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EQDG Releases “How Welcoming Is Downers Grove?” Report

    Read the Full Report (PDF)

    In 2023, EQDG developed a questionnaire to explore both positive and negative experiences encountered daily by Downers Grove’s LGBTQ+ residents in response to the current hostility and marginalization experienced nationally and locally by this community. The questionnaire was completed by both allies and LGBTQ+ community members, and responses between the two groups identified comparable observations and challenges. Visible displays of symbols and merchandise celebrating diversity in local businesses and organizations were recognized and appreciated as a demonstration of inclusivity and support.

    However, almost all respondents reported significant concerns about the threatening and divisive atmosphere created by hate groups and extremists, as well as the lack of decisive action steps by local government to clearly condemn hate speech, misinformation, and harassment. Respondents also reported a lack of awareness and education around diverse and marginalized populations as an impediment to acceptance.

    Results indicate that by increasing visibility of the LGBTQ+ community via symbols of support, planned social/educational events, and exposure to factual information dispelling misinformation and bias, the perception of Downers Grove as a welcoming village would increase. Furthermore, a clear condemnation by local government, schools, businesses, and community organizations of hate speech and harassment would significantly increase the perception of Downers Grove as a safe, inclusive, and welcoming village for all its residents.

    EQDG is proud to be a member of the Downers Grove community. It is our hope that the information and recommendations shared in this report will provide valuable guidelines for implementing changes within the village in order to ensure that our community remains a welcoming, safe, and inclusive place for all its residents.