In a Gay-Friendly Age, Poor LGBT New Yorkers Still Struggle

Our society’s image of the gay urban dweller is often white, educated, and financially comfortable. But despite the patina of social progress, there’s a tale of two cities for queer New York, too.

In a comprehensive needs assessment of the city’s LGBT population, the advocacy organization Legal Services NYC finds that low-income LGBT New Yorkers face stunning levels of economic insecurity, employment discrimination, and violence at the hands of community members, intimate partners, and police, as well as barriers to healthcare. These issues often intersect with structural racism and feed a constant undercurrent of discrimination, along with the attendant anxieties of knowing that even in a “gay-friendly” city, structural barriers persist, especially for folks who can’t buy their way around them.