• Dee Williams

5 Ways Technology Supports the LGBTQ+ Community

This week, we're celebrating something special here at PowerOn - our 2019 Impact Report! The culmination of demographic and statistical data taken from the 18 partner centers we had for 2019, the Impact Report provides a snapshot of the centers we serve. This document has been quite some time in development, but at long last we're debuting it to the world.


The Impact Report illustrates just a fraction of the incredible work our partner centers do for LGBTQ+ communities across the country. It also illustrates the impact PowerOn makes by providing those centers with tech.


In order to understand PowerOn's impact as a program, it's important to know why tech matters to the LGBTQ+ community. Here's just five ways that LGBTQ+ people use tech to survive and thrive.


1. Technology reduces social isolation for older LGBTQ+ adults.


Older LGBTQ+ people face a series of social pressures that often increase loneliness and isolation. The Williams Institute reports that LGBTQ+ adults are twice as likely to live alone, often face societal discrimination, and are more likely to experience poverty and homelessness. Software like Zoom and social media can help reduce social isolation for older LGBTQ+ adults by connecting them to support systems that deal with intersections of LGBTQ+ experience and aging. PowerOn's partner center SAGE in Brooklyn, NY, works specifically with older LGBTQ+ people to give them the support they need.


2. LGBTQ+ people in general spend more time online than their non-LGBTQ+ peers.


According to research conducted by LGBT Tech, PowerOn's parent organization, 80% of LGBTQ+ respondents participate in a social networking site, such as Facebook or Twitter, compared to just 58 percent of the general public. This means LGBTQ+ people are more likely to connect, research, vent, and express themselves authentically online than they do in the real world. Technology helps them make those vital connections.


3. Technology connects LGBTQ+ people with health information and resources.


The same research mentioned above also found that 81% of LGBTQ+ youth have searched for health information online - almost double the rate of their non-LGBTQ+ peers. Moreover, research from the Movement Advance Project and SAGE shows that 40% of LGBTQ+ elders use the internet to find resources on aging. PowerOn makes that research possible by providing LGBTQ+ centers with the tech to conduct those searches.


4. LGBTQ+ people in rural areas rely on tech for community, information, and resources.


According to the Movement Advancement Project, 2.9-3.8 million LGBTQ+ people live in rural U.S. communities with little or no access to LGBTQ+ resources outside the internet. For LGBTQ+ people living in communities like these, technology becomes a vital access point to the community, information, and resources the internet has to offer.


5. Technology connects homeless LGBTQ+ people with housing.


A study conducted by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago estimated that about 7% of youth in the U.S. are LGBTQ+. An astounding 40% of them experience homelessness. For homeless LGBTQ+ youth, access to tech means access to housing, healthcare, and employment among so many other things.


In 2019 alone, over 250 people used PowerOn tech to find housing. Over 300 people applied for jobs, and over 100 people furthered their education using equipment PowerOn provided our partner centers.


As we keep pushing through 2020, an incredibly difficult year for the LGBTQ+ community, we look back at the incredible work we've done in partnership with communities across the country. It's because of them - the work they do, the people they serve, the data they gather, the lives they impact - that PowerOn can help keep our community connected.

Check out the PowerOn Impact Report for 2019 in its entirety, as well as other important research.