An analysis published today by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) reports that LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts.
The analysis was conducted from two-month’s worth of material gathered by the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor, which tracks how the public responds to various facets of the pandemic. Analysts found that self-reported LGBTQ+ individuals were more likely than non-LGBTQ+ individuals to experience job loss within their households (56% v. 44%) and were more likely to experience negative mental health effects as a result of the pandemic (74% v. 49%).
Analysts also found that while both LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ respondents believed getting vaccinated was important, LGBTQ+ respondents were more likely to indicate that vaccination was a social responsibility (75% to 48%) while non-LGBTQ+ respondents felt it was an individual’s choice. LGBTQ+ respondents were also more willing to sustain social distancing practices long-term compared to their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts (85% v. 69%).
Analysts with the KFF conclude that the findings could indicate a difference in response to the pandemic based on sexual orientation and gender identities. For example, viewing vaccination as a social responsibility may “potentially [reflect] the community’s experience with HIV.” However, they note that other factors may account for the differences observed, such as the fact that LGBTQ+ adults are younger, more politically liberal, and have on average lower incomes than non-LGBTQ+ individuals.
Previous data on sexual orientation and gender identity as related to the pandemic is limited, the report notes, although does suggest that LGBTQ+ individuals may be more vulnerable than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. LGBTQ+ persons may be more likely to exhibit risk factors that make them vulnerable to the disease and, according to research conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, are more likely to work in industries that have been adversely impacted by both the outbreak and the shutdown. Additionally, transgender persons are more likely to experience barriers when accessing health care.