Black LGBTQ people are more likely to be employed in industries disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Black LGBTQ people are more likely to be employed in frontline industries like grocery stores. andresr/Getty Images

A new report from the Human Rights Campaign shows that the economic impacts of the pandemic are hitting the Black LGBTQ communities particularly hard, from loss of work to inability to pay bills.

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One reason for the impact: Black LGBTQ people are more likely to be employed in industries disproportionately affected by the pandemic. “Twenty percent of food service workers, janitors, cashiers and stockers are Black and nearly 20% of LGBTQ adults work in food service, restaurants or retail,” the report notes. On top of that, the data over the last few months indicate that deaths due to the virus reflect a disproportionately high number of Black individuals.

But along with the bad news, HRC also has a report on how everyone — particularly marginalized populations — can navigate financial difficulties right now.

The figures are pretty dire: According to HRC's data, 31% of Black LGBTQ respondents had their work hours reduced due to the pandemic. That compares to 28% of LGBTQ respondents overall, and 22% of the general population.

Unemployment for Black respondents increased as well: Around 18% reported losing their job, compared to 12% among the general population. A third of Black LGBTQ households have had to change their household budgets, compared to 26% of households overall. And when it comes to paying rent, 23% of Black LGBTQ households have had to ask for a delay in making payments, compared to 7% overall.

Those numbers were gathered in July, when there was still a boost to federal unemployment. Now that those benefits have expired and Republicans are holding them hostage, the figures could get even worse.

So what can you do? In a separate resource, HRC explains that if you’ve lost your job, you have three top priorities: File for unemployment; secure health insurance; and ensure you have access to food. Under each step, they have recommendations tailored to people with low income.

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After you’ve addressed those crucial concerns, you can move on to managing expenses. HRC's resource provides a series of recommendations for dealing with rent and loans that you can’t pay. Once that’s dealt with, you can start working on getting money in your pocket, and HRC has resources for you there as well, from getting stimulus payments to accessing community relief programs.

And of course, your health should be a priority as well; remember to look after your mental wellbeing during this incredibly stressful time, and to take precautions to avoid getting sick.

Obviously, these are all individual steps, and what’s needed overall is systemic change like destroying capitalism and replacing it with robust universal social programs. (That’s me talking, of course, not HRC. Can you imagine?) But that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, so for now, this report is just one more long-dead canary in the country’s coal mine.

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