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Study – Trans People Are 3 Times More Likely to Experience Food Insufficiency During the Pandemic

by | Dec 16, 2021

At least 25% of transgender adults in the U.S. reported experiencing food insufficiency during the pandemic, a rate three times higher (8%) than that of cisgender adults. This is according to a new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law that sought to shed more light on food access for transgender people whose data is often scarce. 

The study used data from the U.S. Census Bureau on the Household Pulse Survey between July and October 2021.The report defined food insufficiency as “sometimes or often not having enough to eat in the last seven days.”

Researchers found nearly six times as many transgender people of color (35.8%) as white transgender people (6.0%) experienced food insufficiency at some point during the summer or early fall.

Around a third of transgender adults (31%) barely had enough to eat as they were living at or below the federal poverty level (FPL).

Affordability aside, the William Institute report showed that transgender people were more than twice as likely as cisgender people to face additional barriers in accessing food. Twenty percent of the respondents expressed their inability to access food over safety concerns. 

Disproportionate economic impact 

“Transgender people face high rates of poverty, and the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate economic impact on LGBT people,” lead author and Research Director at the Williams Institute, Kerith J. Conron, said. 

“The commonality of food insufficiency among transgender people shows how critical it is to ensure access to jobs that pay livable wages and to improve access to food resources for this highly marginalized population.”

The study noted that transgender adults were more likely to rely on food resources, including food banks and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), compared to their cisgender counterparts. However, levels of utilization were below levels of need. Around one-third (31%) of transgender adults who met the income requirement for SNAP eligibility were enrolled in the program.

Coron stated that while a few transgender participants reported accessing free groceries, various studies indicate that some still feel unwelcome at religiously affiliated food pantries.

Food insecurity

“Ensuring that non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are enforced in all aspects of food production to distribution (including through food banks, many of which have been religiously affiliated)19 to SNAP enrollment is recommended,” Conron said in the report.

This latest research points to an increasingly worrying food insecurity situation facing the larger LGBTQ+ community. A recent report by Household Pulse Survey showed that LGBT Americans reported higher rates of food insecurity than non-LGBT people. 

According to the survey findings that sought to provide insight into the experiences of Americans during the pandemic, about 13.1% of LGBT adults lived in a household where there was sometimes or often not enough to eat in the past seven days, compared to 7.2% of non-LGBT adults.

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Brian Webb

Brian Webb


Brian Webb is the founder and editor-in-chief of HomoCulture, a celebrated content creator, and winner of the prestigious Mr. Gay Canada – People’s Choice award.An avid traveler, Brian attends Pride events, festivals, street fairs, and LGBTQ friendly destinations through the HomoCulture Tour. He has developed a passion for discovering and sharing authentic lived experiences, educating about the LGBTQ community, and using both his photography and storytelling to produce inspiring content.Originally from the beautiful Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Brian now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. His personal interests include travel, photography, physical fitness, mixology, drag shows.

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