Celebrating Our Differences
At DMARC, we have a mission of working together to meet basic human needs for the greater Des Moines community – and that includes everyone. As we celebrate Pride this month, we celebrate our LGBTQ+ community and recognize the unique hardships faced by the queer community in meeting basic human needs.
According to the Trevor Project’s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2021:
- 30% of all LGBTQ+ youth experienced food insecurity in the past month, including half of all Native/Indigenous LGBTQ+ youth.
- Only 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ youth found their home to be LGBTQ-affirming.
- 42% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.
It’s not just youth, either – LGBTQ+ people of all ages experience hunger and food insecurity at higher rates. A 2016 report by the Williams Institute found that 27% of LGBTQ+ adults experience food insecurity, compared to 17% of non-LGBTQ+ adults.
A 2020 public health study on food insecurity and food pantry use among transgender and gender non-conforming people in the Southeast United States found that 79% of survey respondents experienced food insecurity, but only 22% utilized local food assistance resources like food pantries. Many survey respondents reported feeling unwelcome at food pantries because of their gender identity, particularly at food pantries operated by faith-based organizations. The study also found that personal pride in one’s gender identity was associated with greater likelihood of using local food pantries.
As an interfaith organization, DMARC believes that we can do so much more together than we can on our own, which is why we bring people together from across the religious spectrum to help fulfill our mission. We know that our differences are to be celebrated, not feared.
But we also recognize the harm that some religious communities and institutions have inflicted, and, unfortunately, some have continued to inflict, on the LGBTQ+ community. We recognize and apologize for the shortcomings of our own organization in affirming and celebrating the queer community.
We can do better, and we will do better. At DMARC, we are actively and intentionally working on becoming a more welcoming organization to the queer community. We are listening, learning, and making changes. Our work is ongoing, and we will continue to challenge our staff, board, and partners in our shared commitment to equity and inclusion.
We love, support, and celebrate our LGBTQ+ community. We treasure and uplift the work of our LGBTQ+ staff members. It’s imperative that we do not give up on our commitment to difference. There is room for all of us in this country – all colors, all faiths, all sexual orientations, and all gender identities. It is only when we blend our voices that we are truly strong.
Our mission at DMARC is working together to meet basic human needs for the greater Des Moines community – and that includes everyone. We strive to provide healthy, culturally appropriate food through our Food Pantry Network and welcome all those who need assistance, no matter their circumstances. We make every effort to treat each visitor to our food pantries with dignity and respect.
DMARC is an equal opportunity provider and does not discriminate on the basis of family size or structure, religious beliefs, cultural background, national origin, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or disability.