LGBT Identities & Intersectionality: A Little Research

September 18, 2014 at 10:01 pm Leave a comment

Last night I went to Chic Chat, a gathering of bisexual women (trans/genderqueer inclusive) hosted by the Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP) and had a good time. I have been to their events in the past but hadn’t made it to one in a couple years, due to my many competing interests! I was excited to find out that they are going to be doing a series this year of community education sessions about racial/ethnic diversity and discussions of white privilege. We also discussed the cross-section of disabilities and bisexual community. I decided to start doing some research on racial diversity among LGBT populations and possibly bisexuals in particular.

2012 Gallup Poll: 3.4% of Americans identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender  A couple of limitations are noted by the way the poll was taken: differences among the GLBT identities can’t be accounted for, and it is purely based on self-identification, not on past or present sexual behavior or other traits.

My own thought: People with other identities, such as queer, genderqueer or intersexed might not respond in the affirmative. This is much less than Americans often think, due to the prominence of GLBT issues in the media, as well as the oft-used statistic that 1 in 10 men has had sex with a man from Alfred Kinsey’s research (it’s suspected that this was a result of selection bias on Kinsey’s part, due to his interests!) It’s often been thought that it was less for women. Due to media framing and the history of the movement, it’s also assumed GLBT identities are primarily a “white” thing, sometimes even implied to be symptomatic of privileged white decadence- an effete elite. Based on the findings of the Gallup, these assumptions are quite false!

Non-Hispanic White: 3.2 Black: 4.6 Hispanic: 4.0 Asian: 4.3

Altogether- a third of LGBT identified people are non-white (33%) whereas 27% of the non-GLBT population is non-white. Also- slightly more women than men. (I suspect the number of women who identify as bisexual vs. men may have an effect on this)

Men-3.3. Women 3.6

Being gay, lesbian, bi or trans is also often assumed to correlate with going to college, and being gay or lesbian in particular is somewhat assumed to go with a middle-class or higher status. Also wrong!

High School or less 3.5

Some college           4.0

College grad             2.8

Post grad                  3.2

Under $24,000             5.1

$24  k- less than 60 k 3.6

60 k to less than 90 k 2.8

90,000+                          2.8

The numbers related to income, education and racial diversity also correlate with the higher number of younger Americans who self-identify as LGBT-

18-29 6.4

30-49 3.2

50-64 2.6

65+     1.9

Broken down by gender: 18-29 Women 8.3 18-29 Men 4.6

So yeah- make way for young, queer women of color- with kids! LGBT women are just as likely to be raising kids under 18 as non-LGBT identified women. More than 41% of Hispanic and African-American lesbian, bisexual or trans women are raising kids. 38% of Asian-American les/bi/trans, and 28% of whites. (I’ve also heard that queer women of color are more likely to be raising biological children from heterosexual relationships) I have also seen some stats that higher number of people with disabilities identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual (not sure if trans was included) and vice versa, particularly lesbian and bi women, and that there are higher percentages of people with disabilities in communities of color. I’ll save that for another post- this is a lot of info for now! But in short, if we want more people to come to our events, they should be affordable, at different times (not assuming 9-5 Monday thru Friday schedule) so people who work evenings/weekends/nights may attend, are kid-friendly or provide childcare if not. We could try holding events in different neighborhoods than usual and reaching out to more community organizations.

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Entry filed under: Feminism/Gender, GLBT. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

So Call Me “Retard” Disability and Health Disparities for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Adults

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