Story at a glance

  • Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • At the same time, LGBTQ+ people have also seen disproportionate effects of the pandemic on their employment.
  • A new study shows how the marginalization of Black LGBTQ+ people for both identities has disadvantaged them even further.

Days after the $600 federal supplement for unemployment benefits expired, a new report from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) reveals the disproportionate cost of the coronavirus pandemic for the Black LGBTQ+ community.  

“Even as Black communities, especially Black trans communities, across the country are reckoning with racism and violence, Black LGBTQ people are also being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” said HRC President Alphonso David in a release. “We know Black people are dying from COVID-19 at extremely alarming rates.”


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Black people make up 13 percent of the United States population but 23 percent of all COVID-19 deaths, according to data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. At the same time, at least 25 transgender or gender nonconforming people have been fatally shot or killed by other violent means this year, just two less than the death toll for all of 2019

Many Black LGBTQ+ people are employed as essential workers in the industries that were most affected by the pandemic: 20 percent of food service workers, cashiers, stockers and janitors are Black, and nearly 20 percent of LGBTQ+ adults work in restaurants, food service or retail.


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In May, the HRC published research showing that LGBTQ+ people are more likely to have had their work hours cut and feel their personal finances are worse off than before the coronavirus pandemic. This new report reveals within that community, Black LGBTQ+ people were more likely to have had their work hours reduced, been subject to a pay cut or become unemployed due to COVID-19. 

The survey, conducted in partnership with PSB Insights, consists of 10 online polls between April 16 and July 8 that also tracked changes in behavior. Black LGBTQ+ respondents were more likely than the LGBTQ+ or general population to make changes to their household budgets, take more cash from the bank and check to see if their bank account has overdrafted, as well as ask for delays in paying bills or rent.

“Unfortunately, this new research shows Black people and Black LGBTQ people are suffering disproportionate economic inequities. The data make clear what we have long known: that those living at the intersections of multiply marginalized identities face harsher consequences of the pandemic. It is a clarion call to policymakers that we must do all we can to combat the virus and its economic impact on multiply marginalized communities,” David said.


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Published on Aug 04, 2020