Delmarva LGBTQIA+ Climate Survey

The Delmarva LGBTQIA+ Climate Survey conducted in 2023 provides valuable insights into the experiences and challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals in the Delmarva region. The survey was prepared by Dr. Nicole A. Buzzetto-Hollywood Professor at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and President of the Board for Salisbury PFLAG. This one-page summary highlights key findings from the survey. Links to the full report as well as Sussex County specific data are included at the end of this post.

Survey Scope:

The survey aimed to assess the social, cultural, and environmental factors affecting the LGBTQIA+ community on the Delmarva Peninsula, encompassing Delaware, Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Key Findings:

  1. Visibility and Acceptance: A significant portion of respondents expressed that they felt visible and accepted within their communities, with notable progress in acceptance over the past decade.
  2. Discrimination and Harassment: Despite improvements, discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity remain prevalent, especially in educational and workplace settings.
  3. Mental Health: LGBTQIA+ individuals continue to experience mental health challenges, such as anxiety and depression, largely linked to discrimination and social stigma.
  4. Healthcare Access: Access to LGBTQIA+-friendly healthcare services has improved, but barriers to quality care persist.
  5. Support Networks: The survey revealed a growing network of LGBTQIA+ support organizations and advocacy groups across Delmarva, offering vital resources to the community.
  6. Youth and Education: LGBTQIA+ youth face unique challenges, including bullying and a lack of comprehensive sex education. Schools are identified as important areas for improvement.
  7. Legal Protections: Progress has been made in LGBTQIA+ rights and legal protections, but respondents noted the need for continued advocacy in areas like housing and employment.


  1. Education and Awareness: Implement comprehensive LGBTQIA+ education in schools and workplaces to combat discrimination and promote acceptance.
  2. Mental Health Support: Expand access to mental health resources tailored to LGBTQIA+ individuals and provide training for healthcare professionals.
  3. Youth Support: Develop safe spaces and support systems for LGBTQIA+ youth, including anti-bullying initiatives and inclusive sex education.
  4. Advocacy and Legal Protections: Continue advocacy efforts for comprehensive legal protections at local and state levels, with a focus on housing and employment rights.
  5. Community Building: Foster community-building initiatives to strengthen LGBTQIA+ networks and promote a sense of belonging.


The Delmarva LGBTQIA+ Climate Survey highlights both progress and persistent challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community in the region. By addressing discrimination, improving mental health support, and advocating for legal protections, Delmarva can create a more inclusive and equitable environment for all its residents. Collaborative efforts from government, institutions, and community organizations are crucial to building a more accepting Delmarva Peninsula.