We Need To Talk About LGBTQ People Of Color & Double Discrimination

photographed by Stephanie Gonot.
Every once in a while, a study comes out that only confirms something many of us already know. Take, for instance, a new survey from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health that has "found" that LGBTQ+ people of color face more discrimination than their white counterparts.
It's not exactly shocking. Any LGBTQ+ person of color could have told you that expressing multiple oppressed identities means they face more discrimination than white people who have only one oppressed identity. But even though it's not a revelation, the data collected in this survey does contribute to a conversation we all need to have. Because double discrimination does exist, and we should be talking about it.
Logan S. Casey, PhD, a political scientist and research associate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who worked on the study, told The Daily Beast that even the researchers weren't surprised to see LGBTQ+ people of color report greater instances of discrimination.
"It didn’t surprise me, but I think it was still pretty powerful to see for question after question after question, the numbers line up so high," he said.
Casey and his colleagues interviewed 489 LGBTQ+ adults about discrimination in the workplace and with the police over a four-month-long phone survey. Altogether, about one fifth reported "being personally discriminated against because of their sexuality or gender identity when applying for jobs." When they took answers only from LGBTQ+ people of color, though, that number jumped to about one third.
LGBTQ+ people of color were also six times more likely to avoid calling the police because they feared discrimination. Again, these numbers line up with expectations, and they have real-life consequences. So far in 2017, a reported 25 transgender women have been murdered — almost all of them transgender women of color.
As Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison told Refinery29 in a statement on Transgender Day Of Remembrance, "This is an important day, but we should not consider our jobs done because we've observed this one day. Instead, we must ... ensure everyone is safe to live and thrive in their community."
That starts with recognizing that this is a problem that needs to be fixed, and this data adds further proof that LGBTQ+ people of color need our support.
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