Study finds Chicago LGBTQ resources mostly in rich, white areas

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CHICAGO — A University of Chicago study found that black and Latinx LGBTQ people are more likely to be further away from community services than white and Asian people.

WTTW-TV, at PBS station in Chicago, reported that less than 10% of LGBTQ resources were in neighborhoods with predominately black or Latinx populations. 

“We know from previous research that when services are far away, people are less likely to access them because of transportation barriers,” Kris Rosentel, lead author of the study and research project manager at UChicago’s Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health, told the station. “For many on the South and West sides, they were unable to find services in their communities.”

From WTTW:

Using two online directories, researchers compiled a data set of 193 LGBTQ service providers in Chicago between November 2015 and January 2016, then mapped those results in relation to race and income data. They found 71% of all LGBTQ service providers were located in majority white areas, with only 9.8% and 6.2% in predominately black and Latinx areas, respectively.

Past research has shown that within the LGBTQ community, people of color and low-income individuals often face worse outcomes than their peers when it comes to health, employment, education, housing and the criminal legal-system due to overlapping forms of marginalization. Rosentel says this study shows there’s a “misalignment” in terms of the areas in which people may need services and where those services are actually located.

Racial and economic disparities in access to legal, career and mental health services, in addition to recreational and arts programs, were most pronounced, the study found. “Over 90% of (legal services) were located in majority white areas and 85% were in upper-income areas,” Rosentel said.

Rosentel told WTTW that some existing and new groups have started providing services in those underserved areas on the south and west sides. 

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