Harvard pushes narrative LGBT community is at greater risk of 'stress' during pandemic

A Harvard Professor says that LGBTQ+ individuals are put under greater stress because of COVID-19 due to job loss, school closures, and medical discrimination

Ithaca College agrees that the LGBTQ+ faces greater risks.

Pew Research Center reveals that COVID-19 is placing added stress on low-income adults.

There is little question that the coronavirus pandemic has caused immense stress and hardship for millions of people around the world. However, Harvard University Medical School is pushing the narrative that the “LBGTQ+ community” is somehow more impacted by the global crisis. 

The Harvard Health Blog published an entry by professor Sabra Katz-Wise outlining the “new forms of stress for the LGBTQ+ community” during this time. The entry, titled “COVID-19 and the LGBTQ+ community: Rising to unique challenges,” outlines the reasons that gay and transgender individuals supposedly face unique challenges.

Katz-Wise works as an assistant professor in adolescent/young adult medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, practices pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and works in social and behavioral sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. According to Harvard Health Blog, Katz-Wise is an advocate for workplace climate, medical education, and patient care reform for LGBTQ+ individuals. 

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According to Katz-Wise, among the new forms of added stress for LGBTQ+ individuals include “loss of work and income,” “school closures,” and “worries about seeking care for COVID-19 symptoms.” Katz-Wise draws the connection that these forms of added stress come as a result of “minority stress based on anti-LGBTQ+ stigma” that occurred even before the pandemic.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, new challenges arise each day for people across the world. Some of these challenges particularly affect the LGBTQ+ community. This unique time calls for LGBTQ+-specific resources and new ways to connect and cope,” writes Katz-Wise. 

When talking about the loss of work or income, Katz-Wise says,  “Compared with non-LGBTQ+ people, LGBTQ+ people are more likely to have lower income and to have jobs that do not allow for working from home, such as retail stores and the service industry. Therefore, LGBTQ+ people may be more likely to experience food or housing insecurity during this time.”

Katz-Wise, however, is not alone in her beliefs that the LGBTQ+ Community experiences magnified hardship when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ithaca College has devoted an entire webpage designed to educate the community about these specific challenges the LGBT community faces during this time. The college insists that  that LGBTQ+ people may be “particularly vulnerable.” 

Katz-Wise suggests that LGBT individuals are more impacted by the healthcare implications of the current situation, citing their need for fertility treatments and the unavailability of gender reassignment surgeries.

”Transgender and nonbinary people may have trouble accessing gender-affirming care because hormones and surgeries may be considered nonessential,” writes Katz-Wise.

”For LGBTQ+ people who are building families, access to fertility clinics is essential. However, many clinics are now delaying fertility treatments, which also delays family building for LGBTQ+ families,” she adds.

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According to Ithaca College, “LGBTQ+ people experience health disparities. Barriers to care cause us to be less likely to get medical care; and mean we’re more likely to have compromised health in general. Health disparities magnify the impact COVID-19 could have on us.”

A recent Pew Research survey reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic is most-heavily affecting all Americans with low incomes, not just those who identify as LGBTQ: “As the economic toll from the coronavirus outbreak continues to mount, a new Pew Research Center survey finds the impact is falling more heavily on lower-income adults – a group that was feeling significant financial pressure well before the current crisis.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Cam_Deckr