Report highlights how anti-gay laws can drive LGBT people, families into poverty

Sep 30, 2014

Photo courtesy of Family Equality Council.

Photo courtesy of Family Equality Council.

Discrimination is not just harming the emotional well-being of Americans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Discrimination also hurts their pocketbooks and makes it more likely they will live in poverty, according to a new report done in partnership with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Paying and Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty of Being LGBT in America, examines how discrimination around the nation has a detrimental economic impact on people who are LGBT. The report also offers solutions to end such disparities, including enacting basic nondiscrimination protections at the federal and state level.

The report is co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and the Center for American Progress (CAP) in partnership with NASW, Center for Community Change, Center for Popular Democracy, and the National Education Association.

Anti-LGBT laws at the national, state and local level create unfair penalties for Americans who are LGBT in the form of higher taxes, reduced wages and Social Security income, increased health care costs and more. For instance, in some places people who are LGBT can be fired from their job, denied housing and credit and refused medically-necessary health care simply because of whom they love.

This has dire economic consequences, the report said. Children raised by same-sex parents are twice as likely to be poor as children raised by opposite sex parents. And 15 percent of workers who are transgendered earn less than $10,000 per year compared to four percent of the overall American population.

Watch a Google Hangout on Oct. 1 at 2:30 p.m. to learn more about the report from the authors and officials from partner organizations. Use the hashtag #UnfairPrice to follow this issue on Twitter.

Solutions to this issue include implementing nondiscrimination protections, protecting students who are LGBT from harassment and discrimination, allowing same-sex couples to marry in all states, and letting parents who are LGBT form legal ties with the children they raise.

“The National Association of Social Workers and the broader social work profession has been on the forefront of fighting all forms of discrimination”, said Evelyn Tomaszewski, MSW, director of NASW’s HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project. “NASW has long sought equal treatment for members of the LGBT community, and we will  continue to push for legislative, regulatory and legal remedies to ensure that LGBT  individuals and families have a fair and equal opportunity to succeed.”

NASW is committed to equal treatment for all. To learn more visit NASW’s Diversity and Equity website. That website contains a link to All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families, a 2011 report that also looks at how anti-gay law harm members of the LGBT community.

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