RELEASE: Combating the Pandemic Requires Targeted Assistance for the LGBTQ Community

Washington, D.C. — Today marks the one year anniversary of the first known death in the United States related to Covid-19. At least 450,000 more Americans have died since then, and 8% of the US population has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Even with vaccines rolling out across the country, the short and long-term health implications of the pandemic are far from behind us. Hospitals and health care workers are still stretched thin, and millions of Americans who relied on employer-provided health coverage are now uninsured after losing their jobs.

These hardships are heightened and exacerbated by disparities that LGBTQ people have experienced for years. A new column from the Center for American Progress highlights the significant challenges and inequities that LGBTQ Americans face when trying to access adequate health care and health insurance, and the stigma and discrimination they experience in their physical care and mental health.

“The public health and economic crises created by the COVID-19 pandemic are compounding existing disparities experienced by LGBTQ people, particularly among LGBTQ people who are Black and Latino, women, and low-income,” said Caroline Medina, a policy analyst for the LGBTQ Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, and a co-author of the column. “An equity-centered, comprehensive strategy to address the destructive effects of the pandemic on our public health and health care infrastructure will require ensuring that the needs of LGBTQ communities are integrated throughout the response of all levels of government.”

The column also provides a series of recommendations for both federal agencies and state and local governments  to ensure that LGBTQ Americans are not overlooked in the rollout of further Covid relief efforts. Among those recommendations are free and seamless access to testing and vaccinations, without ID requirements that can depress participation within vulnerable populations including the LGBTQ community; targeted outreach to community-based organizations to ensure that LGBTQ-specific messaging and educational materials are delivered by trusted messengers; and the restoration of nondiscrimination protections among service providers, grantees, and contractors that receive federal funding through the Department of Health and Human Services.

Read the column: “Government Strategies To Address the Coronavirus Must Include Targeted Assistance for LGBTQ Communities” by Caroline Medina and Lindsay Mahowald.

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