National LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week

by Catherine Ernotte

National LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week

According to the National LGBTQ+ Task Force, this designated time helps draw attention to the “devastating cycle of discrimination and health disparities that affect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.” This bias is encountered in employment, relationship recognition, and insurance coverage for health care.

LGBTQ+ people are a diverse group that is present in all walks of life, races, ethnicities, ages, socioeconomic status, and all parts of the country and world and yet prejudice still exists. This inequity presents obstacles to good health and financial security, leads to an inability to afford vital health services or obtain much-needed insurance, or to be underinsured.  For LGBTQ+ individuals of color, the barriers are even greater.

On average there are higher rates of cancer, obesity, HIV/AIDS, and mental illness than the rest of the nation (TheGayly.com).  There is little data collected or analyzed specific to the LGBTQ+ individual so historically there have been fewer initiatives to develop much-needed goals in health care.  Since the Affordable Health Care Act was established there is a movement to include this much-needed information involving the LGBTQ+ individuals and communities.  The health care exchanges are prohibited from discriminating based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

What can I do?  Be aware and sensitive to any mistreatment that may have been experienced.  Find out where some LGBTQ+-friendly clinics and providers respond with respect, compassion, and kindness.  Learn all you can.  The National Coalition for LGBTQ+ Health offers an LGBTQ+ training course for medical and allied health professionals.  It consists of a series of short modules and at no cost.  Presently it is undergoing review and the website states it will be available soon.  Participate or donate to your local organizations supporting the LGBTQ+ family.

Remember that 26Health is committed to caring for every letter.

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