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The State of Gay and Transgender Communities of Color in 2012

The State of Gay and Transgender Communities of Color in 2012

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Aisha Moodie-Mills and Melissa Dunn examine the state of gay and transgender communities of color in 2012.
Aisha Moodie-Mills and Melissa Dunn examine the state of gay and transgender communities of color in 2012.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Apr 13, 2012
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1Center for American Progress |  The State of Gay and Transgender Communities of Color in 2012
 The State of Gay and TransgenderCommunities of Color in 2012
 The economic, educational, and health insecurities thesecommunities are struggling with and how we can help them
Melissa Dunn and Aisha Moodie-Mills April 2012
Tree years aer he Grea Recession, he Unied Saes is seeing a recovering economand a growing job marke. Congress has passed Wall Sree reorms, and aordablehealh insurance is beneing millions o Americans. Despie his progress, however,communiies o colorhroughou he Unied Saes sill ace economic challenges andewer opporuniies han heir whie counerpars. Americans o color are less likely o be homeowners, o hold seady employmen, or o have healh insurance. Even as heeconomy recovers, hese communiies are sill being le behind.Tese issues are exacerbaed or gay and ransgender people o color, who bear he brun o he dispariies experienced by boh he gay communiy and communiies o color.
1
For example, a recenrepor by CAP’s FIRE Iniiaiveound ha he combinedexposure o anigay and/or aniransgender policies, along wih insiuionalized racialdiscriminaion, derails black gay and ransgender Americans’ nancial sabiliy, creaes barriers o accessing qualiy healh care, and erodes saeguards or gay and ransgenderamilies. Tis is also rue or oher gay and ransgender communiies o color.Consequenly, gay and ransgender people o color ace high raes o unemploymenor underemploymen, overall lower raes o pay, higher raes o povery, and a greaerlikelihood o being uninsured. Te youh in hese communiies also experience lowereducaional atainmen and higher raes o homelessness han heir peers.Unwelcoming school climaes, employmen discriminaion, and oudaed amily poli-cies—which bar gay and ransgender parens rom having legal relaionships o heirchildren and limi heir access o saey ne programs, amily ax credis, and healhinsurance—perpeuae hese negaive oucomes.Federal policies ha address hese problems and ha level he playing eld or gay andransgender Americans will help ackle hese dispariies and eliminae he sysemic ani-gay bias ha hwars he abiliy o gay and ransgender communiies o color o hrive.
 
2Center for American Progress |  The State of Gay and Transgender Communities of Color in 2012
 We summarize some o hese policies a he end o his brie, bu rs we examine indeail he challenges and dispariies hese communiies ace.
Low educational attainment
Gay and ransgender communiies o color have lower levels o educaional atain-men han heir whie gay and ransgender and heerosexual peers due in par ounwelcoming school climaes ha disrup heir learning experience. In is 2009Shared Dierences” repor, he Gay, Lesbian, Sraigh Educaion Nework ound ha  80 perceno gay and ransgender sudens o color were verbally harassed in he pas year because o heir sexual orienaion.More han hal o Naive American sudensandone-hirdo Arican American sudens experienced physical violence in school because o heir sexual orienaion.Fear o harassmen and physical violence keeps many gay and ransgender sudens o color a home insead o in he classroom. Abou a quarer o all gay and ransgender Arican American and Asian Pacic Islander sudens repored missing class a leasonce a monh or ear o being bullied or harassed. More hanone-hirdo Laino,Naive American, and muliracial gay and ransgender sudens repored doing he same. Wha’s more,less han hal o gay and ransgender sudens o color old a eacher oradminisraor abou he harassmen hey aced because hey worried ha eiher nohing would be done or he siuaion would ge worse. Tese sudens are righ:Less han hal  o he sudens who repored he bullying el he siuaion was eecively handled.Tese missed days o school conribue o a signican achievemen gap or gay andransgender sudens o color, including lower grade-poin averages, lower raes o highschool graduaion, and less college educaion. Census daa reveal ha only one-quarer o all Hispanic gay and lesbian couples repored having compleed some high school asheir highes level o educaion. Among black same-sex couples ha do repor nishinghigh school, only 40 percen also repor having compleed some level o possecondary educaion, compared o 67 percen o whie same-sex couples.Te Gay, Lesbian, Sraigh Educaion Nework also ound a grade gap ha could makeall he dierence in graduaion raes and college applicaions: Gay and ransgender su-dens o color who experienced high amouns o harassmen based on boh heir sexualorienaion and heir race/ehniciy had grade-poin averages ahal (.5) poin lower han sudens who did no experience harassmen in school.Research suggess ha school climae is he op predicor o educaional oucomes orgay and ransgender youh. A rs sep, hen, in addressing he low educaional atain-men we see among gay and ransgender youh o color is o creae sae spaces and
 
3Center for American Progress |  The State of Gay and Transgender Communities of Color in 2012
 welcoming school climaes or all sudens hrough comprehensive suden nondiscrimi-naion and sae schools policies.Under he curren pachwork o sae laws and regulaions, a suden’s level o proec-ion a school depends on where he or she resides—a circumsance mos likely beyondhis or her conrol. Federal legislaion would ensure ha geographic locaion does nodeermine he righ o an adolescen o a sae school environmen.
Economic insecurity
Employment discrimination
Gay and ransgender communiies o color are also among he mos economically insecure in our sociey, despie he sereoype perpeuaed by mainsream mediaimages mosly o whie, middle-class, gay and ransgender people—suggesing hagay people are more auen han he general populaion. In realiy, hough, hey earnlower wages and have higher raes o povery han boh heir whie gay counerparsand sraigh people o color.Tis suggess ha hese communiies ace signican discriminaion in he work-place due o heir sexual orienaion, gender ideniy, and gender expression. I is sillperecly legal o re someone or no oher reason han heir being gay or ransgenderin a majoriy o saes. In ac only 21 saes and he Disric o Columbiahave laws barring employmen discriminaion based on sexual orienaion. Jus16 saes and he Disric o Columbiahave laws ha explicily ban employmen discriminaion on he basis o gender ideniy.Tis job insecuriy oen resuls in insufcien income, sporadic healh care coverage, andinadequae or unsae housing, among oher issues. Nondiscriminaion laws ha proec allgay and ransgender workers on he local, sae, and ederal levels are hereore essenial o boosing he economic securiy o gay and ransgender communiies o color.
Wages and poverty
Once employed, gay and ransgender people o color sill earn less han heirheerosexual and whie gay and ransgender counerpars. Te average Laina/Hispanic lesbian couple earns$3,000 lesshan Laino/Hispanic opposie-sex couples. Alhough black same-sex male couples earn an average income on par wih black opposie-sex couples, i is sill more han$20,000 lesshan whie same-sex 

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