While numerous studies have shown the challenges facing LGBTQ+ Americans and the support they receive from allies and the community, several recent studies illustrate just how different life looks for queer Hispanic and Latinx Americans in particular.
It turns out that nearly 20% of young adult Hispanics identify as LGBTQ+, that a majority of Christian Hispanics support LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination laws, and that over two-thirds of LGBTQ+ Hispanics feel supported by their social circles. As such, these stats provide stunning insights and hope for even greater acceptance of LGBTQ+ Hispanics, both in their own communities and in society at large.
Nearly 1 in 5 young Hispanic adults in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ+
Two polls, taken four years apart, show that not only do more U.S. Hispanics identify as LGBTQ+ than members of any other race, but also that nearly one in five young Latinx adults in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ+.
A 2022 Gallup poll found 11% of U.S. Latinx adults identified as LGBTQ, nearly twice the rate of the 6.2% of white adults and 6.6% of Black adults who identified as queer in the same poll. The poll also found that more than 20% of Hispanic Gen Zers between ages 18 and 25 also identified as LGBTQ+.
And Gen Zers aren’t alone. A 2018 report from the University of Chicago’s GenForward Survey project found that 22% of Latinx Millennials — defined as between the ages 18 and 34 — identified as LGBTQ+. This is much higher than the 14% of African American Millenials, 13% of white Millenials, and 9% of Asian American Millenials who also identified as queer, the poll found.
Hispanic LGBTQ+ people report higher rates of discrimination
A 2020 survey from the Center for American Progress (CAP) found that Hispanic LGBTQ+ people reported higher rates of discrimination compared to white LGBTQ+ people. Hispanic LGBTQ+ respondents said they experienced rates of healthcare and housing discrimination that were anywhere from 10% to 15% higher than that reported by white LGBTQ+ respondents.
“Hispanic LGBTQ individuals face high rates of service denial and often lack access to alternative services,” CAP research assistant Lindsay Mahowald wrote in a report on the survey’s findings. She said that language barriers and lack of culturally competent care also contributed to the higher rates of discrimination reported by queer Hispanics.
Nevertheless, many LGBTQ+ Hispanics feel community support
Over 2.3 million Latinx LGBTQ+ adults are living in the United States, according to a 2021 study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. That number is about the entire population of Houston, Texas, the country’s fourth-largest city.
The study also found that LGBTQ+ Latinx people were more likely to experience depression, high-risk health behaviors, and likely diagnoses of serious health conditions than non-LGBTQ+ Latinx people. However, the higher rates may have resulted partly from the fact that LGBTQ+ Latinx respondents had greater access to health insurance, personal doctors, and health care than non-LGBTQ+ Latinx respondents.
Despite these higher rates of discrimination and health disparities, 64% of Latinx LGB adults and 40% of Latinx transgender adults said they felt connected to the LGBT community, and 68% of Latinx LGBTQ+ adults said they felt supported by their social circles. As such, close friends and community apparently play important roles as psychological and emotional support for Latinx queers.
Numerous factors positively affect Hispanic LGBTQ+ acceptance
A 2022 Pew Research Center poll found that 37% of all Hispanic respondents viewed the legalization of same-sex marriage as being good for society, and 36% considered greater social acceptance of transgender people as good for society as well. These percentages were much lower than the 74% of all respondents who considered the widespread availability of contraceptives as good for society.
However, the poll also found that this view depended greatly on Hispanic respondents’ ages, education level, English-speaking, religious beliefs, place of birth, and political party affiliation.
Younger, college-educated, English-dominant, non-religious, Democrat, and U.S.-born Hispanics viewed same-sex marriage and trans acceptance about 21% to 25% more positively than their older, non-college-educated, Spanish-dominant, Catholic, Protestant, Republican, and foreign-born Hispanic counterparts.
Hispanics largely support LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination protections
Approximately 62% of Latinx respondents in a 2022 Axios/Ipsos poll said they are comfortable around LGBTQ+ people, two-thirds said they support students being taught about LGBTQ+ identities, and 48% agreed that teens should be able to determine their gender identity for themselves.
Pro-LGBTQ+ attitudes are also shared by religious Hispanics. A 2022 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found strong LGBTQ+ support amongst Hispanics who are Protestant, Catholic, or religiously unaffiliated. Among these groups, 63% to 78% supported LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination laws, and 62% to 82% opposed religiously based refusals to serve LGBTQ+ people.
These accepting attitudes may result from increased visibility of LGBTQ+ people on social media and millennial parents who have created LGBTQ+-inclusive households, Jorge Reyes Salinas, communications director for the LGBTQ+ organization Equality California, told The Salt Lake Tribune.
“It is very pleasantly surprising that Latinx, Latino Gen [Zers] and millennials are identifying more as LGBTQ+, especially when Latino households are culturally known to be more conservative when it comes to sexual orientation or gender norms,” Salinas said. “[Queer Hispanics] are accepted and loved for who they are…. I think that’s extremely hopeful.”