The discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in America is well documented. However, the public discourse tends not to focus on the interpersonal acts of bigotry or legislative debates. The fact that the LGBTQ+ are at greater risk from environmental exposures due to discrimination has not been well documented and, in particular how these challenges intersecting with issues of public safety.
In a Recent paper published in American Journal of Public HealthMichelle Bell, Mary E. Pinchot Professor in Environmental Health at Yale and Leo Goldsmith 20, MEM, who both worked in Bells LabYSE will present the unjust environmental burden the LGBTQ+ community bears and the ways that the environmental justice movement can become more inclusive.
According to Goldsmith, the LGBTQ+ population is more vulnerable to environmental problems because they are subject to social, economic, health, and other inequalities. Because LGBTQ+ populations are less likely to have access to the resources, aid, or health care they need, structural policies can also affect their resilience.
According to Goldsmith of the Center of American Progress Goldsmith claims that more than 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ Americans were subject to discrimination of any kind in 2020. This includes more transgender Americans than 3 in 5. This discrimination is most evident in their access to housing, employment, and health care. But it also affects their mental health, safety, and their ability to stay safe.
According to the authors, this discrimination reduces the LGBTQ+ community’s ability to respond to environmental damage. Similar to social determinants of human health, which have been linked with unequal environmental exposure based upon race and socioeconomic status. Chronic diseases associated with environmental exposure, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases, are more common in the LGBTQ+ community, than in heterosexual cisgender populations.
The authors state that insufficient research has been done to determine the relationship between environment and health disparities in LGBTQ+ populations. The paper makes specific recommendations such as the implementation of a system to gather sexual orientation data and gender identity data locally and nationally; anti-discriminatory policy within the federal government; policies that aid transgender or non-binary individuals in obtaining appropriate identification documents; and the inclusion of LGBTQ+ issues in environmental justice research and organizations.
An intersectional environmental justice social-media campaign was launched to educate people on the issue. It addresses LGBTQ+ issues in the environmental justice movement. Goldsmith, a Latinx who identifies as transgender and queer, said that there has been some progress. To fully understand the environmental injustices that have a negative impact on the environment and the needs of people who identify as LGBTQ+, Black, Latinx or indigenous, low-income and/or are LGBTQ+, academics must make LGBTQ+ populations a focus of the environmental justice movement.
Goldsmith was a student and co-chaired the student interests groups (SIGs), Environmental Justice at Yale, and Out in the Woods. This group is an LGBTQ affinity group at the School. He also organized an event, Queer and Present Danger In the Context Of Climate Change in 2019, where climate experts came to campus to discuss climate risks and climate impacts specific to the queer community.