Rainbow Rundown: CDC acknowledges increased COVID risk for LGB people

Welcome to your weekly recap of LGBTQ news and goings-on. Published every Friday, Charlotte Pride’s Rainbow Rundown helps you catch up quick, with all the latest news from our region and beyond.


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CDC acknowledges increased COVID risk for LGB people

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a study on the impact of COVID-19 on lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. Though falling short of adequately analyzing transgender people, the study confirms what LGBTQ health professionals and experts have been saying since the beginning of the COVID pandemic last spring: LGBTQ people are more vulnerable and susceptible to severe COVID-19 infections and repercussions.

The acknowledgement comes in a study released late last week, as reported by McClatchy:

The analysis found that multiple underlying conditions — including asthma, cancer, heart disease, COPD, hypertension, kidney disease, smoking, obesity and stroke — are more prevalent among lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals than heterosexual men and women, in the overall population as well as within specific racial and ethnic groups.

[…]

Underlying health conditions among sexual minorities within Black and Hispanic populations – communities that have already been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic — “is of particular concern,” the study said.

“Persons who are members of both sexual minority and racial/ethnic minority groups might therefore experience a convergence of distinct social, economic, and environmental disadvantages that increase chronic disease disparities and the risk for adverse COVID-19–related outcomes,” the study said.

The study also acknowledged it severe limitations, namely in the lack of rigorous data collection and monitoring of LGBTQ populations.

“This data gap underscores the need to extend COVID-19 surveillance and other studies to include measures of sexual orientation and gender identity,” the study said.

The study centered its data analysis on sexual minority people — lesbians, gays, and bisexuals. The number of people identifying as transgender or nonbinary was too small to adequately compare to the larger cisgender data pool.

The study confirms what LGBTQ health professionals and advocates have been saying since last spring. Led by the National LGBTQ Cancer Network, dozens of LGBTQ organizations released two open letters and other information calling on local, state, and government authorities to better track and analyze COVID’s impact on LGBTQ people. At the time, LGBTQ leaders rightly pointed out the community’s increased vulnerability and the lack of routine and regular inclusion of LGBTQ people in regular demographic data collection.

The CDC’s report prompted Durham’s WTVD to report on what state health officials in North Carolina are doing to address health disparities among LGBTQ people. The state department of health and human services says a deeper attention to the LGBTQ community is needed. It tracks some data but hasn’t been able to collect enough to do any “meaningful analysis.” The department says it relies on existing partnerships with community groups to assist with outreach.

Read the full CDC study here. Read McClatchy’s report on the study via The Charlotte Observer.


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CHARLOTTE PRIDE’S LIMITED-EDITION 2020 MAGAZINE

The annual Charlotte Pride Magazine is back — with a special year-end retrospective for 2020. With the absence of an in-person festival and parade during this wild ride of a year, we decided to push the annual magazine back to December and use it to chronicle our work and the experiences of our community this year. With a very limited print run, you can find printed magazines in select locations across the city. View our distribution locations, a virtual flip book edition, and all the magazine’s articles here.