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Queer Women At ‘Shocking’ Risk of Being Behind Bars, Says Study

Laverne Cox, Lea DeLaria, and Yael Stone in season 3 of Netflix's "Orange is the New Black."

A recent survey of American prison inmates has revealed that LGBTQ face a higher than average risk for being incarcerated, particularly queer women.

Published in the America Journal of Public Health, the survey found that self-identified lesbian, gay, and bisexual people had a rate of incarceration more than 3 times that of the U.S. adult population. About 9.3 percent of men in prison identified as sexual minorities, while 6.2 percent of men in jail—short-term holding facilities—identified as such.

Meanwhile, 42.1 percent of women in prison and 35.7 percent of women in jail identified as sexual minorities.

The disparity between queer men and women surprised even the researchers.

“The high rate was so shocking, I had to check it three times to make sure we weren’t making any mistakes,” said lead author Ilan Meyer. “We’ve received mixed reactions—some people still don’t believe it. However, there is no reason to suspect it or think there’s an error.”

Queer inmates also face a higher risk of sexual assault while incarcerated and abuse from guards, according to similar studies.

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