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A report released today by the NSW Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS) reveals that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in NSW are experiencing higher levels of disadvantage than other Australians, putting them at greater risk of falling into poverty.

The report, Beyond the myth of ‘pink privilege’: Disadvantage and poverty amongst LGBTI people in NSW, reviews recently published population-level and LGBTI community studies, and concludes that LGBTI people are more likely to experience social disadvantage across their lives.

NCOSS Deputy CEO John Mikelsons said the report highlights how the persistent discrimination experienced by these population groups, whether on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status, acts as a driver for that disadvantage.

“The report shows is there are specific factors, such as discrimination, which place LGBTI people at-risk of disadvantage and poverty and which can exacerbate it.

“The disadvantage is often marked by spells of unemployment, workplace discrimination and salary gaps, in spite of evidence of higher levels of education.

“This means they are more likely to experience a reduced asset-base to draw on later in life, poor self-reported health status, barriers to accessing some forms of healthcare (including primary care) and, in some cases, to experience homelessness during their lives.

“There needs to be a dual focus on preventing the disadvantage in the first place before it leads to poverty and on ensuring support is available for LGBTI people who find themselves experiencing poverty.

“Given the disproportionate numbers of LGBTI people experiencing disadvantage we need to be doing much better.”

Mr Mikelsons said the report identifies a number of improvements that could be made in order to tackle the challenges associated with poverty and disadvantage for LGBTI people in NSW.

“The not for profit sector plays a significant role addressing poverty, disadvantage and inequality, and there are very few faith based charities that discriminate. Removing this exemption will ensure they are even better equipped to work with LGBTI people, as they have already done in the aged care sector.

 “We have a strong and growing evidence base on this issue. What we need to see is a sustained commitment from civil society, the corporate sector, as well as different levels of government to make this change happen in the lives of LGBTI people,” Mr Mikelsons said. 

Read the full report here.