While imperfect, U.S. census data shines important light on plight of LGBTQ folks during pandemic

While imperfect, U.S. census data shines important light on plight of LGBTQ folks during pandemic

While the novel coronavirus has undoubtedly impacted everyone’s life in one way or another, it’s fair to say that people who were already vulnerable or lived with marginalized identities have likely faced additional barriers or obstacles while trying to survive amid the pandemic. A virus can harm anyone, sure, but folks with more financial privileges, for example, are likely to have a better shot at accessing good care—as well as the ability to pay for it—as opposed to someone who is under- or entirely uninsured. 

This scenario is part of the reason census data can be so important in understanding how COVID-19 has affected communities in the United States. U.S. census data is not perfect, of course, but it’s a starting point. The census has also recently changed some of its self-reporting categories to be more inclusive and representative of LGBTQ+ folks; it used to ask only about same-sex relationship status, and now includes options for sexual orientation as well as gender identity. That’s great, but sadly, much of what the latest data reflects is that LGBTQ+ folks are really, really hurting, especially when compared to non-LGBTQ+ respondents.

As some background on the data, it includes results from adults in the U.S. between July 21 and Sept. 13. This survey allowed respondents to identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, “something else,” “I don’t know,” or “straight, that is not gay or lesbian.” Respondents could also identify as cisgender or transgender. A limitation of survey data, however, is that the trans identification category is not further broken down to reflect, for example, trans men, trans women, nonbinary people, and so on. Instead, the options are cis men, cis women, and transgender folks. 

19th News did a thorough, extensive analysis of the data and found that while 15% or 16% of non-LGBTQ+ people lost their jobs during the month before the survey was conducted, more than 30% of trans folks did. A total of 23% of the LGBTQ+ population lost their jobs in that month.

While less than one-quarter of non-LGBTQ+ people said they had difficulty paying for basic household expenses during that period, according to the news outlet, just over one-third of LGBTQ+ people said the same. Similarly, only 6% to 7% of non-LGBTQ+ people reported not having enough to eat, while 24% of trans folks said the same. 

Disturbingly, 19th News found that both LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ folks reported concerns about possible evictions as we near the fall season, coming in at about 40% of both populations reporting that they’re either very likely or somewhat likely to face eviction in either September or October. 

There are some caveats with this data: There’s the aforementioned lack of inclusivity when it comes to queer identities, for one. There’s also a relatively small sample size. But past research supports the findings here on the whole; trans folks tend to live in more dire poverty, have fewer resources, and have less access than cisgender folks, for example. Trans folks are more likely to experience unemployment as well as poverty and homelessness. We know one in five LGBTQ+ people live in poverty, with LGBTQ+ people of color particularly impacted.

If this data is surprising to you—after all, many media portrayals of LGBTQ+ people focus on “urban elites”—this older deep dive over at The Atlantic is worth a read. 

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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