The State of Gay and Transgender Communities of Color in 2012

Published: April 25, 2012

Three years after the Great Recession, the United States is seeing a recovering economy
and a growing job market. Congress has passed Wall Street reforms, and affordable
health insurance is benefiting millions of Americans. Despite this progress, however,
communities of color throughout the United States still face economic challenges and
fewer opportunities than their white counterparts. Americans of color are less likely to
be homeowners, to hold steady employment, or to have health insurance. Even as the
economy recovers, these communities are still being left behind.

These issues are exacerbated for gay and transgender people of color, who bear the
brunt of the disparities experienced by both the gay community and communities of
color.1 For example, a recent report by CAP’s FIRE Initiative found that the combined
exposure to antigay and/or antitransgender policies, along with institutionalized racial
discrimination, derails black gay and transgender Americans’ financial stability, creates
barriers to accessing quality health care, and erodes safeguards for gay and transgender
families. This is also true for other gay and transgender communities of color.

Consequently, gay and transgender people of color face high rates of unemployment
or underemployment, overall lower rates of pay, higher rates of poverty, and a greater
likelihood of being uninsured. The youth in these communities also experience lower
educational attainment and higher rates of homelessness than their peers.
Unwelcoming school climates, employment discrimination, and outdated family policies—
which bar gay and transgender parents from having legal relationships to their
children and limit their access to safety net programs, family tax credits, and health
insurance—perpetuate these negative outcomes.

Federal policies that address these problems and that level the playing field for gay and
transgender Americans will help tackle these disparities and eliminate the systemic antigay
bias that thwarts the ability of gay and transgender communities of color to thrive.

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