LGBTQ people are disproportionately impacted by COVID, study shows

Updated: Jan. 18, 2021 at 5:29 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Everyone has been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another, but many in our communities are being hit harder by the fallouts from the virus. Millions of Americans are still unemployed, facing economic hardships. Among them, more than 1.5 million Arizonans receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

“COVID-19 is affecting all of us, but it’s not affecting all of us in the same way,” said Logan Casey, a policy researcher at Movement Advancement Project (MAP).

A study conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard and reported by MAP, shows LGBTQ people, and LGBTQ people of color, are disproportionately affected by COVID than their non-LGBTQ neighbors.

“LGBTQ people, and especially LGBTQ people of color are being especially hard hit by the pandemic, especially when it comes to economic security, job loss and obstacle when it comes to needed healthcare,” said Casey.

According to the report, since the pandemic began, nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ people and their families experienced a job loss or disruption. Compare that, to 45 percent of non-LGBTQ people. The numbers are higher for people of color. 71% of Latinx LGBTQ households lost a job or other had some kind of employment disruption. 95% of Black LGBTQ households and 70% of Latinx LGBTQ households experienced at least one serious financial problem since the start of COVID-19.

It’s not just economic hardships, internet and schooling at home have been greatly impacted, and LGBTQ people are experiencing more isolation. Just more than half of LGBTQ households with kids reported struggles with their children’s education, compares to 36% of non-LGBTQ households. more than four in ten LGBTQ participants said “they or someone in their home has had a serious problem coping with social and physical isolation.”

Researchers said it’s important to note these disparities were already there—the pandemic has certainly widened and brought to light the inequalities. Many people of color and LGBTQ people work in service areas like hospitality, restaurants, bars and other essential services that were hit hard by lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions.

“Part of the reason LGBTQ people and people of color are over represented in those kinds of jobs is because discrimination and employment disparities that existed prior to the pandemic,” said Casey. “In order to respond to the impacts of COVID we’re going to need to not only respond to the pandemic itself, but the also the root causes of the disparities that existed before the pandemic began.”

The Movement Advancement Project has an “equality profile” for each state. Arizona is ranked as “Fair.”

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