February 25, 2021 at 10:56 pm PST | by Staff reports
Equality Act would provide federal civil rights protections to 13 million LGBTQ people
The Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law
(Photo Credit: UCLA)

LOS ANGELES – A report released Thursday by the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law noted that LGBTQ people would gain express protections under the Equality Act from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.

“The Equality Act would provide clear federal civil rights protections to all LGBTQ people in the country,” said Christy Mallory, Legal Director at the Williams Institute. “It would be especially beneficial to those living in places without state-level protections and to LGBT people of color, who are particularly vulnerable to poverty, food insecurity, and homelessness.”

LGBTQ people face discrimination in all areas of their lives.

Recent Williams Institute research has documented discrimination against LGBTQ people in employmenthousingpublic accommodationshealth care, and other settings.

Key findings from the Williams Institute include:

Demographics and Socioeconomic Characteristics

  • There are an estimated 13 million people ages 13 and older who identify as LGBTQ in the U.S.
  • Stigma and discrimination increase the risk for mental distress, mental health problems, suicide, and lower social well-being among LGB people compared to their non-LGB counterparts.
  • 22% of LGBTQ adults live in poverty in the U.S. compared to 16% of non-LGBT people.
  • 27% of LGBTQ adults experience food insecurity compared to 17% of non-LGBTQ adults. 

LGBTQ people of color are more likely to experience economic hardships.

  • Nearly 40% of LGBTQ people are people of color, including Latino/a (22%), Black (12%), Asian (2%), Native American/Alaskan Native (1%), Hawaiian Native/other Pacific Islander (1%).
  • Among the transgender population, 16% identify as Black, 21% identify as Latino, and 8% identify as another race or ethnicity.
  • LGBTQ people of color are more likely to live in poverty than white LGBTQ people: 37% of Latino/a LGBTQ people, 31% of Black LGBTQ people, 23% of Asian LGBTQ people, and 22% of multiracial LGBTQ people live in poverty, compared to 15% of white LGBTQ people.
  • Among LGBTQ people, 38% of multiracial people, 37% of Black people, and 32% of Latino/a people report not having enough money for food in the past year, compared to 22% of white LGBTQ people.
  • LGBTQ people of color have similar or higher rates of unemployment compared to white LGBTQ people: 11% of Black LGBTQ people, 9% of Latino/a LGBTQ people, and 7% of LGBTQ Asian LGBTQ people are unemployed, compared to 7% of white LGBTQ people.  

Employment

  • There are approximately 8.1 million LGBTQ workers ages 16 and older in the U.S., including 7.1 million LGB and 1 million transgender workers.
  • An estimated 4.1 million of them live in states without statutes prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment.
  • 9% of LGBTQ adults are unemployed compared to 5% of non-LGBTQ people.
  • An analysis of data collected by Gallup found that 60% of LGB people report being fired from or denied a job compared to 40% of heterosexual people.

Housing

  • There are approximately 11 million LGBTQ adults ages 18 and older in the U.S. An estimated 5.6 million of them live in states without statutes prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in housing.
  • An analysis of Gallup data found that 15% of LGB people report being prevented from moving into or buying a house compared to 6% of heterosexual people.
  • 17% of LGB adults and 30% of transgender adults have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, compared to 6% of the general population.

Education

  • There are over 3.5 million LGBTQ students ages 15 and older in the U.S. An estimated 2.1 million of them live in states without statutory protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination at school.

Public Accommodations

  • An estimated 6.9 million LGBTQ adults live in states without statutes prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in public accommodations.

LGBTQ people would also gain express protections under the Equality Act from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in credit, jury service, and federally funded programs.

Williams Institute scholars previously provided the House of Representatives with expert-written testimony detailing the impact of federal protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination on LGBTQ people.

Read the testimony.

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