Study: Non-White, Non-Straight Workers Face Hurdles
New research shows LGBT workers of color are among the most disadvantaged.
Take a pot and throw in some of the ingredients LGBT people of color face: discrimination coupled with a lack of workplace protections, unequal job benefits and taxation, and unsafe, under-resourced U.S. schools. What do you get? One of the most disadvantaged classes of labor in the American economy.
So says new research from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the Center for American Progress (CAP), the Human Rights Coalition (HRC) and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC).
The study, "A Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers of Colors," comes on the heels of another recently released and similar study, "A Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits, and More Taxes for LGBT Workers," which SFGN covered in September.
"Contrary to popular stereotypes, LGBT workers are more racially diverse than the general population, making it critical to address the unique obstacles they face," said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director and CEO of NBJC. "Bias and prejudice based on race, sexual orientation, and gender identity and/or expression intersect to the detriment of LGBT workers of color."
Here are some of the major findings from the study:
1. LGBT People are more racially and ethnically diverse than the U.S. population as a whole:
• About one-third of LGBT people are people of color. In a 2012 Gallup poll, one in three LGBT respondents (33 percent) identified themselves as people of color, compared to 27 percent of non-LGBT respondents (in all, there are an estimated 5.4 million LGBT workers in the United States, of which 1.8 million are people of color).
• LGBT youth of color are at high risk of becoming homeless. An estimated 20 to 40 percent of homeless youth in the U.S. identify as LGBT or believe they may be LGBT. Research also shows that African American and Native American young people are overrepresented among LGBT homeless youth, as well as the broader homeless population. One study found that among homeless youth who identify as gay or lesbian, 44 percent identified as black and 26 percent as Latino.
• LGBT workers of color are at significant risk of being unemployed. They have higher rates of unemployment compared to non-LGBT people of color. In addition, unemployment rates for transgender people of color have reached as high as four times the national unemployment rate.
• LGBT workers of color are at significant risk of poverty. Research shows that they, and particularly black LGBT people, are at a much higher risk of poverty than non-LGBT people.