Healthcare and the LGBT community

There are various topics in medicine that particularly relate to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. According to the US Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), besides HIV/AIDS, issues related to LGBT health include breast and cervical cancer, hepatitis, mental health, substance use disorders, alcohol use, tobacco use, depression, access to care for transgender persons, issues surrounding marriage and family recognition, conversion therapy, refusal clause legislation, and laws that are intended to "immunize health care professionals from liability for discriminating against persons of whom they disapprove."[1]

LGBT people may face barriers to accessing healthcare on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression.[2] Many avoid or delay care or receive inappropriate or inferior care because of perceived or real homophobia or transphobia and discrimination by healthcare providers and institutions;[2][3] in other words, negative personal experience, the assumption or expectation of negative experience based on knowing of history of such experience in other LGBT people, or both.[4]

It is often pointed out that the reason of this is heterosexism in medical care and research:[4][5]

"Heterosexism can be purposeful (decreased funding or support of research projects that focus on sexual orientation) or unconscious (demographic questions on intake forms that ask the respondent to rate herself or himself as married, divorced, or single). These forms of discrimination limit medical research and negatively impact the health care of LGB individuals. This disparity is particularly extreme for lesbians (compared to homosexual men) because they have a double minority status, and experience oppression for being both female and homosexual."[6]

Especially with lesbian patients, they may be discriminated in three ways:

  1. Homophobic attitudes;
  2. Heterosexist judgements and behaviour;
  3. General sexism – focusing primarily on male health concerns and services; assigning subordinate to that of men health roles for women, as for service providers and service recipients.[4]

Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Healthcare and the LGBT community, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.