Adding race and gender along with being homosexual, bisexual and transgender is a double whammy. It only adds to the challenges you will face in society. And facing racism, sexism and homophobia or transphobia from mainstream society and misogynoir, sexism, homophobia and transphobia from Black America would be a hard thing for a LBGTQ woman of color to go through but many of them still rise up and make it. Thus I will touch on the plight and challenges homosexual, bisexual and transgender women of color face in society and what initiatives are taken to ensure their safety and rights are protected.
As it was mentioned in the previous post, mine being cisgender and heterosexual privileges me over homosexual, bisexual and transgender women particularly those of color. I don’t have to worry about being harassed because of my gender and sexuality or facing discrimination and violence because of my gender and sexuality. Nor have I be fired from a job, denied healthcare access, been sexually assaulted, beaten or murdered because of my gender and sexuality. However, what I do have in common with homosexual. bisexual and transgender women of color is facing racial discrimination and sexism in the workplace.
My examples of homosexual and transgender women of color who are famous, successful and thriving in society. However one doesn’t necessarily need to be famous in order to thrive in society. One just has to use the resources around them to better themselves and live the best lives possible.
What are the challenges LGBTQ women face in society?
Homophobia and transphobia coupled with racism and sexism intersects for LGBTQ women of color to oppress them. LGBTQ women are more likely to live in poverty, have fewer access to healthcare, lower pay than their heterosexual female counterparts and more likely to experience violence from others. LGBTQ families raising children are more likely to face poverty as well as elderly LGBTQ people as well. Transgender women are four times more likely to earn wages below the poverty line than any other group of people in the nation. And many laws in many states lack legislations to protect the rights of LGBTQ women. Worst of all, to add racism and sexism to the mix, LGBTQ women of African American and Hispanic descent are twice as likely to be poor and earn lower wages than their Caucasian LGBTQ counterparts. For example, only thirty five percent of LGBTQ Black women compared to sixty percent of their Caucasian counterparts. And many face racial and sexist discrimination in the workplace, housing, education system, healthcare and in public. facilities as well.
3.7% of African Americans are apart of the LGBTQ community and eighty-four thousand of them are raising families. Fifty eight percent of African American LGBTQ are young and female. Unfortunately, LGBTQ women of color face job discrimination and their unemployment rates are higher than the national average and even the nation average for African Americans at fifteen percent. Healthcare wise, they are much less likely to have access to healthcare and less likely to have healthcare insurance. And they have a lower wages and less likely to attend college than their heterosexual African American counterparts. Many also face being beaten and facing violence from others because of their sexuality and gender binary along with their race being different from the norm in society-cisgender, Caucasian and male or female.
How does Black America play a role in marginalizing LGBTQ women of color?
Black American collective is known for it’s Conservative views on homosexuality. Many people in Black America disapprove of homosexuality and are homophobic to the point many of them would try as hard as they can to get away from homosexual, bisexual and transgender people. Or many of the parents would kick their children out of the house due to their sexuality and them wanting to be a different gender that they identified with at birth. Many LGBTQ women of color feel ostracized by many people in Black America or even experience violence and abuse from many of them as well. Director and creator of the television show, Empire, Lee Daniels touches on the homophobia in Black America with character, Jamal Lyons, a gay man trying to make it as a rapper and his struggle to get along with his homophobic father, Lucious Lyons serves as an example that homophobia runs deeply in the hearts of many in Black America. Religion also plays a huge role in many Black Americans’ opposition to homosexuality and gay marriage because many religious beliefs are in opposition to homosexuality, transsexuality and gay marriage. Sometimes some of these Black Americans along with many other Americans would even vote for legislations that prevent the rights of their homosexual and transgender counterparts such as Proposition Eight that was passed in California in 2007 that denied same sex couples the right to get married. Recently, Proposition Eight was struck down. This isn’t to entirely blame African Americans for the plight of LGBTQ women in society but to highlight how many in Black America oppose homosexuality, transsexuality and gay marriage and how it affects the lives.
What are the initiatives taken to ensure that the rights of LGBTQ women of color are protected?
As well as the naysayers, there are people who are willing to help LGBTQ women of color adjust to society and better themselves. Many people have opted to take in LGBTQ youth into their homes and adopt them. Others have helped them get a college degree and get a well paid job. Organization such as Black Justice Coalition addresses the issues homosexual, lesbian and transgender Black women face in society and in their own communities. An essay was released from this organization, LGBTQ Families of Color: Fact at a Glance that spoke about the plight and initiatives taken to improve the plight of these people in society. It mentioned the income disparities, house discrimination, lack of education etc that affects LGBTQ women of color in this country. Especially when it LGBTQ women of color starting families together.
Most of all, I am aware that homosexual, bisexual and transgender women are individuals with their own experiences and interest however it is necessarily to address what LGBTQ women of color go through. Their challenges and struggles are just as important to the LGBTQ Community as it is to Black American and feminists like myself out there. Thus these women’s struggles, challenges and triumps will be discussed on here.