The Human Rights Campaign recognized early on that the LGBTQ community was especially vulnerable during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Read their March 30th research brief outlining health and economic risks faced by the LGBTQ community during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Click the thumbnail image to download the PDF.
Unique Challenges for Older LGBTQ People
HRC uncovered unique challenges for LGBTQ seniors. Here is an excerpt from the brief.
Systemic discrimination in housing, employment, and healthcare results in an increased risk for poverty, and exacerbates health disparities and social isolation among aging LGBTQ people. Harassment by peers and healthcare providers also silences many LGBTQ older adults and their families. Governmental social service programs provide critical support for families facing these crises across the lifespan.
The Department of Health and Human Services commissioned a report from the National Academy of Sciences (formerly the Institute of Medicine, or IOM) to assess the health status of LGBTQ people. The report’s findings were clear and telling. It specifically addressed the health disparities and unique needs facing older LGBTQ adults including barriers to healthcare services – like those provided under the Older Americans Act. The report highlighted several areas of concern regarding transgender older adults including high rates of sexual assault and violence, a general absence of data and invisibility in research and surveys, and rates of family rejection and isolation higher than any other population within the LGBTQ community. The report also found that “the combined stigma of being elderly and transgender can serve as a strong traumatizing force, potentially exacerbating both forms of discrimination and stigma.”
The HHS report specifically addressed transportation, isolation, and the failure of government programs to meet the needs of LGBTQ older adults as factors that undermine the health status of this population. Older LGBTQ adults living in rural areas faced even more extreme barriers to obtaining culturally competent care and social supports.
According to SAGE, LGBTQ older people are twice as likely to be living alone and four times less likely to have children, which means that older LGBTQ people are especially at risk to lack care or support from family. According to the Movement Advancement Project, there are more than 2.7 million older LGBTQ adults in the United States. However, a survey of older (aged 50+) LGBTQ adults by AARP found that three in four respondents were concerned about having enough support from family and friends as they age. This may compound with the effects of family rejection that pull crucial safety nets out from under LGBTQ people. Ultimately, this can lead to more difficult access to treatment and support if and when a COVID-19 infection occurs.HRC Research Brief, The Lives and Livelihoods of Many in the LGBTQ Community are at Risk Amidst COVID-19 Crisis