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LGBTQ people among hardest hit economically by COVID-19 pandemic

The LGBTQ community is likely to be among those most affected economically and medically by the coronavirus pandemic, new data shows.

With more than three million cases of COVID-19 now reported globally and businesses in lockdown, many have lost their jobs and unemployment is projected to double in Australia.

LGBTQ people are among those most at risk, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

As in other parts of the world, LGBTQ people in the US are more likely to live in poverty and be without access to basics such as medical care.

The new analysis has found that around a third of LGBTQ people in the US work in industries likely to be affected by the pandemic, including health, education, retail, and hospitality.

Two million work in restaurants and food service, and another million are employed in hospitals.

Those working on the medical front lines are additionally at greater risk of exposure to the coronavirus than others.

LGBTQ people are more likely to be impacted economically, being poorer overall than their straight cis counterparts.

Almost one in 10 LGBTQ people are unemployed, with trans people and bisexual cis women the worst affected at 29% unemployment each.

Black and Latinx trans people are the most likely to be living in poverty, at 40% and 45%, respectively.

Around a quarter of trans women and Black or Latinx LGBTQ people in the US have avoided seeing a doctor due to finances.

Among the broader LGBTQ community, one in five have been unable to afford medical care.

While permanent employees in Australia and elsewhere in the developed world have access to paid leave, many in the US do not.

One in five LGBTQ workers said they would be afraid to take leave for purposes such as caring for a loved one, where they would be forced to come out and risk discrimination or even being fired.

LGBTQ people may also be at greater risk of severe symptoms from COVID-19.

Individuals who are LGBTQ are more likely to smoke and more likely to have chronic conditions such as asthma and HIV.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation recommended that governments and policymakers consider the specific needs of the LGBTQ community, particularly people of colour and trans people, in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

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