More members of the LGBTQIA community claim to have experienced job loss and worsening mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) analysis.
The study – “The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on LGBT People” – actually found that LGBTQIA people experienced the COVID-19 pandemic differently than non-LGBT people.
There are particular areas where this difference is more apparent, including:
- Economic: A larger share of LGBT adults compared to non-LGBTQIA adults report that they or someone in their household has experienced COVID-era job loss (56% v. 44%).
- Mental health: Three-fourths of LGBTQIA people (74%) say worry and stress from the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, compared to 49% of those who are not LGBTQIA, and are more likely to say that negative impact has been major (49% v 23%).
- Views: One-third (34%) of LGBTQIA adults say the news has generally underestimated the seriousness of the pandemic (compared to 23% of non-LGBT adults). Three-fourths of LGBT adults (74%) are either “very worried” or “somewhat worried” that they or someone in their family will get sick from the coronavirus, similar to responses from, non-LGBTQIA adults (67%). A large share of LGBTQIA adults report being willing to take CDC recommend steps to avoid acquisition/transmission of the virus.
- Vaccine: While LGBTQIA people report wanting to get vaccinated at a similar pace as non-LGBT people, a greater share of LGBTQIA adults see doing so as part of everyone’s responsibility to protect the health of others (75% v. 48%), while greater shares of non-LGBTQIA people see vaccination as a personal choice (49% v 24%).
According to KFF, there is actually “very limited data on how the pandemic has impacted (LGBTQIA) people,” though limited early data “suggested that this group may be disproportionately impacted. The reasons are far-reaching and may include: LGBTQIA individuals being at greater risk of worse COVID-19 outcomes due to higher rates of comorbidities; working in highly affected industries such as health care and restaurants/food services; living on average on lower incomes than non-LGBTQIA people; experiencing stigma and discrimination related to sexual orientation/gender identity, including in accessing health care; and, for transgender individuals, being less likely to have health coverage.”
While the KFF study was done in the US, LGBTQIA people in the Philippines have also not been spared from the hardships brought about by COVID-19.
Earlier, Ging Cristobal, project coordinator for Asia & Pacific Islands Region of OutRight Action International, told Outrage Magazine that “‘yung Covid-19, napakalaki ng pinsala sa lahat (Covid-19 did big damage do everyone)” though even more so to minority sectors like the LGBTQIA community.
Back to the KFF study, it’s worth noting that more LGBTQIA people expressed their willingness to take CDC recommended steps to avoid getting infected with COVID-19. “Larger shares of LGBT people say they could follow social distancing guidelines for more than six months or until there is a vaccine widely available than non-LGBTQIA people (85% v 69%). Conversely, larger shares of non-LGBTQIA people say they could follow social distancing guidelines for only up to six months compared to LGBT people (28% v. 14%). Additionally and similarly to non-LGBTQIA people, vast majorities of LGBTQIA people also say they wear a mask every time or most of the time when they leave the house (97%) and accurately believe masks limit the spread of coronavirus (90%).”
For KFF, responses related to COVID-19 should recognize how some sectors of society – e.g. LGBTQIA community – may be more affected by COVID-19. For instance, “targeted vaccine outreach to LGBTQIA people could be helpful in reaching a group that has high rates of comorbidities that place them at elevated risk for COVID-19 but has traditionally faced barriers to accessing medical care.”