June 29, 2022

This Pride month, FRAC is excited to be joining the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in releasing a new two-part resource (quick facts sheet, programs chart) to help connect LGBTQ individuals and families with low incomes to key federal nutrition programs.

Hunger and Poverty in LGBTQ Communities

LGBTQ individuals and families have long experienced higher rates of poverty and hunger, with struggles to obtain economic security at times exacerbated by additional barriers such as discrimination and family rejection. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 27 percent of LGBT people reported experiencing food insecurity, according to an analysis of 2017 Gallup data by the Williams Institute. The analysis also found that certain segments of the LGBT population experienced higher rates of food insecurity, including young adults, women, and Black, Latinx, American Indian, and Pacific Islander LGBT people.

During the economic and health crises spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, these hardships deepened. However, the lack of data collection related to LGBTQ status made it difficult to see the full extent of hardship during much of the pandemic. For instance, the Household Pulse Survey, designed to measure household experiences during the pandemic, initially did not have questions related to sexual orientation or gender identity.

In July 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau made the essential addition to the Household Pulse Survey to include questions on sexual orientation and gender identity — allowing for more nuanced data on the experience of LGBTQ households, including experiences of food insufficiency, during the pandemic.

During the period July 21–October 11, 2021, 12.7 percent of LGBT respondents reported experiencing food insufficiency, compared with 7.8 percent of non-LGBT adults. Certain LGBT people had heightened rates of food insufficiency, including 17 percent of LGBT people of color and 20 percent of transgender adults.

Spreading the Word on Federal Nutrition Programs

These stark data underscore the importance of connecting LGBTQ individuals and families with low incomes to federal nutrition programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), WIC, school and out-of-school time programs, and home-delivered and congregate meal programs. These programs are proven to address hunger, improve nutrition, health, and well-being, as well as spur economic activity.

FRAC and NCLR’s new resource helps organizations who work with LGBTQ communities ramp up their knowledge about programs available across the lifespan. This resource includes:

  • A quick facts sheet that highlights key considerations on accessing nutrition programs for LGBTQ households. The resource also highlights how providers may be able to leverage programs, such as the summer meals programs, to serve healthy meals to LGBTQ youth they serve.
  • A federal nutrition program chart that overviews the range of programs available by age group to help providers quickly assess what programs are available to the people they serve. It includes basics on program operations, eligibility, and where to learn more and apply. It also includes an opportunity for organizations to add customized information on local resources available in their community.


Actions for Advocates

Anti-hunger advocates have an important role to play in addressing hunger among LGBTQ communities.