Anti-LGBT laws = significantly higher rates of poverty for LGBT people, study finds
LGBT Americans face significantly higher rates of poverty and a whole slew of financial penalties, and much of it can be attributed to anti-LGBT laws, according to a new report.
The report, called “Paying an Unfair Price,” was released by the Movement Advancement Project, or MAP, and the Center for American Progress. It looked at how discriminatory laws punish LGBT people and their families, resulting in greater rates of poverty, additional hurdles for LGBT people searching for work, costlier health insurance and taxes, and fewer educational opportunities. These effects are multiplied for other marginalized groups, such as trans people and people of color.
How do inequitable laws contribute to higher rates of poverty for LGBT people? The report documents how LGBT people in the United States face clear financial penalties because of three primary failures in the law.
- Lack of protection from discrimination means that LGBT people can be fired, denied housing and credit, and refused medically necessary health care simply because they are LGBT. The financial penalty: LGBT people can struggle to find work, make less on the job, and have higher housing and medical costs than their non-LGBT peers.
- Refusal to recognize LGBT families means that LGBT families are denied many of thesame benefits afforded to non-LGBT families when it comes to health insurance, taxes, vital safety-net programs, and retirement planning. The financial penalty: LGBT families pay more for health insurance, taxes, and legal assistance and may be unable to access essential protections for their families in times of crisis.
- Failure to adequately protect LGBT students means that LGBT people and their families often face a hostile, unsafe, and unwelcoming environment in local schools, as well as discrimination in accessing financial aid and other support. The financial penalty: LGBT youth are more likely to perform poorly in school and to face challenges pursuing postsecondary educational opportunities, as can youth with LGBT parents. This, in turn, can reduce their earnings over time, as well as their chances of having successful jobs and careers.
What do they recommend to start making this better? Nondiscrimination protections at the federal and state level, marriage equality nationwide, allowing LGBT parents to form legal relationships with the children they are raising, and protecting students from anti-LGBT discrimination.
We know the causes, we know the problems they help create, and we know the solutions. (Some of them, at least.) What are we waiting for?