How Many Gays In The Village Report

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Draft summary

The Pink Mountains census was carried out from 1 Sept – 31 Oct 2006.
In all over 250 forms were received – 236 used in the report as over 20 lost
due to computer problem and could not be included.

Recruitment was through the Pink Mountains website, personal email networks, media publicity, handing out at community events. (47% email, 15% post, 38% community events)

Of the respondents 69% (n162) were female, 27% (n 64) male, and 4% unknown. Of these 62% identified as lesbian, 28% gay, 2% (n 5) bisexual, 1% (n 3) transgender, 2% (n 4) queer, 5% other.

Average age was 47, with 85% aged over 35 and 6% aged 25 or younger, and 22% over 55. Youngest was 16 and the oldest was 78.

Suburb/village 25% lived in Katoomba, 12% Wentworth Falls, 11% Leura, 10% in Lawson, 6% Blackheath and Springwood, 4% in Woodford. In general 59% Mount Vic to Wentworth Falls, 27% Bullaburra to Faulconbridge, 14% Springwood to Glenbrook.

Years living in BMCC 69% of respondents have lived in BMCC for more than 5
years. Averaging 10.7 years. Newest arrival had been here 1 month and the
longest of 40 years. 7 respondents have lived in BMCC all their lives.

Property ownership 70% of respondents own the home they live in and 58%
owned other property (11% did not respond to this question)

Relationships and living arrangements 70% are in committed relationships,
26% single, 2% new/dating, 3% other. Time in relationship went from 1 month
to 38 years, averaging 11 years, 79% for more than 5 years. 88% of those in
a committed relationship live with their partner. Age gap between partners
ranges from same age to 25 years with average age difference of 5 years. Of
the 169 respondents who were in relationship 96 of their partners returned a
census form.

Income source 53% wages / salary, 17% self employed, 11% Centrelink benefit, 6% self funded retiree, 3% received some Centrelink benefit and some income from other sources.

Children 30% of respondents had children. Numbers of children per parent
ranged from 1 to 5. Ages ranged from 1 month to 40 years old. 8 Children
under 5 years old. Of these, 4 children had one parent receiving Centrelink
benefits as income source and another 2 had some Centrelink payments. 8% (n 7) of all parents were single parents with children under 16. The rest were
either in relationships or had children over the age of 16. 19 Children were
conceived in lesbian relationship (9 of these in 4 families). Of the 14
lesbian families, 9 are still together. People identifying as gay or
bisexuals had older children and were no longer in relationship with their
partner. 4 bisexual and 9 gay respondents had children; all but one had been
conceived in a former heterosexual relationship. 1 gay man was an involved
sperm donor to a lesbian couple.

Services
81 respondents or 34% chose to give some feedback on services/activities
wanted. These I have divided into Ageing, Youth, Legal, Social, Parenting,
Health, Support, Acceptance, Community.
Ageing. 25% requested a variety of aging services – sensitive aged care
services, GLBTQ residential facilities, social activities.
Social Activities 25% requested a variety of social activities from the
specific (eg Dog Club and small business club) to the more general (eg GLBTQ
Venue). Alcohol free activities were also requested. Gay men requested more
functions.
Health 10% identified health services particularly sexual health
Legal 10% Specific legal advice regarding GLBTQ issues.
Support: services for mental health, incest survivors, counselling, groups
Youth and Families – support and services
Parenting information
7 respondents specifically mentioned the need for a GLBTQ Community
Development worker.
Transport and employment were also mentioned.

Below is one response which seems to encapsulate most of the issues

What would I like? I would love a retirement village/nursing home
for gay and lesbian people. I am worried that when I get old I will be
unable to live with my partner. I would like a “coming out” service to go to
the high schools and spread the word that it’s ok to be gay. I would like it
made compulsory for every child in high school to receive information about
gay and lesbian counselling and health services, as well as know about
places they can go if they need help. I would like a PERMANENT gay and
lesbian liaison officer stationed in the Blue Mountains that doesn’t have
other duties, like Domestic Violence officer, etc. I would like a gay and
lesbian group for young people in the lower mountains. I feel like there are
more services available to the upper mountains people, but the lower
mountains people are neglected. I do not fit in with the Penrith gay and
lesbian youth. They are a different style of people. I would like gay and
lesbian awareness training for all health professionals. Too often my
partner and I have been discriminated against by health professionals. I
would also like to see recognition of same sex couples (marriage?). I want
to see gay teachers being allowed to be “out” in schools without fear of
reprisal. I want to have representation on the government for GLBT issues
(at the moment I feel there is none, as it goes against the current member’s
personal and religious beliefs). I want to see a separation of state and
religion. Oh, the list could go on.

Prepared by Anne McKenzie
Pink Mountains
16 November 2006