What’s COVID-19 Impact On Black LGBTQ Folk?

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Health experts and QPOC support organizations want to know how the coronavirus pandemic has affected black LGBTQ people. Hopefully, that can lead to proper support.

According to the Dallas Voice, the National Black Justice Coalition and Black Policy Lab, a project of Pink Cornrows, are launching a new survey to see how to better serve Black LGBTQ people during the pandemic and after it.

“Existing data from this crisis has already proven what many of us have already known: Black communities continue to be the least supported and most exploited,” said the National Black Justice Coalition’s executive director David J. Johns. “More black people are testing positive and dying as a result of the virus, and we should expect that existing data is undercounting what’s more likely the reality, given the history of black communities not being targeted for testing and data collection.”

“What we know now is important; however, to protect all black people, we need data on specific needs and experiences of Black LGBTQ and same gender loving people,” he added.

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The project will be called COVID While Black And Queer. It will “find crucial data on how black LGBTQ/SGL people are weathering the pandemic at a time when data shows that black communities make up 60 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in the United States.” The survey will also allow respondents to name loved ones who contracted the coronavirus, essential workers, and those who have transitioned.

In addition, the Black Policy Lab has joined the project in order to expand on its ongoing COVID While Black initiative to support Black Americans during the pandemic.

“Data is a powerful tool, but often isn’t the full story,” said Black Policy Lab founder Ifeoma Ike. “Traditional empirical research and interpretation methods are not without bias, and frequently disseminated without insight from our community.”

Ike then added, “COVID While Black was launched to invite traditionally underrepresented and over-impacted communities to provide important data and narratives about their own lives. This valuable qualitative input does not limit our black experiences to just statistics, but instead allows us to see trends and opportunities that hopefully will inform policymakers tasked with recovery and restoration efforts.”

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But why conduct this survey and project? Because Black LGBTQ people are the least protected during health emergencies such as this pandemic. According to Purposefully Awakened, previous data shows that Black people disproportionately experience the coronavirus due to systematic racism within healthcare. Black Americans represent 13.4% of the American population, according to the US Census Bureau, but counties with higher black populations account for more than half of all Covid-19 cases and almost 60% of deaths. Plus Black Americans are less likely to be targeted for COVID-19 testing, but more likely to test positive. In addition, Black people are disproportionately working in essential jobs.

In terms of the LGBTQ side of things, LGBTQ adults are twice as likely to be uninsured. Plus, Black people live predominately in the South where it is legal to deny access to employment, public housing, and medical services on the basis of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender orientation, and gender expression.

Both organizations will begin conducting the survey in the near future, but dates for when they start are not yet announced. Though, we do know that the Black Policy Lab will later launch a series of virtual summits to discuss survey results, solutions, and design policy recommendations.

Sources: The Dallas Voice, Purposefully Awakened

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