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Report: Poverty More Likely For LGBT Women

PHOTO: According to a new report released by a coalition of organizations, LGBT women in Missouri and around the country face lower pay, frequent harassment, compromised access to health care and heightened violence that threatens their economic security. Photo credit: click/morguefile.
PHOTO: According to a new report released by a coalition of organizations, LGBT women in Missouri and around the country face lower pay, frequent harassment, compromised access to health care and heightened violence that threatens their economic security. Photo credit: click/morguefile.
March 23, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Nearly 16 percent of Missourians live in poverty, and a new report finds lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender women are among those most at risk.

The findings were released by a coalition of organizations, including the National Women's Law Center.

Fatima Goss Graves, the center’s vice president for education and employment, says the report highlights how the challenges most women face particularly undermine the economic security of LGBT women.

"Getting adequate wages, having the supports necessary to both work and care for families, having access to health care – those are concerns that LGBT women are facing and in some cases facing more acutely," she states.

Goss Graves points out those concerns are further magnified for LGBT women of color, immigrant women, women raising children and transgender women.

According to the report, almost 30 percent of bisexual women and 23 percent of lesbian women live in poverty compared to 20 percent of heterosexual women.

There are more than 5 million women in the U-S who identify as LGBT, and Goss Graves says discriminatory laws, along with inequitable and outdated policies, compromise their economic security.

She adds some LGBT women are unable to access job-protected leave to care for a sick partner, and others struggle to obtain official identity documents that match the gender they live.

"Transgender women in particular have the problem of it being difficult to access appropriate ID when ID is so crucial in our society to access jobs, to access things like health care," she explains.

Goss Graves says state and federal policies should be improved to allow LGBT families the same protections and benefits available to others, including health insurance, family leave and child care assistance.


Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO