LGBTQ Health Disparities and What Needs To Change

LGBTQ Health Disparities and What Needs To Change

I learned many new things from Thursday’s lecture, but the most surprising thing I learned was about how unjustly LBGTQ individuals were treated in hospitals and medical practices.  This general theme also relates back to the lecture pre-reading. I am mostly referring to the NPR article “In The Hospital, There’s No Such Thing As A Lesbian Knee.”  In the article, there are many stories of LGBTQ people who faced injustice and difficulties when attempting to get help from medical institutions.  A story which hit me the hardest was an anecdote about how a lesbian woman wasn’t granted permission to enter her dying partner’s hospital room.  Stories like this and also ones about how LGBTQ people are not always granted the organs they need for survival because of their lifestyle or about how they are misdiagnosed at a higher rate than non-LGBTQ people are a definite cause for concern.

I believe there are currently so many problems in the LGBTQ healthcare field because of the way some people still view LGBTQ people in our society.  Not everyone is educated on what being a part of the LGBTQ community means, and unfortunately, this can influence medical professionals as well as everyone else.  I believe and hope this problem is getting better, as new doctors take over for older ones the mindset towards LGBTQ people will become more accepting and fair. My question to pose is this: what additional reasons do you believe are part of why LGBTQ individuals are sometimes mistreated now, and what can we do to change this in the future?

10 thoughts on “LGBTQ Health Disparities and What Needs To Change

  1. Your explanation was spot on! It is completely unjust and honestly there is no reason for this to be happening in the 21st century. These health disparities are ridiculous and people should be treated as human beings not defined by their innate thoughts, especially when talking about health care. One of the biggest and in my opinion best ways to stop this discrimination is by education health care professionals and also the general public on this topic.

    As the next generation, We are (hopefully) more adept with the tools and resources to create a fair health care system. But how can we change this NOW? To do so requires knowledge of how this all started, which is what we have been learning in class. Using that knowledge we will be able to enlighten individuals on the scary statistics we have encountered and then let this spread. The more people who are in the know of this situation, the faster we can stop it!

  2. I couldn’t agree more with your post! It’s absolutely infuriating to hear stories about LGBTQ people who are frequently mistreated and discriminated against even within health care settings. In addition, there have been hate crimes committed because of this bias, and has been going on for many years now. Since 1991, it has been reported that there have been over 113,000 hate crimes committed, with over 14% of these crimes acted out because of people’s sexual orientation.

    These individuals have rights just like the rest of us, and have been unfairly mistreated for a long time just for being who they are. So why should they be treated unequally? Like Emily said in her post, I believe the best way to stop this discrimination is through spreading public awareness on the issue and educating health care professionals about what being a part of the LGBTQ community means. The reason why so many people hold strong opinions against the community could have been due to a lack of knowledge on the topic, or because they were taught to line their beliefs with their parents/grandparents/etc. However, if we begin educating those around us and letting them know of the unjust treatment these individuals face, we can put an end to this discrimination. People need to understand what it’s like being “in their shoes”, and realize that none of this acceptable in any way, shape, or form.

  3. I completely agree that it is sad and infuriating that anyone should get unequal care because of who they are! I was shocked by stories presented in the NPR article. Doctors are supposed to be trusted to help everyone to the best of their ability, no matter their background or social identity. They are supposed to be highly educated people, yet I am shocked by the ignorance shown in the article. The best way to end this kind of discrimination is to educate health professionals and make them aware of unconscious biases they may have. I learned a lot about the problems the LGBTQ community faces in only one lecture. Every doctor should have to take a course on health disparities and how to put an end to them! It is ridiculous that they go through as much training that they do without learning about how to work with patients of different backgrounds. Also, all doctors should get to know the people they are taking care of and learn their stories. They should listen to them and believe them, instead of making immediate judgements based on stereotypes or personal beliefs.

  4. I agree it is oftentimes unbelievable what statistics show us about disparities in health; there’s simply no denying that the LGBTQ community is treated unequally in our health system. I believe that the primary reasons this community continues to be mistreated even today is because of our implicit biases and also occasionally religious beliefs (although by no means am I suggesting that religion itself is a bad thing). I think the stigma from the 20th century that homosexuality is a ‘disease’ continues in the minds of older generations today. Additionally, I think homophobia has caused some people to use religion as a tool to prevent the LGBTQ community from progressing with some individual liberties, and even now that marriage equality has been recognized religion continues to be used as a legally legitimate reason for healthcare providers to refuse treatment if they so wish. To change this we need to realize that this is blatant prejudice, and that it’s depriving people rights to protect the ‘religious freedom’ of homophobic citizens.

  5. Though I was well aware that homophobia was prominent in America today, I was unaware that the LGBTQ community were regularly treated unfairly in the healthcare system until the lecture. It was hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that people’s health were being compromised due to their sexual orientation. I believe that good health is something that everyone deserves, and it’s a doctor’s duty to take care of every patient regardless of how they identify or who they love. To answer your question, I agree with Ivy that prejudice and homophobia often gets passed down through generations. Children who are raised in homophobic households or communities often adopt those beliefs and remain close-minded. To prevent this chain of homophobia, it’s important to raise awareness, counter common assumptions, and educate those who don’t fully understand the LGBTQ community. Even I, someone who thought I was familiar with the topic, found that I still have a lot to learn during the past week’s lecture. This shows how much educating needs to be done. I think the burden to ignite change relies even heavier on us because we are representatives of the youth and youth tend to question personal beliefs more often. It’s better to counter prejudice ideals and behaviors sooner rather than later.

  6. I was very surprised by how poorly the LGBTQ community is treated in hospitals as well. The job of doctors is to treat people. They do not go to years of med school and training just to decide they don’t want to help someone. People are people no matter what. We are all the same. You’d think that people who spend their entire lives studying the body would understand that.

    I think the biggest difficultly the LGBTQ community is facing right now is change. People fear change. They don’t want to go against what they know because it is difficult to accept. The millennial generation is becoming the most accepting generation because we have grown up surrounded by the fight for equality. As we grow up and take on the world, LGBTQ issues will become a thing of the past.

  7. I completely agree with your post! I was shocked upon the discovery of the mistreatment of LGBTQ members in the health care industry. I have always looked up to doctors and other medical professionals because I perceived them as heroes, doing everything they can to cure patients and save lives. It was eye-opening for me to realize that so many people can go through such terrible experiences with them. No one is perfect, but the disparities that the LGBTQ community receives in health care are unacceptable.
    I also agree on the importance of educating more people so that they are fully prepared to treat LGBTQ members in a way that makes them feel important, comfortable, and safe, which is the way that every patient should feel. However, we should remember that many of the working medical professionals today grew up during a time when the LGBTQ community was not accepted. Since then, tremendous progress has been made, but many of the people who grew up during that era may carry and unconscious bias with them. Therefore, the people that mistreat LGBTQ members may not even be aware that they are doing so. Speaking up when witnessing injustices would be the best way to make them aware of their actions so that hopefully they can then be more conscious of the way the treat the LGBTQ community. At the end of the day, an LGBTQ patient is still a patient, so it is a medical professional’s job to treat them to the best of their ability.

  8. I was so excited when I found out we were going to be learning about the LGBTQ community and the health disparities that community faces. I completely agree with Matthew about how surprising it was when learning about how poorly the LGBTQ community was treated back then. I knew people of the community were not as accepted as they are nowadays but I didn’t know it was that bad! The electric therapies, and the morphine induced vomiting as a way of “fixing” LGBTQ people is just immoral, and I was disgusted by it. Also, that story of that lesbian women upset me too. The fact that she could not see her partner infuriated me.

    I agree that our generation is the transition generation and when we are doctors and in charge of the health field, disparities for the LGBTQ community will be mostly gone, hopefully, all the way gone. Currently, I believe some reasons the LGBTQ community is mistreated now is because the people who are our doctors were raised in the generation where the mindset was the LGBTQ community was “bad”. Also, many people are uneducated about the LGBTQ community and the disparities they face. Ways to fix this could simply be, just educate, and support. Time is also of essence. We are the most accepting generation, and soon, the LGBTQ disparities will be eliminated.

  9. I totally agree with this post and I feel bad for the LGBTQ Community. It is sad that people are treated with disrespect and not treated for their conditions based off of their sexual orientation. I feel that at times physician’s religious beliefs can sometimes get in the way that they view patients at a hospital. When someone is in need of help you put aside all of that person’s beliefs and you treat them as a regular human being. If a person is sick because they smoke continuously, you don’t deny them help because they can’t break their habit. You still help that person because you want to see them well and doing better. Just because a person may like the same sex that does not mean that they don’t have a heart and blood running through their veins. Everyone is human and deserves to be treated as one. If people (physicians) could just put aside differences and treat a person based off their condition, we would not have this problem. Physicians should just be educated on how to deal with patients of the LGBTQ Community. Just because they treat a patient who is apart of that community, doesn’t mean they support their beliefs, they are just helping them as they would help them without even knowing about their sexual orientation. Sometimes its not even about beliefs, some people are just homophobic and can’t deal with the fact that everyone is not heterosexual. I understand some things are hard to accept and people have the right not to accept certain things but when a patient comes into your room you should help them!

  10. Just like you I was surprised reading that someone couldn’t see their own friend in the hospital room because of the way they define themselves. The thing is that this topic is so lightly touched upon that some people just don’t understand how big of an issue it is. To be quite honest I didn’t know much about LGBTQ and would be pretty uncomfortable to speak up about it. However, I’ve been learning more and more and anything I pick up I try to use to educate others. LGBTQ health disparities are very unfortunate and I hope we can change the way LGBTQ are treated.

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