COVID-19 Poses a Higher Risk to LGBTQ+ Community
Poz, a magazine that chronicles the lives of people affected by HIV/AIDS, lists three reasons COVID-19 poses a higher risk to the LGBTQ+ population. The LGBTQ+ community uses tobacco at rates that are 50 percent higher than the general population, a significant statistic because the virus is more likely to affect those with respiratory issues.
The LGBTQ+ community also has statistically higher rates of cancer and HIV, which can compromise the immune system. The LGBTQ+ community continues to face discrimination in healthcare settings, which can lead those in need of care to be more hesitant to seek help.
Women Living Alone
The Lily featured seven “stories of solitude” from women aged 24 to 86 who share experiences of living in self-isolation. One woman, 52, rejoices in the respite this period allows her: “I don’t know what day it is, and I don’t care.”
Another, 70, asks her New York City neighbor to pick up groceries and remarks on the response she got. “The news keeps saying, ‘People are coming together.’ They might be coming together, but not here. Not in these types of buildings.”
Approximately 23.5 million American women live alone, more than ever before.
Judge Dismisses Gender Pay Gap Lawsuit
In May, a judge dismissed the U.S. women’s national soccer team’s gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, which cited lower pay and more dangerous playing conditions than what the league affords the men’s team. While the judge ruled that the claims of unequal treatment in terms of travel and training could stand, the claims of underpayment were rejected.
Ultimately, the ruling came down to the difference in the men and women’s pay structures. While the women have stable salaries paid annually, the men often out-earn the women if they perform well or qualify for major competitions, such as the World Cup.
The U.S. women’s team is “getting punished for their success,” says Katherine Franke, a Columbia University law professor. A spokesperson for the team announced that they intend to appeal the ruling.
Women with Disabilities in the Workforce
Of the 10 million women living with disabilities who are of working age in the U.S., only 35.7 percent are employed, compared to 72.8 percent of working-age women without disabilities. In many states, women with disabilities are leaving the workforce, experiencing discrimination, and denied the opportunity to earn an income. These opportunity gaps are wider for women of color with disabilities.
“My experiences — being denied employment and facing financial planners who make false assumptions about my income status and earning potential — prompt my suspicions that triple jeopardy is working against many African-Americans with disabilities.” — Donna Walton
Air Pollution and COVID-19
Much has been written about a potential link between COVID-19 mortality rates and cities that experience heavy air pollution. As atmospheric scientist Alastair Lewis notes in an article published by The Conversation, these correlations often fail to take into consideration other geographic factors in polluted areas, such as population density, mass transit use, and extensive global travel. “Different contributory factors start to pile up on top of each other in urban settings,” writes Lewis. “Describing air pollution and COVID-19 interactions has perhaps offered up hope in dark times of a practical way to reduce the effects of the virus, even if the change in outcomes is highly uncertain, and possibly negligible.”
Regardless, governments will need to ask questions, such as whether reducing air pollution in cities has beneficial effect for those recovering from disease. “Some of these [questions] can be addressed through data science,” Lewis writes, “but others will almost certainly need work in the lab. Definitive answers may not come quickly.”
LGBTQ+ Town Hall Discussion
On May 17, OutFront Minnesota hosted a town hall to educate and call to action members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies on pro-equity legislation. It began with a discussion about the conversion therapy bans passed in Minneapolis and Duluth. The work that led to Duluth’s ban, says Jesus Lucero, public policy coordinator for faith communities at OutFront Minnesota, was eye opening. “What we found was that Duluth has the highest concentration of conversion therapy survivors around Minnesota,” Lucero says. “There is a lot [of conversion therapy] in the north, especially in the Iron Range region.”
The panel noted that much of the COVID-19 response legislation in this session (which ended May 18), heavily impacts LGBTQ+ people. Senator Scott Dibble, who is the only openly gay Minnesota state senator, provided an analysis of work on the virtual senate floor. “A barrier we face is a lack of sensitivity to the struggles and suffering of LGBTQ+ people,” Dibble said. “We need people to confront these lawmakers, share their stories, and hold them accountable.”
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