February 16, 2021 at 10:28 pm PST | by Staff reports
COVID pandemic-disproportionate impact on LGBTQ+ people of color
The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law (Photo Credit: UCLA)

LOS ANGELES – A study released this week by The Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law using data collected by an Axios-Ipsos poll in Fall 2020, shows that LGBTQ+ people are more adversely impacted in all areas of life by the coronavirus pandemic than their white LGBTQ+ and white non-LGBTQ+ people.

The study’s main finding is that the impact of the pandemic on LGBT communities cannot be fully understood without considering race and ethnicity as well as sexual orientation and gender identity.

“In short, across a number of indicators, LGBT people of color are more likely to experience the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 than non-LGBT White people,” the study’s summary read.

According to the findings, LGBTQ+ people are also more likely to follow public health measures, such as getting tested for COVID-19, social distancing, and wearing masks than non-LGBT White people. 

The study also highlighted a glaring lack of data metrics as information on impact on LGBTQ+ people is limited in public data collection efforts nationally with the exceptions of the states of California and Pennsylvania.

This included a lack of information from the Department of Commerce U.S. Census Bureau and the other 48 states which do not include demographic questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in the efforts by public health official’s COVID-19 data collection.

Prior Williams Institute research has shown that many LGBT adults are at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19 and its resulting negative economic impacts. This report provides new data on the impact of COVID-19 on LGBT people collected in the fall of 2020.

“The impact of the pandemic on LGBT people—and LGBT people of color specifically—must be taken into account as the federal government seeks to restore trust in institutions responding to the public health crisis and to provide support to those most economically affected by COVID-19,” the study’s authors pointed out.

Some of the highlights included; “LGBT respondents were more likely than non-LGBT respondents to be laid off or furloughed from their jobs. They report problems affording basic household goods and report having problems paying their rent or mortgage.”

LGBT respondents were more likely to report being concerned about getting sick from COVID-19 (85.1% v. 75.0%), wearing a mask outside of the home (94.0% v. 89.9%), and practicing social distancing (80.0% v. 75.0%) than their non-LGBT counterparts. 

LGBT people of color, and non-LGBT people of color were more likely to report being concerned about getting sick with COVID-19, wearing a mask outside of the home, and practicing social distancing than non-LGBT White respondents. For example, 92.3% of LGBT people of color reported wearing a mask all or some of the time outside of the home compared to 86.7% of non-LGBT White respondents. 

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