Nobody knows how many Napa residents identify themselves as other than heterosexual.
But the number could be as high as 11,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Napans, “most of whom are in the closet,” says local activist Ian Stanley, who worked with Spectrum LGBT Center of the North Bay to arrive at the estimate.
Being in the closet means these Napans keep their sexuality a secret—and that can be hazardous to their health.
“Sixty to 65 percent of gay men are not out to their doctors,” Stanley said.
“It has huge health implications.”
Because no government agencies track the numbers of LGBT residents, their needs are often unmet, Stanley said.
“The community is largely invisible,” he said.
Stanley is among the organizers of tonight’s “LGBTQ Forum” at McPherson Elementary School.
Expected to attract up to 200 people, it’s the first countywide gathering of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and sexually questioning Napans.
“It’s historic, in that it’s goint to be the first time folks in Napa County have gathered like this across all ages: young people, older adults, from American Canyon to Calistoga – it’s a hugely wide representation,” Stanley said.
The topic of the meeting, according to fellow activist Rick Turko, is “how do we create a healthier Napa Valley that is more inclusive, welcoming and safer for all of us?”
A planned LGBTQ community center is also to be discussed, Stanley said.