The Art of the Welfare Warriors Research Collaborative

The Art of the Welfare Warriors Research Collaborative

The Welfare Warriors Research Collaborative (WWRC) was a participatory action research (PAR) project that convened from 2007 to 2010 in NYC, bringing together 20 low income lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming (LGBTGNC) co-researchers to investigate the social structural violences low income LGBTGNC communities navigate every day. We designed, conducted, and analyzed 171 surveys; videotaped 10 interviews; and collected ethnographic data. Our findings show that low income LGBTGNC communities actively practice retaining control over their lives despite the obstacles and abuses they face. Survey takers are strongly involved in their communities: 131 respondents reported participating in 271 social, support, and activist groups.  And, across a variety of settings, 58% took action against discrimination or misuse of power. Still, 69% of survey takers have been homeless at some point in their lives, about 50% have been arrested or given tickets, and 19% have been physically assaulted by police. Our work brings crucial information about our communities to our communities and elsewhere.


Project Leaders
Michelle Billies, Ph.D. in Social/Personality Psychology at the Graduate Center of CUNY, Queers for Economic Justice.

Project Affiliations
Sparkplug Foundation
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI)
The New York Women’s Foundation
The American Psychological Foundation

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