Food Equity and the LGBTQ+ Community: Embracing Diversity and Nourishing Lives

June 5, 2024

As we celebrate Pride Month, it’s the perfect time to shine a light on an important issue that touches both the LGBTQ+ community and the broader quest for social justice: food equity. At We Don’t Waste, we believe that everyone deserves access to nutritious food, and we recognize that food insecurity disproportionately affects marginalized communities, including LGBTQ+ individuals. Let’s explore food equity as a larger concept and delve into the specifics of food insecurity within the LGBTQ+ community, especially here in Colorado.

What is Food Equity?

Food equity goes beyond simply having enough food to eat. It means ensuring that all people, regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, have access to affordable, healthy, and culturally appropriate food. Food equity is about fairness and justice in our food systems. It addresses the root causes of food insecurity, such as systemic discrimination, economic inequality, and lack of access to resources.

Food Insecurity and the LGBTQ+ Community

Food insecurity is a pressing issue in the LGBTQ+ community. Studies show that LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to experience poverty and unemployment compared to their non-LGBTQ+ peers. These economic disparities contribute to higher rates of food insecurity. Discrimination, stigma, and a lack of family support can further exacerbate these challenges, making it harder for LGBTQ+ individuals to secure stable housing, employment, and access to nutritious food.

For example, a 2020 report from the Williams Institute found that 27% of LGBTQ+ adults in the U.S. experienced food insecurity in the past year, compared to 17% of non-LGBTQ+ adults. The rates are even higher among transgender individuals, with nearly half (48%) reporting food insecurity. These statistics underscore the urgent need for targeted interventions to support the LGBTQ+ community.

Food Insecurity in Colorado’s LGBTQ+ Community

Here in Colorado, the picture is similar. The Colorado Health Institute’s data reveals that LGBTQ+ individuals in our state face higher rates of food insecurity compared to their cisgender, heterosexual counterparts. LGBTQ+ youth, particularly those who are homeless or in unstable housing situations, often face more significant barriers to food access. Many food assistance programs are not designed with the unique needs of LGBTQ+ individuals in mind, which can create additional obstacles for access. 

Addressing Food Insecurity through Community and Advocacy

At We Don’t Waste, we are committed to addressing food insecurity in a way that promotes equity and inclusivity. Here are some ways we can work together to support the LGBTQ+ community:

  1. Inclusive Food Programs: Developing food assistance programs that are inclusive and welcoming to LGBTQ+ individuals. This means training staff on LGBTQ+ issues, ensuring that services are accessible to all, and creating safe spaces for everyone.
  2. Advocacy and Policy Change: Advocating for policies that address the root causes of food insecurity and economic inequality in the LGBTQ+ community. This includes supporting initiatives that promote fair wages, affordable housing, and anti-discrimination protections.
  3. Community Partnerships: Partnering with LGBTQ+ organizations to better understand and meet the unique needs of the community. By working together, we can create a stronger support network and ensure that no one is left behind.
  4. Education and Awareness: Raising awareness about the intersection of food insecurity and LGBTQ+ issues. By educating ourselves and others, we can build a more inclusive and equitable food system.

Celebrating Pride with Purpose

This Pride Month, let’s celebrate by taking meaningful action to support food equity and the LGBTQ+ community. Whether it’s volunteering your time, donating to organizations that serve LGBTQ+ individuals, or advocating for policy change, every effort counts. Together, we can create a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of who they are or whom they love.

At We Don’t Waste, we’re proud to stand with the LGBTQ+ community in the fight for food equity. Thank you for joining us on this journey, and let’s continue to work together to nourish lives and embrace diversity.

Happy Pride!