LGBTQ Health Disparities

LGBTQ Health Disparities

Health disparities in the LGBTQ community is not a topic that we hear about in everyday discussions, mainstream media sources, or typical classrooms. Thus, there was quite a bit of new knowledge that I gained from this lecture and almost all of it was surprising. However, if I had to choose one surprising thing from this lecture, it would have to be the story about the medical professionals who quite severely misdiagnosed the transgender male African-American on the basis of objective bias against him. It was shocking to me that a professional of any type, especially in the medical field which is supposed to be the smartest and most compassionate field of work, could have such a discrepancy in their service. What are some possible solutions to eliminating those biases in medical professionals?

Are those biases the reason it has been so difficult to improve LGBTQ health? In my opinion, biases seem like the most logical mountain that the LGBTQ community has had to climb to improve their healthcare, and they are still only on the headwall approaching the summit. The roots of this perspective issue derives mostly from the issue of the history of discrimination against the LGBTQ community in healthcare and false information that damaged the LGBTQ population. The effects of this damage is still evident among the LGBTQ community today and is the most substantiated argument for why LGBTQ health has been so hard to improve.

7 thoughts on “LGBTQ Health Disparities

  1. I agree with you that this story surprised me and that I learned a new side of LGBTQ disparities because I never associated health disparities as an LGBTQ issue specifically. It is surprising this story of the black transgender who couldn’t get the help he needed right away simply because the doctors didn’t seem to look very far into his problem. I don’t want to put blame on the doctors in a sense that perhaps they just weren’t knowledgeable in a transgender body type and what is normal after such a change and what isn’t but they should have been alert to atlas look into it. I also don’t want to discredit all the medical professionals out there who are doing what they’re suppose to, whether it be for LGBTQ patients or not because there are plenty of stories that we don’t hear of medical professionals doing amazing things for people including the transgender surgeries that we sometimes overlook when in reality that is an amazing feat in itself. I do however recognize that there is a disparity in the health for LGBTQ community, and that is something that needs to change.

  2. I agree with you that those biases coupled with the history of how LGBTQ people were treated are the reason why LGBTQ health is so hard to improve these days. Making doctors and other medical staff aware of their biases however could make a great difference. If everyone were aware of their unconscious biases and accepting of them they could make a serious effort to counteract them.

  3. I agree with Owen that health disparities in the LGBTQ community is not something that comes up everyday life. Those people not in the community do not seem to want to discuss it or even think about it. They pretend almost, like it doesn’t exist. I believe one of the main reasons for this is that our society in the past never accepted anyone in the LGBTQ community and this bias continues today. We are just starting to embrace the community but we continue to carry our past views. Since words like “gay” generally has a negative connotation we tend to ignore the issues these people are facing. The biggest surprise to me was that health professions are the group that pathologized gays. I was almost positive that it was the catholics who initialized the bias. I find it quite ironic that the people that are suppose to understand humans the most are the ones incorrectly labeling them with a disease in the DSM. This also leads to the major bias that exists today.

  4. The topics discussed in lecture were indeed topics that people don’t talk about often and thus was a first for me. I was also appalled by the magnitude of the difference in health care treatment to people of the LGBTQ community. I understand that some people do not agree with or understand people from that community; however, going beyond a health care professional’s sentiment, it is their job to do no harm and aid the patient, no matter who they are. It is fundamentally wrong to create such disparities between different kinds of people when it comes to health care. Having said all that, it is also a reality check to realize that not everyone is knowledgeable in these areas and perhaps because doctors don’t deal with these kinds of patients all the time they have biases towards them. I believe it is our jobs as future health care professionals – and even just as people – to understand what our individual biases are so that we are better equipped to deal with them when they surface, and to take it upon ourselves to combat the disparities between minorities that stem from a lack of knowledge.

  5. I would also agree that the topic of LGBTQ health disparities is one that I have very rarely gotten information on and without this lecture, I would have for the most part been unaware of the many problems that these people are facing on a daily basis. When hearing the stories brought up in the “In The Hospital, There’s No Such Thing As A Lesbian Knee” article I was appalled at the horrific experiences many of them had to go through. As a health professional it is their duty to give everyone proper health care regardless of who they are and what your opinion is of them. I can understand that some of these professionals hold unconscious biases against this group of people, but it should never justify failing to properly execute your job and essentially failing these people. I think that if we truly want to reform and better health care, then we need to work to solve problems like this.

    1. It is an unfortunate truth that the LGBTQ community suffers from the biases of their healthcare professionals; a simple look at the course of events over the past century will tell you this. Examples include the carelessness of the government early in the AIDS epidemic and the tragic story of the African American transgender male Owen mentioned. What makes these examples so disheartening is the fact that we rely on our doctors and government leaders to take care of us, and when we see a group neglected, it causes us to lose faith. It is the unfortunate truth that we will likely never see the world’s medical field 100% without bias. There will always be people who do not understand, or even hate their lifestyle who will willingly choose to base their medical decisions off of false stereotypes, like the transgender male’s doctors. What I believe the medical field as a whole needs to work on is eliminating or at least reducing the unconscious biases many good doctors may unknowingly feel for their patients. If doctors attend seminars and classes that help them recognize and neutralize their unconscious biases, they will be less likely to treat their LGBTQ patients any different from the rest of them.

  6. The story about the transgender male African- American was very surprising to me as well. It was highly unprofessional and cruel to pass off his chronic illness as not only a ‘transgender problem’ but also as a ‘black problem,’ as if this made it acceptable to completely disregard a patient’s experience which led to a misdiagnosis and, ultimately, a death. Of course, this isn’t the worst case in which a medical professional has done this. The AIDS epidemic spread wildly out of control because doctors called it a “gay cancer.” What’s worse is that I have heard people see a homosexual and say, “I bet he has AIDS.” This is because no one is educated on the LGBTQ community. If everyone, including health professionals, heard the lecture that we heard, I think a lot of misconceptions would end

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