Study: LGBTQs Hit Harder by Pandemic's Economic, Emotional Health Impact

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday March 16, 2021
Originally published on March 15, 2021

A new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that LGBTQ people have been harder hit by the emotional and financial stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic than heterosexual and cisgender people overall have been, according to U.S. News and World Report.

"The study found that 56% of LGBT adults reported that they or someone they know lost their job during the pandemic compared with 44% of non-LGBT adults," U.S. News and World Report summarized.

"Additionally, three-fourths of LGBT people say the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health, with 49% saying the impact has been major," the article added; by contrast, only "49% of non-LGBT people reported the same negative impact, only 23% called it major."

The study also suggested that LGBTQ Americans are taking the COVID crisis more seriously than their heterosexual and cisgender fellow citizens.

"75% of LGBT adults see it as part of everyone's responsibility to get vaccinated versus 48% of non-LGBT people," the article noted. "Some 49% of non-LGBT people see vaccination as a personal choice compared to 24% of LGBT people."

Lindsey Dawson, who serves as the Kaiser Family Foundation's Associate Director of HIV Policy, told the publication that this apparent disparity in consciousness around the public health dimension of the pandemic might have roots in the AIDS epidemic.

"They had experience with HIV," Dawson pointed out, recalling that that crisis "really necessitated by the public to adopt public health strategies to curb, both to impact our own health and the health of others as well."

The study was released on March 11. Earlier reports have verified disparities between LGBTQ Americans and non-LGBTQ Americans in health and health care, including the effect COVID has had on sharpening those disparities. The new study zeroed in on the same factors other studies had noted, including higher rates of poverty, higher "comorbities," which could include smoking and drinking, and "stigma and discrimination related to sexual orientation/gender identity, including in accessing health care." The new study also pointed to higher rates of employment in the health care and hospitality industries, where workers must interact directly with the public on a daily basis.

Transgender Americans in particular suffered from such disparities, the study noted, "being less likely to have health coverage."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.