Food insecurity is a life-threatening issue globally especially for the LGBTQIA+ community. The National LGBTQ Task Force has determined that more than 1 in 4 LGBTIA+ adults, approximately 2.4 million people, experienced food insecurity within the last year. According to Boston University “as the whole US population experiences an increased risk of... food insecurity, that risk is only elevated for LGBTQ+ people”. The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law agrees that people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) experience more food insecurity and participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at higher rates than non-LGBT adults. To compound matters, American psychiatric epidemiologist, Ilan Meyer, states that minority stress caused by food insecurity has the capability to affect the LGBTQ+ community’s lives at multiple socioecological levels. These levels include social anxiety and depression and has been exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continued discrimination in employment, housing, and healthcare leads to increased rates of unemployment, homelessness, and poverty. In 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQIA+ individuals from discrimination, however loopholes still remain. The LGBTQIA+ community needs our help and we should make it our duty to advocate for LGBTQIA+ protections. Keisha Lewis speaks on her experience being a black transgender woman: “I’m a human, too, and I deserve protection, and I deserve to be taken care of like everyone else”.
The Heroes Act, passed by the House of Representatives on May 15, includes an important SNAP benefit increase to help struggling families put food on the table and provides stimulus for the economy. The HEROES Act boosts the minimum SNAP benefit from $16 to $30 and increases the maximum benefit by 15%. Senior research analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Brynne Keith Jennings, stipulates that raising SNAP benefits is a fast and effective way to help households hit hard by the effects of Covid-19.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) encourages the Senate to Boost SNAP Now! Call your Senate representatives and ask them to vote to:
- increase the SNAP maximum by 15 percent
- Increase the minimum SNAP benefit from $16 to $30
- nullify the three-month time limit for unemployed adults aged 18-50 who aren’t raising minor children. (this stipulation impacts the LGBTQAI+ community disproportionately).
The PC(USA) supports and advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community’s right to access adequate and nutritious food for a vigorous, healthy life. The PC(U.S.A.) recognizes God’s call to help other around us and care for the most marginalized people in our society. This call is especially significant now keeping Covid-19 in mind. The situation could not be more urgent. The Senate must #BoostSNAPNow to protect the LGBTQIA+ community.
Call your Senators TODAY and urge them to Boost Snap Now!