Poverty is a problem in this country. Poverty is a problem in this world. There are many causes and factors of poverty. Modern poverty is caused by the development of a dependency on currency. The true causes of poverty are the fact that the world is overpopulated and most of the general global population grows up not being taught how to self sustain. How to farm, hunt, fish, sew or build.
Poverty is caused by a knowledge deficit. People in poverty in first world countries like America are suffering from poverty because they spent their whole life learning what they were told to learn and now they are unable to take those skills and that knowledge and turn it into anything useful.
The LGBT* community is at a particular disadvantage when it comes to poverty. According to the National Survey of Family Growth there are 24% of lesbian and bisexual women between the ages of 18-44 that are living in poverty. This is in contrast to only 19% of heterosexual women.
According to a report by the Williams Institute, 6.9% of lesbian couples, 4% of gay male couples and 5.4% of married heterosexual couples are living below the federal poverty line. For families with children the poverty rate is 9.4% for lesbian families, 5.5% for gay male families and 6.7% for heterosexual married families.
Some people believe the marriage debate to be asinine, either on one or on both sides. However, marriage provides legal and economic securities such as partner health insurance, tax subsidies, Social Security benefits, and other economic safety nets. Same sex couples are not able to file federal joint tax returns or transfer property tax to their partners.
And marriage is just one facet. Recent data found that denying LGBT people equal access to the institution of marriage, protection from employment discrimination, and other civil rights and family benefits may be contributing to higher poverty rates. That and the fact that, according to the Williams Institute some surveys have revealed that 16-68% of LGB people report experiencing employment discrimination.
And if one is Transgender, then their situation can become even more dire. In fact, 22-64% of Transgender people reported earning less than $25,000 per year, with 60-64% of all Transgender persons live in poverty. Transgender individuals experience high hate-crime rates, health care and job discrimination.
Still, even with looking at the number of LGBT* adults living in or close to poverty, seeing the discrimination they face that forces them into poverty: Inability to get married, employment and workplace discrimination, being refused benefits that heterosexual couples get, it's still worse to look at the poverty risks of LGBT* youth.
Gay and Transgender youth represent up to 40% of the homeless youth population even though they only compose 5-7% of the youth population overall. And while they are homeless, they are at an increased risk of detainment for committing crimes related to homelessness, such as violating youth curfew laws and sleeping in public spaces. There homelessness is often times caused by issues at home, they are either forced out or choose to leave.
As we've seen in previous pieces, education is a big part of reform here. Parents and guardians need to be educated to be more tolerant. Homeless shelters and prisons for youth or otherwise need education on how to handle and treat the LGBT* community fairly and with respect. Workplaces need to be taught to treat an employee based on their ability to perform their job, instead of discriminating against them because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Transgender Housing Network
- A temporary housing network intended to connect trans people in need with safe and supportive places to crash.
Forty To None Project
- The Forty to None Project, a program of the True Colors Fund, seeks to raise awareness about and bring an end to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth experiencing homelessness.
True Colors Fund
- The True Colors Fund was co-founded by Cyndi Lauper to inspire and engage everyone, especially straight people, to become active participants in the advancement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality and to raise awareness about and bring an end to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth homelessness.
We Give A Damn
- The Give a Damn Campaign is for everybody who cares about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.
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