The Situation of the LGBT Community in The US
4.5% of American adults identify as Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender according to the Williams Institute. According to the same source, 58% of White Americans identify as such compared with 21% for Latino/a and 12% for Blacks.
Despite major advancements in LGBT rights, including the legalization of gay marriage nationwide in the US, discrimination against their sexual orientation remains a recurrent problem faced by this community.
· Violence: LGBT individuals are more at risk to be the target of hate crimes. In 2018, the police recorded around 15.000 hate crimes committed against LGBT people. One of the most memorable hate crimes perpetrated against the LGBT community was the mass shooting inside a night club in Orlando in 2016 where 50 people died.
· Job Discrimination: in numerous states, a person who identifies as LGBT can be fired if their boss disagrees with their sexual orientation. This is a factor that leads many Americans to poverty and aggravates the struggles they are already facing. Therefore, they remain in the closet and avoid displaying their identity.
· Poverty: research suggests that the LGBT community faces a higher poverty rate than heterosexuals. According to the Williams Institute, around 21.5% of Lesbians are poorer than 19.1% of heterosexual women. The poverty rate is even higher to gay men with 20.1% in comparison to 13.4% of gay men. Many factors aggravate poverty rate for the LGBT community. Poverty is mainly related to low income and discrimination in employment. Studies on employment discrimination conducted by Badgett, 2012 and Fassinger, 2007 conclude that between 42% and 68% of LGBT individuals experienced job discrimination. Grant et al, estimated that 25% of LGBT lost their jobs because of their sexual orientation.
· Housing Discrimination: According to estimates in 2013, same-sex couples are less likely to be given a favorable response to house renting. The study has also found that gay couples are less likely to get replies to their emails concerning their inquiries.
This leaves homosexual individuals at risk of becoming homeless and therefore at a higher risk of being attacked, raped or assaulted.
· Marginalization and lack of acceptance: A substantial percentage of the LGBT community experienced a lack of acceptance from their families because of their coming out. This in return led to their expulsion from their homes or caregivers’ homes and as a consequence, many LGBT individuals are homeless and subjected to violence, drug abuse, and exploitation. Between 11 % and 45% of homeless youth identify as LGBT. Besides, they may be at a greater risk of developing anxiety disorders and mental health issues such as depression and drug addiction because of a long period of homelessness. 62% of LGBT youth are more likely to commit suicide than heterosexuals.
Although America has come a long way concerning gay rights and showed a considerable improvement towards ending stigma, work still needs to be done to improve the conditions of LGBT and end the various barriers they are still facing.