LGBTQ Americans Face Healthcare, Housing, Workplace Discrimination

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LGBTQ Americans Face Healthcare, Housing, Workplace Discrimination

More than half (51 percent) of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans say they or an LGBTQ friend or family member have been subjected to violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, a report from National Public Radio, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds.

Part of a series of reports based on a nationally representative survey of nearly thirty-five hundred people across the United States, the report, Discrimination in America: Experiences and Views of LGBTQ Americans (64 pages, PDF), found that significant percentages of LGBTQ respondents said they or a friend or family member had been threatened or non-sexually harassed (57 percent), sexually harassed (51 percent), and/or verbally harassed or questioned in a bathroom (34 percent). In addition, more than half (57 percent) of LGBTQ respondents said they had been personally subjected to slurs, while a majority of respondents (53 percent) said they had been subjected to insensitive or offensive comments or negative assumptions about their sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to the report, about one in five LGBTQ respondents reported being personally discriminated against when renting or buying a home (22 percent), applying to or attending college (20 percent), applying for a job (22 percent), and being considered for a promotion (22 percent). In addition, 16 percent of all LGBTQ respondents said they had personally experienced discrimination when going to a doctor or health clinic, while 18 percent said they had avoided seeking health care out of concern they would be discriminated against. Among transgender respondents, 22 percent said they had avoided going to the doctor or health clinic, 31 percent said they had no regular healthcare provider, and 22 percent said they were currently uninsured.

The survey also found that LGBTQ respondents of color were more than twice as likely as white LGBTQ respondents to report being discriminated against when applying for a job (32 percent vs. 13 percent) and interacting with police (24 percent vs. 11 percent) — and six times as likely to avoid calling the police or other authority figure when in need out of concern that they would be discriminated against (30 percent vs. 5 percent). 

“Poll Finds a Majority of LGBTQ Americans Report Violence, Threats, or Sexual Harassment Related to Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity; One-Third Report Bathroom Harassment.” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Press Release 11/21/2017. “Discrimination in America: Experiences and Views of LGBTQ Americans.” National Public Radio, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Report 11/21/2017.
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