Respect Equality

Racial, gender disparities persist within LGBT community: report

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Story at a glance

  • In a new study, LGBT people of color fared far worse than white LGBT adults on several assessments of health and socioeconomic well-being.
  • Nearly half of LGBT people of color live in low-income households, according to the report, compared to 36 percent of white LGBT adults.
  • LGBT people of color also face higher rates of food insecurity and unemployment than their white counterparts, according to the report.

LGBT people of color in a study published Thursday fared far worse than white LGBT adults on several assessments of health and socioeconomic well-being, highlighting the need for policy interventions addressing disparities along the lines of race, gender and sexuality — separately and at their intersection — advocates say.

According to a report released by the Williams Institute, a public policy think tank focusing on sexual orientation and gender identity, an estimated 47 percent of LGBT people of color live in a low-income household compared to 36 percent of white LGBT adults.

Of that percentage, more than 51 percent of LGBT women of color live in low-income households, compared to 43 percent of white LGBT women, according to the report, which uses data collected from Gallup surveys conducted between 2012 and 2018.


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Roughly 12 percent of LGBT people of color are unemployed, compared to 9 percent of white LGBT adults, according to the report, and about a third of LGBT people of color face frequent food insecurity, compared to 22 percent of white LGBT individuals.

“The relationship between race and LGBT status is a complicated one that differs by outcome and racial group,” Bianca D.M. Wilson, the report’s lead author, said in a statement. “Social and policy interventions that address economic and health disparities need to examine their impact on racial, gender and LGBT populations, both separately and at their intersection.”

LGBT people of color also report poorer physical and mental health compared to white LGBT adults, according to the report, though fewer LGBT people of color reported receiving a depression diagnosis compared to white LGBT adults, with white LGBT women the most likely to have depression.

The study also found substantial differences in well-being among people of color, and Latino and Asian American LGBT people reported lower levels of unemployment than other groups. 


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