Our guest blogger is Jerome Hunt, a Research Associate for LGBT Progress at American Progress.
Today, the Fighting Injustice to Reach Equality, or FIRE initiative, at the Center for American Progress released a comprehensive report about the policy priorities of black LGBT Americans outside of marriage equality. “Jumping Beyond the Broom: Why Black Gay and Transgender Americans Need More Than Marriage Equality,” specifically examines the issues of economic insecurity, educational attainment and outcomes, and health and wellness disparities this population faces, and offers a host of policy solutions to bridge the gaps.
The key finding of the report is that black LGBT Americans continue to experience stark social, economic, and health disparities despite significant gains in securing basic right for LGBT people over the past decade.
For example, black gay Americans earn $10,000 less than their black heterosexual counterparts and face higher rates of poverty and unemployment as well. Black lesbians are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases (i.e. heart disease and diabetes) than others, and black LGBT youth are more likely to end up homeless and living on the streets compared to other youth. These social, economic, and health disparities are often ignored as broader gay and transgender policy priorities—including marriage equality—receive the time and attention of advocates and the mainstream and LGBT press. They’re also neglected by racial and economic justice agendas that fail to include the needs and priorities of gay and transgender populations. In short black gay and transgender Americans fall through the cracks of silo’d policy and advocacy efforts – so we must make progress in bridging these gaps.
“Jumping Beyond the Broom,” shows how progress can be made by applying an intersectional lens that accounts for race, class, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity in federal policy analysis and advocacy.
The report also makes recommendations that Congress and federal agencies could adopt that would help eliminate the disparities between black gay and transgender people and others. Recommendations include ensuring full LGBT inclusion in social safety net programs; developing a comprehensive federal response to LGBT homelessness; adopting safe schools polices; implementing the Affordable Care Act in a fully LGBT-inclusive way at the state and federal level; and collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity across key federal surveys of the public. The FIRE Initiative will explore many of these policy issues in-depth in the months to come, including through additional publications and public events.