A new study found alarming rates of discrimination against the LGBTQ community, especially among the younger generation in the past year.
The Center for American Progress, and the research group NORC at the University of Chicago, surveyed 1,528 self-identified LGBTQ adults ages 18 or older, finding discrimination pervades their personal lives, the workplace and the public sphere as well as their access to health care.
The study found more than 1 in 3 LGBTQ Americans faced discrimination of some sort in the past year. This is an increase from the 2017 survey when 1 in 4 LGBTQ Americans reported some form of discrimination.
According to the 2020 study, reported discrimination is higher than average among transgender Americans (62 percent), nonbinary people (69 percent), those with a disability (45 percent), and individuals of color (43 percent).
Younger generations reported higher levels of discrimination with 57 percent of Generation Z adults and 42 percent of Millennials reported some form of discrimination in the past year, compared with 30 percent of Generation Xers and about one-fifth of Baby Boomers, the study finds.
Discrimination can have adverse effects on individuals’ psychological and physical as well as on their income and job opportunities. In order to avoid negative discriminatory experiences, 54 percent of LGBTQ Americans have had to hide a personal relationship and about one-fifth to one-third have altered other aspects of their personal or work lives.
According to the study, health care is a particular area of discrimination against LGBTQ individuals with 15 percent of respondents postponing or avoiding medical treatment due to discrimination, including 28 percent of transgender individuals. Sixteen percent of LGBTQ Americans, including 40 percent of transgender respondents, reported postponing or avoiding preventive screenings due to discrimination.
Transgender individuals express more unique obstacles to accessing health care compared to any other LGBTQ sub-group –– 33 percent reported having to teach their doctor or provider about transgender people in order to get appropriate care while 25 percent said that health care professionals refused to give them medical treatment related to their gender transition.
COVID-19 is another factor affecting the mental health of LGBTQ individuals as the pandemic has cut off positive social support groups and critical mental health and social services. Lockdowns have forced many young LGBTQ individuals to move back to an environment that may be unsupportive or abusive.
The findings come as the Trump administration has repeatedly attacked the LGBTQ community, trying to limit opportunities and services to a marginalized population. Luckily, a federal judge has blocked Trump’s attempts to roll back health care protections for transgender Americans and the Supreme Court has ruled to protect LGBTQ individuals from employment discrimination. Still, as the study shows, greater policies and practices must be put in place to stop discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
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