This June, DC and the nation recognize Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month. Here at the DC Bar Foundation, it is also a time to remember the barriers to justice and legal aid facing the LGBTQ community.
LGBTQ youth make up 43% of the youth homeless population here in the District, vastly disproportionate to the 7% of youth who identify as LGBTQ overall. In America, 1 in 5 transgender persons are homeless or in unstable housing. LGBTQ workers, particularly those of color, are statistically likely to face on-the-job discrimination, lower wages, and job loss. American LGBTQ women are among the most at-risk populations for poverty, facing lower wages, restricted access to health care, harassment, and increased rates of violence. Almost 30% of bisexual women and 23% of lesbian women live in poverty; for heterosexual women, that number is only 21%. Older women, 65 and older, in same-sex coupes have nearly twice the poverty rate of older, married, opposite-sex couples.
While the District legislates protection against discrimination in housing and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, these are still not federally protected, putting the LGBTQ community at heightened risk for unemployment, homelessness, and poverty.
The legal aid funded by the DC Bar Foundation is at work every day to combat these issues, providing the legal help necessary to secure fair wages, access to health care, and fair housing. Thank you for continuing to partner with us to improve lives, protect families, and strengthen communities in DC.
Sincerely, Kirra L. Jarratt, Executive Director