National Academies Press: OpenBook
« Previous: PART I: BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
Suggested Citation:"Prologue." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Understanding the Well-Being of LGBTQI+ Populations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25877.
×

Prologue

As this report was nearing completion, the enormous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic battering the United States was becoming clear, transforming lives and affecting every sector of society. At the time of this writing, more than 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with the infection, and more than 200,000 have died. Tens of millions of people have lost their jobs, and aspects of health, economic status, and social life have changed drastically for families and communities across the country. Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, and other disadvantaged populations have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, due largely to inequities in social determinants of health, such as poverty and health care access.1

There are many reasons to believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and non-binary people (LGBTQI+) might also be at high risk for COVID-19. There are LGBTQI+ groups that have higher rates of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and HIV; that have higher poverty rates; and that lack adequate health insurance coverage (Alzahani et al., 2019; Caceres et al., 2017; Williams Institute, 2019). Little is known about COVID-19 rates of transmission, morbidity, or mortality among individuals who identify as LGBTQI+: currently, only California, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and the District of Columbia collect sexual orientation and gender identity data in context of the coronavirus pandemic, and even these states have not yet reported those data. Because LGBTQI+ identities are

___________________

1 See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/health-equity/race-ethnicity.html.

Suggested Citation:"Prologue." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Understanding the Well-Being of LGBTQI+ Populations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25877.
×

seldom recorded in public health surveillance and medical records, sexual and gender diverse people often remain essentially invisible in context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May 2020, deep into the pandemic, an unarmed Black man named George Floyd was taken into police custody on the streets of Minneapolis and suffocated by a white police officer who knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, until he was dead. The grief and outrage that followed led to an international outpouring of protest and activism and underscored the ways in which racial, ethnic, and other identities can have a dramatic effect on health and well-being in the United States (NASEM, 2016). Then in June 2020, which is commonly regarded as LGBTQI+ pride month, at least five transgender people of color—Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Merci Mack, Riah Milton, Brian “Egypt” Powers, and Brayla Stone—were brutally murdered.2 These events highlight the ways in which violence has historically been and continues to be used as a tool of suppression towards LGBTQI+ populations and populations of color within the United States.

These two sets of events—the COVID-19 pandemic and the demonstrations of violent racism—point to the need for heightened awareness of the social and structural inequities that exist for LGBTQI+ people and for people of color and, especially, for sexual and gender diverse people of color. Too often, inequities cannot be identified because of failures to collect and measure sexual orientation and gender identity information. The systematic application of standardized measures of sexual and gender diverse status in governmental and health care delivery data systems would be a critical step towards promoting much-needed research on the health and well-being of LGBTQI+ populations.

REFERENCES

Alzahani, T., Nguyen, T., Ryan, A., Dwairy, A., McCaffrey, J., Yunus, R., Forgione, J., Krepp, J., Nagy, C., Mazhari, R., and Reiner, J. (2019). Cardiovascular disease risk factors and myocardial infarction in the transgender population. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, 4.

Caceres, B.A., Brody, A.A., Luscombe, R.E., Primiano, J.E., Marusca, P., Sitts, E.M., and Chyun, D. (2017). A systematic review of cardiovascular disease in sexual minorities. American Journal of Public Health, 107(4), e13–e21.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2016). Framing the Dialogue on Race and Ethnicity to Advance Health Equity: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23576.

Williams Institute. (2019). LGBT Poverty in the United States. UCLA School of Law. Available: https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/National-LGBT-PovertyOct-2019.pdf.

___________________

2 For information on the individual events, see https://www.hrc.org/resources/violenceagainst-the-trans-and-gender-non-conforming-community-in-2020.

Suggested Citation:"Prologue." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Understanding the Well-Being of LGBTQI+ Populations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25877.
×
Page 17
Suggested Citation:"Prologue." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Understanding the Well-Being of LGBTQI+ Populations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25877.
×
Page 18
Next: 1 Introduction »
Understanding the Well-Being of LGBTQI+ Populations Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $85.00 Buy Ebook | $69.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

The increase in prevalence and visibility of sexually gender diverse (SGD) populations illuminates the need for greater understanding of the ways in which current laws, systems, and programs affect their well-being. Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, transgender, non-binary, queer, or intersex, as well as those who express same-sex or -gender attractions or behaviors, will have experiences across their life course that differ from those of cisgender and heterosexual individuals. Characteristics such as age, race and ethnicity, and geographic location intersect to play a distinct role in the challenges and opportunities SGD people face.

Understanding the Well-Being of LGBTQI+ Populations reviews the available evidence and identifies future research needs related to the well-being of SDG populations across the life course. This report focuses on eight domains of well-being; the effects of various laws and the legal system on SGD populations; the effects of various public policies and structural stigma; community and civic engagement; families and social relationships; education, including school climate and level of attainment; economic experiences (e.g., employment, compensation, and housing); physical and mental health; and health care access and gender-affirming interventions.

The recommendations of Understanding the Well-Being of LGBTQI+ Populations aim to identify opportunities to advance understanding of how individuals experience sexuality and gender and how sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status affect SGD people over the life course.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!