New research uncovers staggering new information about LGBT People of color in small-town USA

Where We Call Home: LGBT People of Color in Rural America is a new research report unveiling new information on what it’s like growing up queer and a person of color in small-town USA.

HomoCulture Koelen Andrews

This article was published on October 12th, 2019

Marginalized people are often left out of the conversation and visibility can all-too-frequently be forgotten, especially in small, rural communities. A new study reveals staggering new information about LGBT People of Color in Rural America. Where We Call Home: LGBT People of Color in Rural America is a new research report unveiling new information on what it’s like growing up queer and a person of color in small-town USA.

According to the report, some 10 million persons of color, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people of color, live in rural America. Although the information on queer people living in more country communities was previously limited, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) released their new report chronically the issues and challenges people of color that happen to be LGBT face in small towns and hamlets across the country. 

“LGBT people of color are more likely to live in poverty, more vulnerable to discrimination and less able to respond to its harmful effects. Comprehensive non-discrimination laws are vital to improving the lives of LGBT people of color in rural America—as is blocking and rescinding religious exemption laws that allow employers and taxpayer-funded service providers to discriminate. Rural communities have always been home to people of color and LGBT people of color, but their lives and needs are often unexamined or overlooked,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of the Movement Advancement Project (MAP). 

Here are some of the fascinating findings from the new report:

  • People of color represent about 42% of the overall queer population of the United States, while just 36% of Americans in total are persons of color.
  • These queer POC in less populated states are more susceptible to discrimination. These smaller communities are often less as likely to have non-discrimination laws and legal protections. Coincidentally, these communities often have few protections for queer people, either.
  • Rural communities tend to be poorer, so LGBT people of color experience even higher rates of unemployment and poverty in these less-populated regions.
  • Small communities mean less gay POC, and therefore have decreased acceptance and visibility. They are more vulnerable in rural communities than in densely populated areas.
  • Even though they suffer more discrimination, there are few-and-far-between options for LGBT persons of color to have recourse against employers and community members. This includes less support infrastructure and resources for them to depend upon.
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people of color are central to the fabric of rural life in America.

In the end, the report reveals just how limited persons of color that are queer and living in rural communities. 

“With little to no attention paid toward the challenges and joys of what it means to be a LGBTQ/SGL person of color living in places like the South or the rural Midwest, this report reveals the heightened risk of discrimination for those who are both LGBTQ/SGL and a person of color. This is especially salient for Black people who continue to be disproportionately impacted by the intersections of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and location in America. NBJC is committed to ensuring the livelihood of LGBTQ/SGL people of color in rural communities, in order to close the gaps between the movements for racial justice and LGBTQ/SGL equality.” David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), said. 

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