LOS ANGELES – Data collected in fall 2020 finds that LGBTQ people—in particular LGBTQ people of color—have disproportionately experienced the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.
Among those tested, an estimated 15% of LGBTQ people of color have tested positive for COVID-19, compared to 7% of their non-LGBT white peers. In addition, LGBTQ people of color are about twice as likely to have been laid off or furloughed from work and to struggle to pay for household goods compared to non-LGBTQ white adults.
LGBTQ people of color twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 as straight white people
Using data from a nationally representative sample of adults collected by Axios-Ipsos between August and December 2020, researchers found that compared to their non-LGBTQ peers, LGBTQ respondents were more likely to report wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and being concerned about getting sick from COVID-19.
During the last few months of the Trump administration, fewer LGBTQ adults than non-LGBTQ adults expressed trust in the federal government to provide accurate information about COVID-19. In addition, only 28% of LGBTQ respondents felt that pharmaceutical companies had their best interest in mind, compared to 41% of non-LGBT respondents.
“The impact of the pandemic on the LGBTQ community cannot be fully understood without considering race and ethnicity as well as sexual orientation and gender identity,” said lead author Brad Sears, Interim Director at the Williams Institute. “It will be vital to restoring trust in the institutions that are critical to successfully vaccinating LGBTQ communities, particularly LGBTQ people of color.”
Among those who have tested for COVID-19, positivity rates were similar between LGBTQ people (10%) and non-LGBT people (9%). However, LGBTQ people of color (15%) were twice as likely to test positive compared to non-LGBTQ white adults (7%).
About one-third of LGBTQ people of color personally knew someone who died of COVID-19 compared to one-fifth of white LGBTQ and white non-LGBTQ people.
LGBTQ respondents were more likely than non-LGBTQ respondents to be laid off (12% vs 8%) or furloughed from their jobs (14% vs 10%), report problems affording basic household goods (24% vs 17%), and report having problems paying their rent or mortgage (20% vs 12%).
Both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ people of color were twice as likely to have been laid off or temporality furloughed from work when compared to non-LGBT white adults.
LGBTQ people of color were over twice as likely to report having less ability to pay for household goods in the two weeks before the survey (29% vs 14%) and over three times as likely to report being unable to pay their rent or mortgage (26% v. 9%) than non-LGBTQ white adults.
During the final months of the Trump Administration, fewer LGBTQ respondents than non-LGBTQ respondents reported trusting the federal government to provide accurate information about COVID-19 (31% vs 38%).
In contrast, more LGBTQ respondents than non-LGBTQ respondents reported trusting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (76% vs 70%) and national public health officials (74% vs 68%) for COVID-19 information.
Approximately 41% of non-LGBTQ people felt that pharmaceutical companies had their best interest in mind, compared to only 28% of LGBTQ respondents.
“Most government data collection efforts, including those focused on COVID-19, do not include sexual orientation and gender identity measures,” said study author Kerith J. Conron, Research Director at the Williams Institute. “This omission hinders efforts to adequately assess and address the needs of LGBTQ populations in COVID-19 recovery efforts.”