LGBT people of color have higher rates of COVID-19 than their white peers, despite being more careful about masks and safety, a study found

Canela López
·2 min read
queer people having fight
Johnce/Getty Images
  • A study found LGBTQ+ people of color were twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 than straight white people.

  • The study also found queer people of color were more likely to wear a mask and social distance.

  • Researchers suspect the disparities are caused by a lack of access to healthcare and underlying conditions.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Queer people of color have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. Communities of color have been devastated by COVID-19 and LGBTQ+ people have faced disproportionate rates of unemployment.

A report published February 25 found those who hold both identities are at an even higher risk of COVID-19.

UCLA's Williams Institute found LGBTQ+ people of color are twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 (15%) than their white, straight counterparts (7%), and white LGBTQ+ counterparts (10.4%) despite being more likely to wear a mask and social distance.

Experts say the results could be related to a number of factors including how systemic racism worsens health and creates barriers to healthcare, being more likely to do frontline work, and underlying medical conditions caused by systemic racism and homophobia, among others.

Researchers say that, while it's not clear why queer and transgender people of color (QTPOC) are more likely to test positive, looking at the intersection of identity is crucial to understand how different groups are experiencing the pandemic.

"Our main finding is that the impact of the pandemic on LGBT communities cannot be fully understood without considering race and ethnicity as well as sexual orientation and gender identity," the study reads.

QTPOC were more likely to know someone who had died from COVID-19

Researchers surveyed over 12,000 subjects across the country from August 2020 to December 2020. The national survey asked questions about economic stability during the pandemic, their experience with COVID-19, and their trust in the government to handle the pandemic.

In addition to testing positive more often for COVID-19, QTPOC were more likely to know someone who had died from COVID-19 than straight white people. One in three queer people of color knew someone who had died, as opposed to the one in five straight white people surveyed who knew someone who had died.

Another recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found LGBTQ+ people were more likely to have underlying conditions that make COVID-19 more deadly such as asthma and diabetes. They were also more likely to develop severe COVID-19.

According to Brad Sears, executive director of the Williams Institute and author of the report, the intersection of both identities plays a huge role in the disparities seen in the study.

"Race is playing a huge role here," Sears told NBC News. "When we think about an intersectional impact, this is about as clear as we can see it in the data."

Read the original article on Insider