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Take Pride in making strides to improve LGBT health

Take Pride in making strides to improve LGBT health

Pride Month was established in June 2000 as an acknowledgment of the struggle for civil and human rights that the LGBTQ+ community has faced. As we do every June, LCMC Health is focusing extra attention on the fight to improve LGBT health.

Pride events are a meaningful opportunity to express solidarity, identity and pride. As a light shines on this largely joyful occasion, though, it also presents an opportunity to examine what still needs to improve.

(Note: While LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, the term is meant to inclusively encompass anyone who is nonheterosexual, nonheteroromantic or noncisgender.)

Shining a light on disparities

Those who identify as LGBT face many significant physical and mental health challenges. The National Coalition for LGBTQ Health outlines some sobering details:

  • LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to report poor physical and mental health than those in the general population.
  • They also face a higher risk of being bullied, binge drinking and using illicit drugs.
  • Those who are LGBT have a higher risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, chronic medical conditions such as arthritis, and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

What’s behind these numbers? Health disparities among people in a sexual and gender minority are often caused by discrimination and systemic barriers to access healthcare.

Many people within this population experience open discrimination related to sexual orientation and gender identity when trying to obtain essential health services. One survey found that 8% of respondents had a healthcare provider refuse to see them because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

Transgender health access suffers most, with 29% of transgender people reporting a healthcare provider refusing to see them because of actual or perceived gender identity. Nearly 30% reported experiencing unwanted physical contact from a provider, while 23% reported a provider intentionally misgendering them.

The way LGBT individuals are treated in medical practices often keeps them from seeking the healthcare services they need in the future, including preventive care.

What we can do to improve LGBT healthcare

Leveling the playing field when it comes to LGBT health outcomes will require a concerted effort at eliminating discrimination. Thankfully, public health efforts are in the works to make this a reality.

Healthy People 2030, for example, is focused on health efforts to improve the well-being of LGBT populations in multiple key areas, including cancer screening, drug and alcohol use, bullying, mental health, sexually transmitted infections, and tobacco use.

The National Coalition for LGBTQ Health is also working to ensure that individuals can access the healthcare services they need. The coalition advocates for changes in policies and laws related to LGBT health and provides educational outreach and support for healthcare providers about unique LGBT health needs.

Here, in our LCMC Health community, we’re dedicated to serving the LGBT population. As part of that commitment, we offer equitable access to healthcare services, as well as support and resources to help people get the care they need.

Part of this responsibility is training our providers and other employees about how to engage with and care for those who identify as LGBT. We partnered with community organizations to facilitate training sessions that helped our team members understand unique LGBT health needs and improve our communication as a whole.

While improvements have been made, there are still challenges ahead. Know that we’re here for you when you need us.

At LCMC Health, we’re committed to supporting our entire community with a spirit of inclusivity. Find out more about our efforts to provide exceptional LGBTQ+ healthcare.