| National Coming Out Day is Oct. 11, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the June Key Delta House, 5940 North Albina St. in Portland |
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A new report provides the first comprehensive glimpse into the lives and concerns of black Oregonians who are also lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ).
Until now, almost no data about this population existed. The report – which relies on a survey of 200 people, two community focus groups, plus information from other studies – shows that discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual identity, compounded by racial inequity, creates far greater social and economic disparities for black LGBTQ people.
The Parent's and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Portland Black Chapter teamed up with the Urban League of Portland to produce the study.
"This is a groundbreaking document that shows black gay and transgender folks are among the most vulnerable people in our society," said Khalil Edwards, the coordinator for Portland PFLAG's black chapter. "The issues we face must be addressed, and this report will help us address them."
Some of the highlights of the report:
Black LGBTQ Oregonians have disproportionally high rates for poverty and unemployment: 43.7 percent have an annual income of $20,000 or less, and 18 percent are unemployed. One third reported discrimination in being hired or on the job. These rates are higher than those among white people of any orientation and straight people of color.
Black LGBTQ people of color fare worse in health when compared to heterosexuals and white LGBT people, with almost 11 percent of black LGBT Oregonians reporting being diagnosed with HIV.
Black LGBTQ Oregonians often face homophobia, with 70 percent of respondents reporting it as a problem within the black community.
Michael Alexander, CEO of the Urban League of Portland, said; "The partnership with PFLAG Portland Black chapter has been constructive and has helped illuminate issues faced by a individuals and families who are often marginalized and invisible. We are stronger when we work together to find solutions that will help the community thrive and prosper. "
PFLAG Portland Black Chapter and the Urban League of Portland are partnering with Basic Rights Oregon Our Families, Western States Center and Pride NW to look at the findings of the report in an upcoming forum. Please join us.