LGBTQ Care & Needed Changes

LGBTQ Care & Needed Changes

Unconscious bias plays a big role in health care disparities, and it can greatly impact patients needing care. However, the LGBTQ community suffers the most when it comes to unconscious bias affecting health care. The most surprising thing I learned from this week’s lecture is that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) actually used to categorize homosexuality as a mental disease. It shocks me to think that a person’s sexual orientation could be thought of as an indication of or a type of mental disease just because the concept did not fit with what may have been the majority mindset or opinion at the time. I was also shocked to learn that there were even forms of therapy available meant to “treat” homosexuality, including electric shock therapy, meant to make the patient feel pain whenever they thought of homosexual desires. Conversion therapy even still exists and is legal today in the United states.

People in the LGBTQ community already face discrimination and prejudice on an everyday basis from people who think their sexual orientation is “wrong.” Unconscious bias furthermore makes their lives more difficult by causing disparities when it comes to LGBTQ receiving health care. Many are forced to wait longer than their heterosexual counterparts and receive lower quality care because their concerns are often dismissed or mistreated by healthcare professionals.

So what causes these unconscious biases? I think answering this question would be the first step in finding ways to reduce unconscious biases and disparities in LGBTQ healthcare. I also think that because this question has still remained unanswered, it has been extremely difficult to improve LGBTQ health care. What can be done to make sure that all people receive equal, fair, high quality health care?

6 thoughts on “LGBTQ Care & Needed Changes

  1. I too, think it is shocking to see that people in the LGBTQ community receive poorer care than the rest of the community. Healthcare is a basic human right and everyone deserves an equal quality and access to care. I think this weeks lecture was extremely educational and everyone should take the time to learn about the LGBTQ community, especially those who plan to go into healthcare. I think exposing people to the LGBTQ community and educating them about what they go through and how society can help them would be very beneficial. Those who may have an unconscious bias might have it due to the lack of exposure of those within the LGBTQ community. If people are willing to step outside their comfort zone and learn something new then I think people wouldn’t be as quick to judge or make decisions off of ones sexuality, gender, race, religion, etc.

  2. I think that a proactive approach to improving healthcare for all would be to educate those planning on going into the healthcare field by teaching these providers about the unconscious biases that roam the back of our minds. I’m sure that some form of education, similar to my idea, has been implemented somewhere in the United States. The idea to educate those going into the healthcare fields is pretty straight forward but I believe that even with this type of education, people would still have unconscious biases. However, if educating health care providers can help reduce inefficiency in giving people the care needed for their specific problems, then educating workers on various topics, like social identity, would be the way to go. No plan is perfect, but a plan that can improve something is one to possibly consider.

  3. In many parts of our country, being a member of the LGBT+ community is dangerous. People have unconscious biases, and some even have outright hate. Your mention of conversion therapy proves that some people still hold the belief that being a member of the LGBT+ community is inherently wrong. Although this is not the belief that all people hold, we are subjected to the bias that surrounds our everyday lives. As future healthcare providers, it is important that we make a cognizant effort to treat all people equally.

    I think something that we can do to better the health of LGBT+ people is normalize LGBT+ lifestyles. Some people in our country have not had much exposure to the LGBT+ community and therefore rely on the socially constructed opinions of them to be true. Heterosexism (the belief that heterosexuality is the norm) is unfortunately common in the healthcare world, and this very strongly impacts the quality of healthcare people receive. I would like to see a shift away from assuming that all people are cisgender and straight; so that inclusion becomes the norm. Many people in the LGBT+ community are afraid of coming out to their healthcare providers, and therefore are unable to get proper treatment. Promoting inclusive environments and language could be a step toward all people receiving equal, fair, high-quality health care.

  4. I believe that widespread coverage and publication of the disparities which afflict members of the LGBTQ community would help open the eyes of the public, who are largely unaware of the gratuitous lack of proper treatment. I had no idea there was such an injustice being done to the LGBTQ community by depriving them of proper and timely health care, and I think many others are completely unaware of the disparity, too. If everyone knew about the differential treatment for people who belong to this community, I think the public outcry would be immense, and the health care industry would have to respond appropriately by educating their physicians and other health care professionals about biases in order to help treat everyone the same.

  5. I really enjoyed your blog post!!! I just remember thinking throughout the lecture that it is really absurd and ignorant of doctors and other health care providers alike to not treat people in the LGBTQ community in a proper and timely manner. I think if this was brought to the attention of more people, there would be more movement in trying to change this. Although legalizing marriage equality was an excellent change and a step toward the right direction, there are still many laws that need to be changed. As future health care providers, we need to change the way people view the LGBTQ community and advocate for greater equality and healthcare for all.

  6. Reading this post and the comments that followed it made me think that maybe treating everyone as though they are the minorities could lead to a decrease in the actual health disparities. It seems that doctors may feel they have to walk on egg shells in cases of LGBTQ patients because their differences are not often physically shown, but shouldn’t they act that way towards everyone? Sexual orientation is not the only difference that isn’t physically visible. I don’t want to dismiss the severity of the health disparities by saying that sexual orientation isn’t the only non-visible difference, that was just to prove a point. I feel that “normalizing LGBT+ lifestyles” as stated in a comment above could greatly help that community because healthcare providers are not (should not) be focused on helping only specific groups of humans. They should be working to improve the health of humans in general.

    (P.S. Last time I checked, different social identities do not make anyone inhuman)

    P.P.S. I am not accusing the healthcare field of having conscious biases, just saying they should not 🙂

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