A new analysis from the Williams Institute shows that LGBT people are much more likely to struggle with issues of hunger than the general population. Contrary to cultural stereotypes that LGBT people (especially white gay men) are financially well off, many are unsure where their next meal is coming from.
The study defines “food insecurity” as being uncertain about whether nutritionally adequate and safe foods will be available or about whether they can be acquired in socially acceptable ways. In the past year, 29 percent of LGBT adults experienced a time when they did not have enough money to feed themselves or their family, nearly double the national food insecurity average of 16 percent. According to one study included in the analysis, LGB adults aged 18–44 were 1.3 times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to receive food stamps.
For members of the gay community who are raising children, the problem is even worse. LGB adults raising children are 1.8 times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to receive food stamps. Same-sex couples raising children under the age of 18 are 2.1 times more likely than comparable different-sex couples to receive food stamps.
Certain sub-populations within the LGBT community also face certain vulnerabilities. For example, about 25 percent of people who identify as bisexual receive food stamps, compared to 14 percent of lesbians and gay men. LGBT women were significantly more likely to not have money for stamps (34 percent), compared to either non-LGBT women (20 percent) or LGBT men (24 percent). People of color experienced a similar compounding of inequity, with 37 percent of African-American LGBT adults, 55 percent of Native Americans, and 78 percent of Native Hawaiians experiencing food insecurity, compared with 23 percent of white LGBT adults.