LGBT People of Color

DSC_0270Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Coloradans come in all races, and One Colorado is committed to reflecting this diversity as we work to create a fair and just Colorado for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, economic class, or race.

Our 2010 Needs Assessment of LGBT Coloradans and our town hall meetings with the Latino and African American communities in Denver revealed, not unexpectedly, that LGBT people of color have unique concerns, including racism in the LGBT community and homophobia within communities of color. Overwhelmingly, we were told that LGBT people of color feel invisible in the broader LGBT community. As a significant next step to better understanding the lived experiences of LGBT people of color in Colorado, One Colorado conducted research and published a new report: Facing Barriers: Experiences of LGBT People of Color in Colorado.

This report was developed using analysis of previously collected data from prior studies of LGBT Coloradans; the data review and analysis was performed by N. Eugene Walls, Ph.D., associate professor at the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • LGBT people of color experience higher rates of both employment and housing discrimination than white LGBT people.
  • While similar levels of LGBT people of color and white LGBT people experience fear of differential treatment from their medical provider, a significantly greater percentage of LGBT people of color report having actually been refused treatment by a medical provider because they are LGBT.
  • LGBT people of color and white LGBT people report similar levels of anti-LGBT bullying while in middle and high school. However, LGBT people of color reported greater levels of anti-LGBT physical violence than did white LGBT people.
  • LGBT people of color report experiencing daily or more frequent experiences of homophobia, transphobia, and anti-LGBT harassment in the last year in workplaces, schools, public establishments, and on the street.

As this report concludes, LGBT people of color face overwhelming challenges to fulfilling life’s opportunities – with higher levels of physical abuse, an increased likelihood of raising a family in poverty, and a greater chance of facing discrimination and harassment at every turn. These experiences have been ignored or unacknowledged for far too long.

As we move forward, One Colorado Education Fund is committed to working within our own community, and with coalition partners, to address the unique disparities faced by LGBT people of color. Our work will be guided by three core objectives: improving data collection to better reflect and represent Colorado’s diverse population, educating the LGBT community about racism, and strengthening partnerships with organizations serving people of color.

While we work to change the hearts and minds of those outside the LGBT community so that we can secure protections and opportunities for LGBT Coloradans and their families, we will also seek to change hearts and minds in our own community in order to end racism.