Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people of color are disproportionately experiencing the impact of COVID-19.
“We can’t treat the LGBTQ community as a monolith and must attend to the diversity within this population,” says Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health and director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS), a nationally recognized center for the study of LGBTQ health with a focus on the disparities of infectious disease, substance use, and mental health burden.
Halkitis and his colleagues at CHIBPS have been studying the impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ population since the beginning of the pandemic.
Preliminary data from their national study on the impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ population, which was enacted within in the first six months of the pandemic, shows that the LGBTQ population experienced: 1) a large economic impact; 2) increased substance use; 3) higher rates of infection; and 4) disparate rates of COVID-19 infection within segments of the LGBTQ population.
“These findings are consistent with the theory of minority stress, which indicates that individuals who hold multiple minority identities are much more susceptible to worse health outcomes from diseases like COVID-19 and HIV,” he adds.