LGBT+ Americans bear brunt of pandemic's economic crash

by Oscar Lopez | @oscarlopezgib | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 4 September 2020 12:30 GMT

Rainbow flags fly at Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan in support of the LGBT community, prior to the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, in New York City, New York, U.S., June 26, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Gay and trans Americans are being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.

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By Oscar Lopez

Sept 4 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is having a harsher impact on LGBT+ Americans than on the general population, said a survey released on Friday showing gay and trans people 30% more likely to have lost their jobs since May.

LGBT+ employees are 20% more likely to have had hours reduced than their straight colleagues, a figure that rises to 44% among gay and trans people of color, said the survey by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a U.S. advocacy group.

The research looked at the economic impact of the pandemic from the end of May, when many U.S. states started easing lockdowns and initiating policies to reopen businesses.

"As some communities start to go back to work ... we're seeing that LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ people of color and transgender people, are being left behind," said HRC President Alphonso David in a statement.

"The data continues to reinforce what we already know - that the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is not over because the pandemic is not over, especially for communities who were already marginalized in this country."

More than 6 million cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the United States, according to a Reuters tally, with at least 185,000 deaths.

The government's most recent report on joblessness showed nearly 30 million Americans claiming some form of unemployment benefit in mid-August, with some 880,000 people filing for claims last week alone.

Rights advocates say gay and trans people are bearing the brunt - locked out of education and work opportunities due to discrimination, many were in a fragile state financially before the pandemic hit.

Even with many states starting to reopen, Black and Latino LGBT+ people have been 70% more likely than the general population to have lost their jobs, according to the HRC survey.

LGBT+ people were 50% more likely to have taken pay cuts since lockdown measures eased, and LGBT+ people of color were one and a half times more likely, it said.

Nevertheless, the survey found eight in 10 LGBT+ people favored containing the virus rather than reopening the economy after lockdown measures eased, compared with less than 70% among the general population.

The HRC survey was conducted with analytics consultancy firm PSB among 12,000 U.S. adults between April 16 and Aug. 6.

Related stories:

LGBT+ people facing more economic hardship in U.S. pandemic fallout – survey

Economic impact of coronavirus zeroes in on Black LGBT+ Americans     

(Reporting by Oscar Lopez @oscarlopezgib; editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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