We’ve known since the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that one essential factor would have a profound effect on our understanding of the impact of this virus: data collection.

One of the many challenges in addressing the many systemic injustices impacting our communities is the lack of data that exists around sexual orientation and gender identity. While data never can tell the full stories of our lives and experiences, not being represented in data across a wide variety of issues hides our community’s experiences and the very real systemic challenges and barriers we face. It makes it harder for funders and government to see the impact on LGBTQ+ people, and contributes to chronic underfunding and lack of awareness of the true breadth and nature of our experiences. This is especially true for data that includes more nuance for the experiences of LGBTQ+ People of Color.

Given this, it’s unfortunate but unsurprising that most of the data that exists on COVID-19 has not included sexual orientation and gender identity, and so data on the pandemic’s impact on LGBTQ+ communities is extremely limited. But thanks to our friends and colleagues at amazing data-focused and -driven organizations like The Williams Institute and Movement Advancement Project (MAP), we do have some key data points that help paint a picture of the impact of this pandemic on our communities. It is important that we understand the data we do have so that we have a better picture of what LGBTQ+ people are facing, so that our responses and the support we are offering is impactful.

In general, the data we have confirms what we already knew anecdotally to be true—that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges and inequities that already existed for LGBTQ+ people and communities. Across all social indicators wherein LGBTQ+ people were already impacted by inequities—health, healthcare, housing, employment, child and family care, and more—the data indicates COVID-19 has only compounded those already existing inequities.

Read the full article about COVID-19's impact on LGBTQ+ communities by Katelen Kellogg at Pride Foundation.