Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, federal legislation that would expressly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity under existing civil rights laws.
LGBT people face discrimination in all areas of their lives. Recent Williams Institute research has documented discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing, public accommodations, health care, and other settings.
"The Equality Act would provide clear federal civil rights protections to all LGBT people in the country," said Christy Mallory, Legal Director at the Williams Institute. "It would be especially beneficial to those living in places without state-level protections and to LGBT people of color, who are particularly vulnerable to poverty, food insecurity, and homelessness."
Key findings from the Williams Institute include
Demographics and Socioeconomic Characteristics
There are an estimated 13 million people ages 13 and older who identify as LGBT in the U.S.
Stigma and discrimination increase the risk for mental distress, mental health problems, suicide, and lower social well-being among LGB people compared to their non-LGB counterparts.
22% of LGBT adults live in poverty in the U.S. compared to 16% of non-LGBT people.
27% of LGBT adults experience food insecurity compared to 17% of non-LGBT adults.
LGBTQ people of color are more likely to experience economic hardships.
Nearly 40% of LGBT people are people of color, including Latino/a (22%), Black (12%), Asian (2%), Native American/Alaskan Native (1%), Hawaiian Native/other Pacific Islander (1%).
Among the transgender population, 16% identify as Black, 21% identify as Latino, and 8% identify as another race or ethnicity.
LGBT people of color are more likely to live in poverty than white LGBT people: 37% of Latino/a LGBT people, 31% of Black LGBT people, 23% of Asian LGBT people, and 22% of multiracial LGBT people live in poverty, compared to 15% of white LGBT people.
Among LGBT people, 38% of multiracial people, 37% of Black people, and 32% of Latino/a people report not having enough money for food in the past year, compared to 22% of white LGBT people.
LGBT people of color have similar or higher rates of unemployment compared to white LGBT people: 11% of Black LGBT people, 9% of Latino/a LGBT people, and 7% of LGBT Asian LGBT people are unemployed, compared to 7% of white LGBT people.
There are approximately 8.1 million LGBT workers ages 16 and older in the U.S., including 7.1 million LGB and 1 million transgender workers.
An estimated 4.1 million of them live in states without statutes prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment.
9% of LGBT adults are unemployed compared to 5% of non-LGBT people.
An analysis of data collected by Gallup found that 60% of LGB people report being fired from or denied a job compared to 40% of heterosexual people.
There are approximately 11 million LGBT adults ages 18 and older in the U.S. An estimated 5.6 million of them live in states without statutes prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in housing.
An analysis of Gallup data found that 15% of LGB people report being prevented from moving into or buying a house compared to 6% of heterosexual people.
17% of LGB adults and 30% of transgender adults have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, compared to 6% of the general population.
There are over 3.5 million LGBT students ages 15 and older in the U.S. An estimated 2.1 million of them live in states without statutory protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination at school.
An estimated 6.9 million LGBT adults live in states without statutes prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in public accommodations.
LGBT people would also gain express protections under the Equality Act from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in credit, jury service, and federally funded programs.
Williams Institute scholars previously provided the House of Representatives with expert-written testimony detailing the impact of federal protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination on LGBT people.
Read the testimony: williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/equality-act-testimony/ .
The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research with real-world relevance.