Washington, D.C., April 23, 2015 — A new report released today documents how systemic failures to protect certain students, recognize modern families, and protect people from discrimination drive and trap lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people of color into a devastating cycle of poverty.
Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for LGBT People of Color examines the economic insecurity experienced by LGBT people of color compared to their white LGBT counterparts and non-LGBT people of color. The report details the ways in which a wide array of legal failures, combined with the disparities faced by people of color, result in higher poverty rates and increased economic insecurity for LGBT people of color.
Co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and the Center for American Progress (CAP), in partnership with Center for Community Change, Center for Popular Democracy, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), National Association of Social Workers, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC,) the National Education Association, and the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), the report is a companion to Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being LGBT in America and is available online at www.lgbtmap.org/unfair-price-LGBT-people-of-color.
An overview infographic summarizing the report’s findings is available at www.lgbtmap.org/unfair-price-LGBT-people-of-color-infographic.
3 MILLION LGBT PEOPLE OF COLOR AT RISK OF ECONOMIC INSECURITY
LGBT people are more likely than non-LGBT people to be poor–and for LGBT people of color, rates of poverty are even higher. The report presents the latest demographic information about LGBT people of color, including:
THE LAW FAILS TO PROTECT LGBT STUDENTS, IN PARTICULAR LGBT STUDENTS OF COLOR.
Upon entering the education system, bullying, harassment and violence together create a key barrier to education for LGBT students of color. Barriers of race, sexual orientation, and gender identity are compounded in ways that can make it more difficult to obtain an affordable, quality education. The key education-related challenges facing LGBT youth of color are:
“Unsafe school environments not only harm LGBT youth of color, but they also create barriers to higher education, including difficulties obtaining financial aid and unsupportive campus environments,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition. “Studies show that graduating from high school and earning a college degree increases employment opportunities. All young people should have the opportunity to learn, thrive, and succeed without the threat of violence and harassment.”
THE LAW FAILS TO PROTECT LGBT PEOPLE OF COLOR AND THEIR FAMILIES FROM DISCRIMINATION.
Anti-LGBT laws that harm the financial well-being of LGBT people disproportionately affect LGBT people of color, resulting in lower incomes and making it harder to save for the future or cover basic necessities. These same legal inequalities can also burden LGBT people with higher costs for essentials like housing, healthcare, health insurance, and education.
THE LAW FAILS TO RECOGNIZE LGBT FAMILIES
LGBT people of color are more likely to be raising children than white LGBT people; for example, women of color in same-sex couples are nearly twice as likely to raise children as white women in same-sex couples. And so the denial of marriage and legal parenting ties particularly harms LGBT families of color and undermines their financial stability. Among those harms: higher healthcare costs or the unfair denial of health insurance, lack of access to safety-net programs, higher taxes, the inability to access Social Security retirement and disability programs, and more.
“Disproportionate numbers of LGBT people of color live in places that lack any explicit state-level protections for LGBT people,” said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of the Movement Advancement Project. “This means that LGBT people of color face a high risk of economic harm from anti-LGBT laws. Based on the connection between poverty and an individual’s race or ethnicity, many LGBT people of color are less able to absorb the financial penalties created by anti-LGBT laws when compared to white LGBT people. It requires financial resources to try to mitigate the effects of these unfair laws, such as paying for an attorney to draw up a will or to obtain a second-parent adoption.”
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MAP's mission is to provide independent and rigorous research, insight and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all. MAP works to ensure that all people have a fair chance to pursue health and happiness, earn a living, take care of the ones they love, be safe in their communities, and participate in civic life.
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. www.americanprogress.org
Center for Community Change, www.communitychange.org
Center for Popular Democracy, www.populardemocracy.org
League of United Latin American Citizens, www.lulac.org
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, www.maldef.org
National Action Network, www.nationalactionnetwork.net
National Association of Social Workers, www.socialworkers.org
National Black Justice Coalition, www.nbjc.org
National Education Association, www.nea.org
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, www.nqapia.org