The Impact of Stigma and Discrimination against LGBT People in Michigan

By Christy Mallory, Taylor N.T. Brown, Susan Freeman, and Brad Sears

Michigan’s legal landscape and social climate put the state’s 311,00 LGBT adults and 61,000 LGBT youth at risk of discrimination and harassment. The social, economic, and health effects of stigma and discrimination against LGBT people negatively impact the state’s economy by tens of millions of dollars each year.

Though the Michigan Civil Rights Commission has issued guidance interpreting state laws to protect LGBT people from discrimination, the state legislature has challenged that decision. State laws in Michigan also fail to adequately protect LGBT students from bullying and harassment.

This study documents the prevalence and impact of several forms of stigma and discrimination against LGBT individuals in Michigan in areas such as employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Key findings:

  • 28% of LGBT adults in Michigan reported having an annual household income below $24,000, compared to 20% of non-LGBT adults. Similarly, 25% of LGBT adults in Michigan reported that they do not have enough for food compared to 15% of non-LGBT adults.
  • LGBT adults in Michigan are significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with a depressive disorder and to be current smokers than non-LGBT adults: 44% of LGBT adults in the state reported having been diagnosed with a depressive disorder compared to 21% of non-LGBT adults, and 38% of LGBT adults in the state are current smokers compared to 20% of non-LGBT adults. Depression and smoking are two health outcomes that have been linked to experiences of stigma and discrimination.
  • We estimate that reducing the disparity in major depressive disorder between LGBT and non-LGBT people in Michigan by 25% to 33.3% could benefit the state’s economy by $122.5 million to $163.9 million annually.
  • We estimate that reducing the disparity in current smoking by the same proportion could benefit the state’s economy by $107.9 million to $143.8 million in increased productivity and reduced health care costs each year.

Read the report.

Read the press release.

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