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Groundbreaking survey details disproportionate harms of COVID-19 on TGNC Southerners
-- From a press release
2022-04-13

This article shared 689 times since Wed Apr 13, 2022
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Today marks the publication of a groundbreaking new research report highlighting the unique impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on transgender and non-binary people in the South. The report: Disproportionate Disadvantage: The Impact of COVID-19 on Trans & Non-Binary Southerners, is based on survey responses from nearly 3,000 LGBTQ people in Southern states and is led by Gender Benders and Rooted Resistance, with support from Kenyon College and the Campaign for Southern Equality's Southern Equality Research & Policy Center.

Over the past two years it has become clear that the pandemic has deepened social and economic inequities for groups that are already marginalized - including transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people, leading to growing insecurities in food and housing, unemployment or loss of wages, and the inability to access other necessary services. Prior to the U.S. onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, TGNC Southerners were already more likely to report chronic mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, than their cisgender and gender conforming peers. This survey project aimed to understand the early impact of the pandemic on TGNC Southerners' experiences at home, at work, and in their communities.

Key findings of our sample include:

Trans men and trans women were more likely to be essential workers than non-binary and cisgender respondents. 49% of trans women and 42% of trans men who participated in the survey report employment as essential workers during the first year of the pandemic.

Trans women were more likely to be furloughed or laid off during the pandemic than both non-binary and cisgender respondents. These experiences affected participants' ability to afford housing, groceries, and other essential needs. Trans women report changes in the ability to pay for housing (24%), utilities (28%), and groceries (28%) at higher rates than other groups.

LGBTQ Southerners across the board report a decline in physical health and an increase in stress. The impact was greater for trans and non-binary participants who were more likely to report a disruption in healthcare or an inability to access necessary prescription medications. Nearly 20% of trans men, trans women, and non-binary people report an affect on their access to care, double the rate of cisgender participants.

Trans and non-binary participants indicated higher scores of depression and anxiety and were also more likely to report loss of social support. This was especially true for non-binary participants, 59% report experiencing depression and 38% report experiencing anxiety since the onset of the pandemic.

The report also highlights lessons and interventions designed to mitigate these disproportionate harms to trans and non-binary Southerners. This includes:

Support access to peer and community support for trans and non-binary Southerners, including access to social support, financial stability, health and wellness, housing and food security, and equity in education and employment.

Direct resources to developing and maintaining social connections across physical distance by using virtual platforms to create community, provide resources, and build resilience among trans and non-binary Southerners.

Austin Johnson, PhD, Research Director at Gender Benders, said today:

"This research shows how early pandemic setbacks put Southern trans women at a disproportionate disadvantage in terms of their physical health and mental well-being. As this crisis continues and our country begins to take stock of the long-term effects of the pandemic, with organizations developing resources to offset its negative impacts, we must always do so with this vulnerable population front and center. Organizations, policy makers, advocates, and elected officials must ask themselves and each other, 'How can we better address the needs of transgender women in the South?' Solutions that care for transgender women will lift people across demographics and fuel more equitable policy."

Ivy Hill, Executive Director of Gender Benders, said:

"Trans and non-binary Southernors face barriers in almost every sphere of life under ordinary circumstances, from education and employment, to housing and healthcare, and every social space in between. Those barriers have grown disportionately to the rest of the population throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and now these disparities are even wider. In the face of this reality, community based organizations are more essential now than ever before. Grassroots, trans-led organizations and community groups continue to provide life-saving stopgaps for trans and non-binary Southerners. Over the course of the pandemic, we have seen local leaders rally to provide food, money, shelter, and other vital resources that were unavailable to those in their communities. This research emphasizes how great the needs are, whose needs are most at risk of going unmet, and the importance of tailoring interventions to the context of local communities. This research also highlights how essential it is to resource and support grassroots organizations that are often stepping in to fill the gaps left behind by institutions and organizations who are failing to meet the needs of our trans and queer neighbors."

Read the full report at bit.ly/GenderBenders-COVID .


This article shared 689 times since Wed Apr 13, 2022
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