online?

This methodology was selected because it has particular advantages. Online surveys are cost effective and can potentially collect data from a large number of respondents that would be much more costly to contact individually. Online surveys can be administered anonymously. This allows a broader spectrum of the LGBTQ+ population to be reached compared with more traditional approaches, for example ‘hard-to-reach’ or ‘closeted’ LGBTQ+ populations.

Full anonymity, privacy and confidentiality, which are guaranteed to the respondents, help to obtain reports of sensitive or negative experiences. The online survey methodology also helps eliminate bias, which could have been introduced by telephone or face-to-face interview approaches when dealing with very sensitive and personal questions, such as sexual orientation, gender identity or experiences.

The online survey format is optimal during the COVID-19 pandemic as it allows data to be collected in a socially distanced manner.

What topics are addressed in the survey?

Survey topics include:

  • Demographics - racial and ethnic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, student status
  • Access to care
  • Transgender health needs
  • Experiences in the healthcare system and community at large
  • Health status and health related behaviors
  • Mental and behavioral health needs
  • Housing security
  • Harassment, violence and unwanted sexual contact
  • Human trafficking and sex work/li>
  • LGBTQ+ priority issues
  • LGBTQ+ service needs

The survey instrument uses many of the questions contained in a Community Health Needs Assessment that was administered by Stony Brook Medicine in 2018. This will allow us to compare the LGBTQ+ population to the broader population, thus revealing any disparities. The survey also includes questions designed to capture meaningful information about lived experiences and needs across the diverse LGBTQ+ community.

Do I have to answer all questions in the survey?

While it is best for everyone to answer all questions, we understand that some topics may be sensitive or difficult. Therefore, the survey does allow respondents to skip questions that they are not comfortable with.

How are the privacy, anonymity and confidentiality of respondents assured?

Stony Brook Medicine has taken several measures to guarantee data security, privacy and confidentiality of the survey respondents. To ensure privacy, the survey does not collect information on individual respondents or their computers (such as IP address) other than what respondents voluntarily provide in the survey questionnaire, and what is necessary for administering the survey. Stony Brook Medicine has retained Professional Research Consultants, Inc., a trusted national survey firm, to administer the survey. Responses will only be recorded once the respondent submits the survey.

Has this survey been approved by an Institutional Review Board?

Yes, the survey instrument and related communications materials have been reviewed and approved by Stony Brook University’s Institutional Review Board.

How many times can I complete the survey?

We ask that you complete the survey only once..

Can I help promote the survey?

Yes, please do! In order to give weight to the results, the LGBTQ+ survey counts on the participation of a large and diverse group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people. Hence, it is vitally important for the success of the survey that it reaches a wide audience through participants emailing the survey link, sharing it through social media or simply inviting LGBTQ+ friends to take part.

Does the survey contain resources for people in need of support for mental health, substance abuse, and other issues?

Yes, because the survey discusses sensitive topics, we have included resources and helplines to help people access supports relating to mental health, substance use, intimate partner violence, and human trafficking.

Who do I contact if I have more questions about the survey?

If you have questions at any time about the study or the procedures, you may contact a representative of Stony Brook Medicine at Survey

1Healthy People 2030. Accessed December 22, 2020 at