Community-Based Participatory Research with Invisible, Geographically-Dispersed Communities: Partnering with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Communities on the California Central Coast
This article reports on the community-based participatory research (CBPR) process of a 3.5-year study
documenting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community members’ perceptions of
local LGBTQ communities on the Central Coast of California. This three-phase study consisted of online and
paper-and-pen surveys to analyze community strengths, challenges, priorities, and feelings of connection;
collaborative interpretation of survey results through community forums; and a regional “LGBTQ Summit” to
envision and initiate data-based actions to address community priorities. The focus throughout the project was
on establishing collaborative partnerships to plan and guide the project, cultivating community participation
in interpreting and disseminating findings, and honoring diverse LGBTQ community members’ voices
through data-driven community action. This article documents lessons learned about building and facilitating
community-university partnerships, organizing and maintaining a sustained community research collaborative,
engaging community participation, and ultimately, creating lasting, community-driven interventions.
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